Author: Bluepixel Team
Beacon is a small coin cell battery operated device that is transmitting the limited range radio signal at regular interval. Beacon device is developed based on Bluetooth Low Energy (4.0 and above) mechanism for sending the signal to indicate its presence in the proximity area.
The range of beacon device depends on the transmission power (TX) parameter. Higher the transmission power will have wider range proximity device.
Bluetooth LE 4.0 based beacon support approx. a range of 50 to 60 meters while Bluetooth 5.0 based support the range of approx. 250 to 300 meters.
To increase the life of the beacon the user must set the advertisement interval at a higher point i.e. 1 second or 2 seconds. This will increase the life of beacon device to 1 to 1.5 years.
There are two types of beacon running at global market iBeacon and Eddystone.
iBeacon: iBeacon device follow Apple protocol to transmit its presence in proximity area.
iBeacon is the first device to introduce in the market as Beacon device by Apple(2013). iBeacon device supports on both Android and iOS phone.
When iBeacon device is detected by any android/iOS phone application then the app will get three main parameters (UUID, Major and Minor). UUID is 32 characters long string (16 bytes) while major and minor are the number range from (0 to 65535).
Example of How the iBeacon will look when the app detects its presence.
Eddystone: Eddystone device follow the open source protocol developed by Google. Eddystone was introduced by Google in 2015. Eddystone device supports on both Android and iOS phone.
Eddystone can advertise 4 type of different frame as below:
- Eddystone UID
- Eddystone URL
- Eddystone TLM
- Eddystone EID
When any phone detects the Eddystone frame format then it has to parse the frame format based on the Eddystone protocol and then phone app can show the format i.e. UID or URL or TLM.
More on Eddystone Frame format: https://github.com/google/eddystone/blob/master/protocol-specification.md
Eddystone UID: Eddystone UID frame advertise the 16 bytes packet at a specified interval. 16 bytes will have NameSpace Id (10 bytes) and Instance Id (6 bytes).
Eddystone URL: Eddystone URL frame advertise URL with very limited bytes by using the encoding format.
Eddystone TLM: Eddystone TLM frame advertise the detail about the beacon with the following information.
– Battery voltage
– Device temperature
– Number of packets transmitted after beacon powered on
Eddystone EID: Eddystone EID frame advertise encryption key for security purpose. The encryption key change at regular interval hence the listing app will receive the packet and decrypt it and hence make a secure advertisement.
USE CASE OF BEACON TECHNOLOGIES:
Different Manufacturer of Beacon Device: