Bluetooth Beacon Aquisition

I’m working on an interesting project for a client. It involves Bluetooth LE Beacons and there are lots of them in an the office. About 43 in the 10 metre square office space. But the problem is that not all the Beacons are being seen by our test handsets. I did some investigating.

It turns out that although Android and the Bluetooth LE spec don’t place a limit on the number of beacons in a given area at any one time, physics does. After you get to about 35 beacons in a small area the time taken to find further beacons increases exponentially. 

Given that the Beacons operate on the 2.4ghz part of the spectrum the issue is probably crowding, causing back offs from each device. To many individuals shouting at the same time. Whatever the cause, an interesting phenomenon.

I tested using a Samsung S7, a Nexus 5X and a Moto X (Gen 1). The Samsung performed best taking only 1.23 minutes to find all 43 beacons. The Moto took just over 6 and a half minutes. In dead last place, the Nexus took a huge 12 and a half minutes. Complete stats below. Times are given in miliseconds, except for the last row which is in minutes.

It will be interesting to compare performance on iOS compared to Android.


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