How much do you know about Bluetooth Intellectual Property?

Intro
Since the release of Bluetooth 5 in 2016, it has been widely adopted by the global IoT community to make all kinds of smart devices. Bluetooth 5 delivers a faster solution as its transmission speed is 4.2 times faster than the previous versions, with its range quadruples while boosting the capacity of message broadcasting by 8 times.

Additionally, Bluetooth 5 supports indoor positioning and navigation. By integrating with Wi-Fi technology, Bluetooth 5 can locate objects indoor and is accurate to within 100 m. Whether it is data synchronization With features such as high-performance, low-power, low-cost, better security, and easy-to-develop, Bluetooth 5 has become the priority of many smart home appliance vendors.

But, before we move on, do you know that Bluetooth logo is an intellectual property?

Allion— Your partner in obtaining the Bluetooth Certification
If you want to legally embed a Bluetooth logo on your product, you have to complete the certification process ratified by the Bluetooth SIG. However, some vendors are not familiar with the application procedure and this could cost them dearly and result in bad consequences.

Figure 1: Bluetooth Updates in 2018

Felix Kao, a technical expert at Allion, who is also a qualified Bluetooth Qualification Consultant (BQC), will give you all the professional guidance you need in getting a QDID. Here is how Felix and Allion can provide you with the information you need to get a Bluetooth certification:

  1. Bluetooth Specification: Without professional testing equipment, it is hard to determine which Bluetooth version your product is. If you do not know which version of Bluetooth your product is (even if you have a Specification Manual with you), here is when you need to seek for BQC’s help.
  2. Pre-certification Check: Bluetooth certification test is very complicated. Test items will vary according to products, controllers, Bluetooth specifications, and the test case reference list (TCRL) proposed by the Bluetooth SIG. It is necessary to thoroughly understand what items are required to be tested, so as to reduce the risk of retesting. In addition, at this stage BQC can generate an overview of the certification process, such as the time needed and testing fees, to give vendors a better understanding of the whole process.
  3. PICS Review: In the process of certification, there are plenty of documents that need to be filled. Applicants are required to fill in the Implementation Conformance Statement, which requires applicants to list the product’s features and get them tested. A BQC is not only familiar with all the regulations and testing projects, but they can also provide assistance on outlining test plans and determine if the testing is appropriate for your products. This can significantly lower the likelihood of being rejected by the Bluetooth SIG.
  4. Finding the right Bluetooth Qualification Test Facility (BQTF): Vendors can pick from any of the test labs as long as they are a qualified testing institute (BQTF). However, each BQTF varies in its variety of equipment and customized services. It is important that vendors seek advice from BQC first to determine which BQTF is the best fit.

Figure 2. Allion is a BQTC authorized by the Bluetooth SIG

  1. Debugging: Despite certification consultancy, BQC also provides debugging services that are customized to fulfill your products’ needs. Since under the regulations of the Bluetooth SIG, BQC and BQTF should work independently under different entities, a BQC is able to establish and maintain strong credibility.
  2. Certification Result Validation: In order to ensure test results comply with the testing standards and the submitted PICS papers, the BQC will verify everything again before the paper is officially submitted to the Bluetooth SIG.
  3. Uploading the TDU: A BQC verified paper will be uploaded to the Bluetooth SIG for further examination. The notes on the papers indicate that the products have passed the BQC’s validation.
  4. Getting the Qualified Design ID: Vendors go through a series of paperwork and testing to get their products certified and earn a Qualified Design ID. A BQC will make sure that you get your products embedded with a certified Bluetooth logo.

A BQC like Allion is your best partner when it comes to getting a certified logo. BQCs not only offer you substantial and technical support but also provide you with all the necessary assistance while going through the certification process listed above

Bluetooth Certification Category:

  • Radio Frequency / Phy
    In this section, Bluetooth transmitters will be tested for their electrical property, power, modulation, the sensitivity of receptors, and the device’s capacity of resisting disturbance will also be tested.
  • Protocols
    In this section, the layers will be tested to ensure protocols are accurately designed and will give the right response.

Profiles
In this section, devices will be tested for their interoperability, specifications, and protocols under different circumstances and that they are aligned with certain specifications.

Testing will be performed according to the Test Case Reference List (TCRL) published by the Bluetooth SIG, which divides the Conformance Test and Interoperability Test into four categories:

  • Category A
    This is the highest level of testing among the four categories. Category A testing should be performed at a BQTF or BRTF, with Bluetooth SIG accredited testing equipment.Allion is not only the accredited lab recognized by the Bluetooth SIG, we also provide customized, self-developed and Bluetooth SIG recognized testing, namely the Allion Bluetooth Radio Test System (ABRTS), to perform Bluetooth 5 radio frequency / phy tests.

Figure ABRTS—Allion Bluetooth RF Test System

  • Category B
    Category B requires testing to be conducted via Bluetooth SIG recognized equipment. In addition, testing data and reports should be submitted to the Bluetooth SIG.
  • Category C
    A cross-reference will be conducted on the accredited products to ensure they are functional. Testing under this category is not required to submit additional reports to the Bluetooth SIG. Vendors are allowed to announce their products are certified.
  • Category D
    Products that are being phased out, or new test items that are not incorporated into the official specifications. These test items will not affect the credibility of your products; therefore it is not necessary to conduct testing.

Bluetooth testing and certification can be quite complicated. As there are plenty of Bluetooth versions, and each has its own rules and specifications, the certification of Bluetooth can be time-consuming. Needless to say, Bluetooth has been advancing and it is quite difficult for vendors and manufacturers to catch up with the latest specifications. With Allion, our BQC offers you the latest information and help you get your products certified.

Conclusion
Business leaders around the world have been putting more emphasis on Bluetooth since it is a pivotal technology in building the IoT ecosystem. And In order to establish a healthy IoT environment, it is essential that the devices are interoperable with each other. At Allion, we understand how important it is to get a Bluetooth Certification for your products to win customers’ trust. With meticulous testing and customized approaches, Allion stands ready to offer you the best testing solution to ensure your products are safe and easy to use.