Perpetual Bluetooth Communications for the IoT

Liu, Qingzhi; Ijntema, Wieger; Drif, Anass; Pawelczak, Przemyslaw; Zuniga, Marco; Yildirim, Kasim Sinan


Battery-powered beacon devices introduce high maintenance costs due to the finite operation time dictated by the fixed capacity of their batteries. To tackle this problem we propose FreeBLE: an indoor beacon system aimed at operating perpetually without batteries. We propose three methods to increase the utilization efficiency of harvested Radio Frequency (RF) energy in the beacon system, by which the energy consumption level becomes low enough to fit within the energy harvesting budget. We implement FreeBLE using off-the-shelf Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and RF energy harvesting devices, and test FreeBLE in a laboratory environment. Our results show that FreeBLE enables perpetual operation in an indoor deployment of RF-powered BLE beacon devices.