Experimental Performance Evaluation of BLE 4 Versus BLE 5 in Indoors and Outdoors Scenarios

This paper focus on an experimental performance evaluation of the recently published Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5 technology. Measurements have been conducted both in indoors and outdoors scenarios. Performance of BLE 5 is compared to a previous release of BLE 4 which is currently the most used technology in commercial wireless healthcare and medical devices. This new improved BLE version may continue fostering the success of BLE use in those application scenarios as well as enable novel Internet of Things solutions. The main goal of this work was to evaluate, experimentally, the communications range and throughput performance of BLE 5 coded version which claims to provide fourfold improvement to the previous version of BLE. Measurement results obtained using the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 chipset are reported for indoor and outdoor cases relevant to healthcare and medical scenarios. Results show the practical communications range and throughput of the BLE 5 coded version, giving insight about the possible application space improvements for BLE technology. Specifically, our measurements showed that BLE 5 coded mode provides approximately 9 dB radio link budget gain compared to BLE 4, which leads to more than twofold communications range improvement in line-of-sight outdoor scenario and 10–20% improvement in non-line-of-sight indoor scenario.