Battery Power Use When Advertising Multiple Bluetooth LE Channels

Most beacons can transmit more than one type of advertising , for example iBeacon, Eddystone and sensor data. In practice, no beacon can send more than one kind of data simultaneously. Instead, they send the different data sequentially, one transmission very shortly, milliseconds, after the other. Many manufacturers describe this as sending data in different channels which shouldn’t be confused with different Bluetooth LE frequency channels used to reduce the affects of wireless interference.

Some devices such as Minew and Sato can send 6 channels that can include iBeacon, Eddystone UID, Eddystone URL, Eddystone TLM, sensor, acceleration and device info:

Sato setup: Channel types are shown at the bottom

Transmitting one type of data takes of the order of 1 millisecond (ms) every configurable 100ms to 10secs period. It’s during the sending that the majority of the battery power is used with the beacon sleeping between transmissions. The following oscilloscope trace shows the battery power used, over time, with one channel:

Care should be taken to configure only those types of data that are required. If you configure more than one channel then there’s a corresponding, almost linear, increase in use of battery power for every extra channel.