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Guide to Buying Beacons Bluetooth Hardware

People often tend to be a bit confused about the Bluetooth Beacons devices and the functions they are meant to serve. These devices which make use of low-energy Bluetooth connections have become fairly common these days and surprisingly yet most of the smartphone users are not aware of what they are and how they function. It is though excusable for the simple reason that every day there seems to be a new beacon or devices being launched by different manufacturers. The sheer number of these devices available in the market today and the technology supporting them can be a bit overwhelming for the common user. To complicate matters further common terms and protocols associated with these devices like Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE), iBeacon and beacon often seems to be interchangeable. To make things a bit less complicated for you, we present to you the basic information about these devices, how they function and from where you can get one.

Beacons-a simple definition

A Bluetooth beacon is a simple device that transmits a continuous signal. This signal is picked by a smartphone, tablet or such devices, allowing it to determine its proximity to the broadcaster. It is important to note that beacons do not transfer messages or content; they are simply responsible for transmitting a signal heard by devices within a certain distance(ranging from few inches to few meters).  For example, you can think about is a radio station in the habit of playing the same song repeatedly. Instead of a song, the beacon transmits a unique ID or Web address without actually having to pair with the device it is trying to establish communication. The contents are delivered separately on the smartphone apps.

Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE)

Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) to transmit a signal repeatedly intended to be picked up devices nearby. Other types of signals like audio signals are also available, but BLE offers the advantage of low energy consumption making it ideal for devices which run for a longer period on power sources like coin batteries.

iBeacon and Eddystone

Both of these are broadcasting protocols based on Bluetooth 4.0 standards. The former was developed by Apple in 2013 whereas Google introduced the latter in 2015. It is an open beacon format which was called UriBeacon for a while. Both offer more or less the same features and functionality with some differences here and there.

How to buy beacons

The sheer number of beacons availability in the market tends to complicate things a bit for buyers. The best forward as such is to carry out some research work on the internet to compare different types of beacons and their features. Downloading, Heatmapper, however, is simple as you can download it from Ekahau website.