Published in Popular Science

Working and Usage of a Bluetooth Gateway

Bluetooth gateway is an electronic device that connects a Bluetooth product to other hardware. For instance, an audio or stereo BL gateway connects a Bluetooth-enabled device to an external speaker. In this article, our focus will be on a cellular BL gateway. Cellular BL gateways converge cellphone accounts with home landlines.

It allows us to answer or make cellphone calls via standard telephones, without or with landline service. Today, we will discuss the usage and working of BL gateways in this article. We will also see why these devices have become important in our lives.

Why Do You Need a Bluetooth Gateway?

Millions of individuals across the globe depend on smartphones or mobile phones. With these huge numbers, cellphone numbers have become the primary contact numbers of almost all of us. However, when we are at the home, it’s good to use those standard telephones that most of us still have. Try to remember when did you last missed an important phone call on your mobile phone because the cellphone was not in your room? It would be many times. We mostly miss calls on our mobiles sometimes because it took us long to find the phone and sometimes the mobile was simply in another room. This is where a Bluetooth gateway comes and rescues us in our homes.

Did you know that you can pair more than one mobile phone with the cellular BL gateway? Yes, you can do it by connecting multiple mobile accounts with these gateways in a home. Pairing your mobile phone with a BL gateway means that you will hear louder ringtones on the landline telephone. Therefore, you won’t be missing your important phone calls when you are at home. Moreover, you can set different ringtones and patterns for different connected mobile phones. It will help you identify whose phone is ringing.

How Bluetooth Gateways Work?

Bluetooth gateways are very much similar to wireless modems in shape and size. However, they perform a bit like your network router. You will get an AC adapter (power adapter) with the BL gateway. You simply have to plug this power adapter into the standard power outlet on the wall. There are ports on the BL gateway’s backside to plug in your cordless bases and/or landline telephones. There is also an antenna that sends and received Bluetooth signals for voice or data transmission.

After you turn on the Bluetooth gateway, the setup or configuration is quite straightforward. You can simply pair your BL gateway with any Bluetooth-enabled cellphone and connect additional standards telephones. When there is an incoming call on your mobile phone, every single connected telephone in your house will start ringing. You can use any of these telephones to receive your call. Moreover, you can also dial calls from any of the connected telephones since the device also supports outgoing calls from the connected telephones.

How Many Cellphones Can I Connect?

Now you may have a question in your mind that how many cellphone connections do a BL gateway allows? This question becomes important, especially when there are multiple mobile phone users in a house. Fortunately, you can pair up to 3 cellphones with a BL gateway. Moreover, you have the luxury of assigning different ringtones and even patterns to all accounts. So, it would become easy to identify whose cell phone is ringing.

If you are on a call and you realize that you need to leave the place during the call, you can easily transfer your call to the mobile from the telephone with a press of a button. Caller ID, call waiting, and other such features will continue to work normally. Moreover, you can opt for a line-in BL gateway if you want to receive both cell calls and landline calls on the telephone. As we already said, you can assign unique ring patterns to identify which phone is ringing.

Benefits of BL Gateways

There are a number of benefits that you would get with BL gateways. These devices enable us to establish communication between multiple devices without depending on wires, WiFi, or USB cables. For specific communication, BL gateways enable the users to create local networks efficiently.  For an array of benefits that these devices provide, they are used in various applications. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key benefits of using a Bluetooth Gateway.

1. Security and Locking

Bluetooth gateway offers various security features to users. You can deploy these security features as per your requirement. For example, you can simply implement the locking feature. With the locking feature, a user must enter the device password to use the BL communication device. Doing so will help you eliminate the risks of any unauthorized or misuse of the communication. Therefore, BL gateways have high-security features and the user would stay worry-free about any misuse of the device.

2. Cost-Effective

All Internet-of-Things offer universal and cost-effective technology to its users. It is because of the BL gateway’s worldwide standardization and long-term suitability. These devices are not expensive. You can easily buy BL gateways from your local tech store. Or, you can even choose from hundreds of BL gateway models online. One benefit of looking for a gateway product online is that you can compare the prices of different models to find the one within your budget.

3. Reliability

Another great thing about BL gateways is that these devices are highly reliable. When broadcasting the BL technology provides adaptive frequency. Therefore, the environment of the device plays a vital role in Bluetooth signals adaption. Bluetooth technology minimizes interference and noise in a better way when we compare it with alternative technologies. There is a frequency hopping (FH) feature in Bluetooth gateways that helps the device work perfectly even in a noisy environment. Therefore, reliability is not an issue when it comes to BL gateways.

Choosing the Right BL Gateway

Choosing the right Bluetooth gateway depends on various important factors. Therefore, it depends on what things you prefer and what you can compromise. In addition to that, you will also need to be clear about what features you want and what you don’t need. Here are some of the important factors that you should keep in mind when looking for a BL gateway.

