Bluetooth modules are categorized based on various factors such as power consumption, form factor, range, functionality, and application-specific features. Here are some common classifications of Bluetooth modules:
- Bluetooth Classic vs. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE):
Bluetooth Classic: This is the traditional Bluetooth version used for data-intensive applications like audio streaming and file transfer.
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): Also known as Bluetooth Smart, it is designed for low-power applications like IoT devices, wearables, and sensors.
- Bluetooth Version:
Bluetooth 1.x/2.x: Older versions with limited data transfer capabilities.
Bluetooth 3.0/4.0: Introduced improved power efficiency and the advent of BLE.
Bluetooth 4.1/4.2: Enhanced security and features like Bluetooth Smart Ready.
Bluetooth 5.0/5.1/5.2: Improved range, data transfer speeds, and support for mesh networking.
- Form Factor:
Discrete Modules: Standalone Bluetooth modules that can be integrated into various applications.
System-on-Chip (SoC): Integrated circuits that combine the Bluetooth functionality with other components.
- According to power points:
Class 1: The output power is from 1mW (0dBm) to 100mW (20dBm), and it supports a transmission distance of 100m. In order to achieve the maximum range, power control is mandatory. Class 1 is used in high-power, long-distance Bluetooth products, but due to high cost and high power consumption, it is not suitable for personal communication products (mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth Dongle, etc.), so it is mostly used in long-distance transmission. Long-distance transmission is generally rarely used by people, but if you want to transmit audio over long distances and connect speakers over long distances, it is more common in some large venues, stages, and industrial scenes. Using a Bluetooth adapter that supports Class 1 is the best solution.
Class 2: The output power is 0.25mW (-6dBm) ~ 2.5mW (4dBm), and the power control is optional. Under normal circumstances, 1mW (0dBm) supports a transmission distance of 10m. As long as the transmission power exceeds 0dBm, it belongs to the scope of Class 2, but if it exceeds 4dBm, it is Class 1. Most of the common Bluetooth devices on the market today are Class 2 in power consumption, and are mostly used in personal communication products such as mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, and Bluetooth Dongle. The power consumption and volume are small, and they are easy to carry.
Class 3: The output power is ≤ 1mW (0dBm), and the transmission distance is 1m. The lowest output power, Class 3 equipment is not common due to its very limited coverage distance.
- Application-Specific Modules:
Bluetooth Audio Modules: Designed for audio-related applications like wireless headphones and speakers.
Bluetooth Data module: Generally, the data module is more commonly used, that is, Bluetooth low energy consumption, also called transparent transmission Bluetooth module. It is a good choice for devices with small data volume, short-distance transmission, and strict requirements on operating and standby power consumption. Due to the advantages in power consumption, 4.0 Bluetooth modules currently occupy the majority of mobile data transmission, and the scale and share are expected to continue to grow.
Data and audio composite module: It can realize the transmission of voice, audio and data at the same time. Under the general trend of mobile Internet and data + audio applications, the dual-mode module of data and audio composite is a good choice.
- Antenna Type:
Integrated Antenna Modules: Modules with the antenna integrated into the module’s circuitry.
External Antenna Modules: Modules with a connector for attaching an external antenna, allowing flexibility in antenna design.
- Protocol Support:
Dual-Mode: Modules supporting both Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Single-Mode: Modules supporting either Bluetooth Classic or Bluetooth Low Energy.
These classifications can help developers and engineers choose the most suitable Bluetooth module for their specific applications and requirements.