public safety communications, device to device, bluetooth low energy, mesh networking, development framework
Owing to advanced storage and communication capabilities today, smart devices have become the basic interface between individuals and their surrounding environment. In particular, massive devices connect to one other directly in a proximity area, thereby enabling abundant Proximity Services (ProSe), which can be classified into two categories: public safety communication and social discovery. However, two challenges impede the quick development and deployment of ProSe applications. From the viewpoint of networking, no multi-hop connectivity functionality component can be directly operated on commercially off-the-shelf devices, and from the programming viewpoint, an easily reusable development framework is lacking for developers with minimal knowledge of the underlying communication technologies and connectivity. Considering these two issues, this paper makes a two-fold contribution. First, a multi-hop mesh networking based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is implemented, in which a proactive routing mechanism with link-quality (i.e., received signal strength indication) assistance is designed. Second, a ProSe development framework called BLE Mesh is designed and implemented, which can provide significant benefits for application developers, framework maintenance professionals, and end users. Rich application programming interfaces can help developers to build ProSe apps easily and quickly. Dependency inversion principle and template method pattern allow modules in BLE Mesh to be loosely coupled and easy to maintain and update. Callback mechanism enables modules to work smoothly together and automation processes such as registration, node discovery, and messaging are employed to offer nearly zero-configuration for end users. Finally, based on the designed ProSe development kit, a public safety communications app called QuoteSendApp is built to distribute emergency information in close area without Internet access. The process illustrates the easy usability of BLE Mesh to develop ProSe apps.
Tsinghua University Press
Bo Zhang, Yufeng Wang, Li Wei et al. BLE Mesh: A Practical Mesh Networking Development Framework for Public Safety Communications. Tsinghua Science and Technology 2018, 23(03): 333-346.