IoT 16(5): e4

Research Article

BLE or IEEE 802.15.4: Which Home IoT Communication Solution is more Energy-Efficient?

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.1-12-2016.151713,
        author={Xenofon Fafoutis and Evgeny Tsimbalo and Wenrui Zhao and Haowen Chen and Evangelos Mellios and William Harwin and Robert Piechocki and Ian Craddock},
        title={BLE or IEEE 802.15.4: Which Home IoT Communication Solution is more Energy-Efficient?},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Internet of Things},
        volume={2},
        number={5},
        publisher={EAI},
        journal_a={IOT},
        year={2016},
        month={12},
        keywords={IEEE 802.15.4, Bluetooth Low Energy, physical layer, energy-e\"{y}ciency, smart homes, Internet of Things},
        doi={10.4108/eai.1-12-2016.151713}
    }
    
  • Xenofon Fafoutis
    Evgeny Tsimbalo
    Wenrui Zhao
    Haowen Chen
    Evangelos Mellios
    William Harwin
    Robert Piechocki
    Ian Craddock
    Year: 2016
    BLE or IEEE 802.15.4: Which Home IoT Communication Solution is more Energy-Efficient?
    IOT
    EAI
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.1-12-2016.151713
Xenofon Fafoutis1,*, Evgeny Tsimbalo1, Wenrui Zhao1, Haowen Chen1, Evangelos Mellios1, William Harwin2, Robert Piechocki1, Ian Craddock1
  • 1: Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UB, UK
  • 2: School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AY, UK
*Contact email: xenofon.fafoutis@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

IEEE 802.15.4 (used by Zigbee, 6LoWPAN and Thread) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are two widely used wireless standards for ultra low power IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and smart home applications. In this article, we present the first comparison of the physical layer of the two protocols, focusing on two performance metrics: energy eÿciency and wireless coverage. The comparison uses the first radio that seamlessly supports both protocols; therefore, the protocols are compared on identical hardware and software. By combining the two metrics, we quantify the performance, and identify in which types of links it is preferable to use one protocol or the other, thus providing practical guidelines to developers of short-range energy-constrained wireless networks and smart home applications.