1. Radio Technology

We can break down this thing into a few categories, such as high-speed cellular, low-speed cellular, wide-area non-cellular, and local-area non-cellular. High-speed cellular includes 3G and 4G. If you prefer speed, you should choose this group. The best thing is that it will soon receive 5G support that will further increase the speed. However, these devices consume more power. Therefore, they are not suitable for battery-powered deployments or where power saving is a preference.

On the other hand, low-speed cellular is getting popular for applications when connection reliability is a preference over speed. It is a perfect solution for extremely cost-conscious projects. The third category, wide-area non-cellular, is a comparatively new technology. However, it is becoming popular for certain segments. Low-power networks, such as SigFox can be ideal for monitoring and tracking low-cost assets in a better way. However, unreliable coverage is a concern at the moment.

The third category includes local-area non-cellular. The most common examples of this category are WiFi and Bluetooth gateway. These devices are perfect for business and consumer applications. You can use such technologies to establish local communications through gateways using cellular connections. It is one of the most popular and highly reliable technologies at the moment.

2. Operating Temperature

Modern-day devices are more proficient than old devices to deal with varying temperatures. But still, different gateway models are designed to work in different environments. Therefore, you must make sure that the device you are about to buy can work efficiently in your environment. BL gateways fall into three categories in terms of their working under different operating temperatures. These include consumer-grade devices, commercial-grade devices, and industrial-grade devices. An industrial-grade device can work perfectly in all kinds of challenging conditions. However, you can choose a consumer-grade device for home use.

3. Local Connectivity and Ports

After setting up your gateway, it will find available connections and maintain them continuously. However, you still have to link your Bluetooth-enabled device to your BL gateway. Several wireless and wired methods are available to connect your device to the BL gateway. The available options include Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, serial ports, and USB connectivity. Ethernet is the oldest solution, but it is still in use of many. Therefore, you can choose the right method according to your requirements.

4. How Would You Power Your Gateway?

It is an overlooked decision by many people about the gateways. But, it is important to know what power option you would use for your Gateway. We have options like AC power, DC power, and PoE, etc. AC power adapters are commonly used power sources. Most of us have AC power adapters in our homes for several appliances. DC power adapter is the option when the device is a little more flexible. PoE is an old technology that is not very common today. The choice of power depends on your product and where you are living.

5. Choosing the Mobile Carriers

Bluetooth gateway would be nothing more than a good-looking paperweight if there is no active cellular connection. In some old devices, we had to choose the carrier while purchasing the gateway. With the 4G emergence, it has become easier to switch carriers. You don’t have to worry about this thing if the deployment will always be in one country where you are living. However, there are many BL gateways today that can operate in different areas. Therefore, you should inquire about it before buying your gateway.

6. Input and Output Ports

Output and input ports of a BL gateway are the most neglected portions of the device. We can use them to collect massive information, but only a few people know about it. We can use input ports to receive on/off signals and reading of important items. For example, we can utilize these ports to know things, such as the grain level in the storage container, etc. Moreover, we can use outputs for activities like opening a door from a remote location. Outputs and inputs are categorized into two types, Analog and Digital. You should pay attention to this factor if you want to utilize these features.

7. Device Management

Most businesses are in love with the flexibility that IoT gateways offer. However, there is something that they still hate, which is ‘more work’. It is hard to manage multiple devices that do not come back to their office. It is not easy to control laptops and phones. Fortunately, modern-day gateways provide great device management tools for managing things, such as security levels, settings, and firmware levels. If you are looking for a gateway that you can use in your office environment, you must consider this vital factor.

9. Dual SIM/Network Redundancy

Mostly, we have the landline connection behind the connectivity. When it is unavailable, the gateway’s implantation identifies it and turns on the backup connection. After detecting that backup of the mainline, it goes back to the primary setting seamlessly. It enables uninterrupted communication even when there is a break in the connection. This thing is important, especially for commercial settings.

Bluetooth gateway

10. Bridge Gateway

In most scenarios, the landline provider provides you the internet gateway. Such gateways usually have built-in WiFi and routing capability. Therefore, you may not require a new WiFi router. In this way, the gateway would work in the Router mode. However, most people like to use their own Bluetooth gateway rather than using the provider’s device. When the provider’s gateway moves through your purchased router’s IP address and your router is handling everything, it is called the Bridge mode. Most locations have no on-site router. Therefore, many organizations make use of this routing feature inside the gateway for doing this. However, it may be necessary to use a specialized Bluetooth gateway at significant sites, like retails stores. It all depends on where and for what purpose you want to use the gateway.

When buying a new BL gateway, you must keep these factors in your mind.

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