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Bluetooth Extreme USB Dongle

Difficulty Level: Beginner -


Bluetooth Extreme has been designed to make high performance and massive Bluetooth connections as it allows to discover up to 250 devices in a certain area, and to perform long range connections with them (up to 30 m with line of sight). It works in Linux, Windows and MacOS.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

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Technical characteristics

  • Chip: Bluegiga WT12
  • Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR. Class 2
  • TX Power: 7 Power levels [-27dBm, +3dBm]
  • RX sensitivity: -90 dBm
  • Antenna: SMA connector
  • Range: depending of the antenna
  • Received Strength Signal Indicator (RSSI)
  • Class of Device (CoD) for each scanned device

There is a female SMA connector soldered onto the Bluetooth Extreme which allows the user to connect to an external 2.4 GHz antenna of their choice.

Linux tutorial

Installation

For using all the features described in this tutorial, you have to install the following programs in your Linux machine.

  • btscanner
  • bluez-hcidump
sudo aptitude install btscanner bluez-hcidump
                

Configure Bluetooth Extreme

First of all, connect the USB dongle to PC and open a terminal window.

Type “hciconfig” to see if your PC has correctly detected your bluetooth device.

If you have several bluetooth devices, the PC identifies them with the prefix “hci” (hci0, hci1...).

Some of the following instructions may need to be root.

Configure bluetooth friendly name.

To configure the friendly name of Bluetooth Extreme, type “hciconfig -a hciX name DesiredName”. hciX is the bluetooth device and DesiredName the friendly name.

hciconfig -a hci0 name BtCookingHacks
                

You can type “hciconfig -a hciX name” to check the bluetooth name configuration.

Configure bluetooth visibility

To make Bluetooth Extreme visible for inquiries, type “hciconfig -a hciX piscan”.

hciconfig -a hci0 piscan
                

Now you can scan and connect to Bluetooth Extreme from your Smartphone or any device with bluetooth radio.

On the other hand, if you don't want to be visible for inquiries, type “hciconfig -a hciX noscan”.

hciconfig -a hci0 noscan
                

Scan Bluetooth devices

To scan remote bluetooth devices type “hcitool -i hciX scan”. All discovered devices will be listed with MAC address and friendly name.

hcitool -i hci0 scan
                

Getting RSSI

The command “hcidump” gives us a lot of information about bluetooth connections. For example to get the RSSI signal strength of each Bluetooth device.

First, run hcidump program. In this case “hcidump -V > tmp/bluetoothpackets” launches hcidump with verbose decoding and stores the results in “tmp/bluetoothpackets”.

hcidump -V > tmp/bluetoothpackets
                

Second, launch a scan in parallel. hcidump program will read raw HCI data coming from and going to the Bluetooth device and stores it in the selected file.

Next image shows an example of a hcidump file where you can identify the signal strength:

In this example, RSSI is -40. Therefore, 'joki' Bluetooth device is quite near.

Getting CoD

The stored hcidump file also allows us to identify the Class of Device:

Focusing on the bits 8, 9 and 10 of the class we can identify the type of the bluetooth device.

001 → Computer
010 → Smartphone
011 → LAN/Network AP
100 → Handsfree
...

In this example, 0x5A020C is 010110100000001000001100. Therefore, 'joki' Bluetooth device is a Smartphone.

Create connection and send files.

After a bluetooth scan is performed, you can make connections to those devices typing “hcitool -i hciX -cc MAC_ADDR”. MAC_ADDR is the MAC address of a discovered device.

hcitool -i hci0 scan
                

Once the bluetooth device is configured, a bluetooth icon appears in the top right corner of the screen (next to the clock). Click the bluetooth icon and select “Send files to device...”.

Then select the file to send and press open

If you haven't created the connection before, the program will ask you for the destination bluetooth device.

Finally, you will receive the file “logo.png” in your smartphone.

Windows tutorial

Windows recognizes automatically Bluetooth Extreme. Therefore, you only have to connect the USB dongle to PC.

There are many program in Windows to handle bluetooth features. Bluetooth assistant for Windows is good enough and easy to use.

First, select Send a file or Receive a file and press Next.

Then, select a discovered bluetooth device and press Accept.

Then, select if you want to use a security key or not and press Next.

Select the file to send and press Open.

Finally, if everything went fine, you will see next image:

Mac Os X tutorial

As for Windows, MacOS detects automatically Bluetooth Extreme. Therefore, you only have to connect the USB dongle to PC.

In this case, MacOS has an application to scan, send and receive data using the bluetooth device.

For scanning and setting up bluetooth devices, go to System Preferences → Bluetooth

Then select Set up New Device...

And a list with the devices in the range will appear.

Click Continue and you can set up the bluetooth device with the MAC to synchronize files or another features.

For sending files, press the bluetooth icon that appears in the top right corner of the screen.

Then select a file.

And select a bluetooth device.

Press Send and the file will be sent to the bluetooth device.