EEMBC Offers Benchmark for Bluetooth LE in IoT

It’s the first in a series of wireless protocol benchmarks for devices in IoT applications.

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The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium is introducing the IoTMark-BLE benchmark, for certifying the performance of devices using the Bluetooth Low Energy wireless protocol for Internet of Things applications. It is the first in the group’s IoT-Connect benchmark series.

EEMBC also is preparing the ULPBench 2.0 standard, which will test the ultra-low-power capabilities of connected peripherals, specifically in analog-to-digital conversion, serial peripheral interfaces (SPI), pulse width modulation (PWM), and real-time clocks (RTC). An introduction is planned for this spring.

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the consortium’s founding. The not-for-profit industry standard consortium had a dozen initial members when it was established in 1997 and now boasts more than 50 members.

“This is our biggest, most complex project in 20 years, primarily because it’s hard to get hardware working correctly,” said Markus Levy, the president and founder of EEMBC.

In selecting Bluetooth LE, “performance is not that big of a deal,” Levy added. “Certainly, there has to be some real-time performance to it.”

In addition to picking a radio-frequency technology, the working group selected health monitors, home automation devices, and wearable devices as the targeted IoT applications. Priority in parameters was given to payload size, frequency of payload transmission, and transmission power, according to EEMBC.

The EEMBC’s IoT Connectivity Working Group is considering support for IEEE 802.11ah (Wi-Fi HaLow), Thread, LoRa, and ZigBee. The consortium notes that the IoT-Connect framework also supports IoT-Secure and its ULPBench-Peripheral profile, and is backwards-compatible with the ULPBench-Core profile. The framework is intended to support testing of ultra-low-power microcontrollers and other IoT devices.

Brent Wilson, the director of applications engineering at Silicon Labs in Austin, Texas, serves as co-chair of EEMBC’s IoT Connectivity Working Group. He says, “I think it’s a race between Thread and LoRa. Because of the way the benchmark testing infrastructure and the working group itself are structured, we can actually work on multiple protocols at the same time. My hope is that the Thread and the LoRa work will be undertaken concurrently. It remains to be seen which one will be completed first, however.”