The best Bluetooth low energy sniffer tutorial (Advertisement Data)

By Mohammad Afaneh | August 15, 2016 | 2 Comments

In the previous blog post, we went over the different BLE sniffers available in the market and compared the pros and cons of each. In this video below we walk through a live demo of capturing BLE advertisements using the TI CC2540 USB Dongle BLE sniffer. We look at the different aspects of the captured advertisement data and understand each part. Bluetooth low energy Advertisement Data Packet number: the sequence of packets received by the sniffer. Timestamp: (starting from 0) and the time difference since the previous packet was received. Channel number: (depends on what channel you set in the Radio Configuration). The Access address will always be the same value (0x8E89BED6) according to the spec for advertisement packets. Adv PDU type: there are 7…

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How to use a Bluetooth (BLE) sniffer without pulling your hair out!

By Mohammad Afaneh | July 21, 2016 | 12 Comments

How to use a Bluetooth Low Energy sniffer without pulling your hair out! While working on a client’s project it became necessary to use a Bluetooth Low Energy sniffer to debug some weird behavior happening with the data transfers between the master and slave device. I had read quite a bit about BLE sniffing before and talked to a few people in the industry to get their feedback on the different options out there, but I hadn’t actually done much with one until recently. The purpose of this blog post to be the first of a series covering the topic of Bluetooth Low Energy sniffers. In this first one, I’ll go over the different commercial options out there and compare them. The following posts will go into more technical…

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BLE connection intervals and events in under 5 minutes

By Mohammad Afaneh | May 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

  Understand BLE connection intervals and events in under 5 minutes A BLE connection interval is the time between two data transfer events (BLE connection events) between the central and the peripheral device. The theoretical value ranges from 7.5 ms to 4 secs (with increments of 1.25 ms). A few notes regarding BLE connection intervals: The connection is established with the interval parameter value set by the master (central) device. However, the peripheral may suggest/request different values. The master still has the final say in the values and may end up choosing values different than but closer to the requested values. However, this feature allows dynamic changes in the connection interval (and thus the throughput speed) during a connection which may address a need in larger…

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The Basics of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

By Mohammad Afaneh | May 6, 2016 | 3 Comments

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a low power wireless technology used for connecting devices with each other. BLE operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) band, and is targeted towards applications that need to consume less power and may need to run on batteries for longer periods of time—months, and even years. Bluetooth started as a short-distance cable replacement technology. For example, to replace wires in devices such as a mouse, keyboard, or a PC communicating with a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) which were popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The first official version of Bluetooth was released by Ericsson in 1994, named after King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson of Denmark who helped unify warring factions in the 10th century CE. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), however, was introduced in the…

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An honest review of Bluetooth Developer Studio (BDS)

By Mohammad Afaneh | April 18, 2016 | 1 Comment

What is Bluetooth Developer Studio? Bluetooth Developer Studio (BDS) was officially released by the Bluetooth SIG back in October 2015. It allows you to focus on the high-level design of your Bluetooth low energy devices, whether it’s a central or peripheral device. It offers a clean and simple interface where you can drag and drop profiles, services and characteristics to design your system. This is very useful because you can start designing your system before even deciding what your target platform will be. It consists of two main views: Designer view: used to design the system and grants access to the adopted, custom and local profiles, services, characteristics, and descriptors. Workbench view: used primarily for virtual (emulated on the PC) and physical testing (requires a special USB…

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