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By Rich Handley

Toshiba BLE Products Now Support New Bluetooth Mesh Standard

Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) has announced that its lineup of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) products now offer support for the Bluetooth Mesh standard, recently ratified and launched by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (see Bluetooth SIG Specification Enables BLE Mesh Networks). The combination of Bluetooth Mesh and TAEC's application software, the company reports, enables Toshiba's BLE products to increase communication range, reliability, obstacle penetration capability and battery life.

Combining a non-proprietary mesh solution with Toshiba's Bluetooth communication system solutions, capable of linking budgets exceeding 100 decibels (dB) with external PA and LNA, allows Toshiba to provide reliable communication in consumer products, the firm explains. It also enables the company to extend support to rapidly growing segments, such as factory automation and building management.

Support for the new Bluetooth Mesh standard enables Toshiba's BLE products to privately and securely traverse a mesh network rather than requiring a point-to-point connection between devices. This increases the range and reliability of BLE communication without increasing power requirements. Previously, increasing the effective BLE communication range or sending a signal through many walls required higher power transmissions that could negatively impact battery life.

These high-powered transmissions were typically the primary technique used to address such issues as radio interference within a factory environment or the transmission of signals through thick concrete walls. This approach had severe limitations, the company reports, and has proven to be ineffective for power-constrained battery-operated devices, as well as in unfriendly RF environments.

"As a Bluetooth SIG founder and current board member, Toshiba is excited to be among the first to support the organization's push to increase the effective range and robustness of Bluetooth through the introduction of a highly reliable mesh network," said Deepak Prakash, a senior director at Toshiba America Electronic Components, in a prepared statement. "This standards-based approach means that new untapped markets, such as industrial and commercial, can now leverage ever-present Bluetooth cell phones or tablets to easily control and monitor their systems."

In a related effort to increase communication range and signal strength for Bluetooth, Toshiba has introduced new BLE solutions capable of achieving a link budget of more than 100dB using an external PA and LNA. According to Toshiba, the technology provides more than 300 meters of open-air range at low-power transmit and receive levels.

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