Hauke Petersen, Thomas C. Schmidt, Matthias Wählisch,
Mind the Gap: Multi-hop IPv6 over BLE in the IoT,
In: Proc. of 17th International Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies (CoNEXT), pp. 382--396, New York: ACM, 2021.
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Abstract: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is today's most popular low-power radio technology with compelling radio performance and battery-friendly characteristics, making it a promising deployment option for the Internet of Things (IoT). Little is known, however, about the performance and pitfalls when utilizing BLE as link layer in multi-hop IP over BLE scenarios, because of the lack of available software platforms and deployment experiences. In this work, we present both a fully open-source, configurable software platform and experiments to analyze multi-hop BLE network behavior. Our experiments, conducted in a larger testbed, reveal unexpected performance drawbacks. Even in scenarios with underutilized links, BLE connections break randomly. This results into large transmission delays on the network layer and thus hinders real-world deployments in the constrained IoT. As key reason for this behavior we identify the BLE connection interval. A deterministic interval leads to unpredictable link quality and connection losses due to overlapping connection events. We propose randomizing the connection intervals as mitigation strategy and demonstrate that this prevents connection losses and sporadic link degradation, improving the overall network behavior.
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