Eddystone URL

Eddystone-URL is a format for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon advertisements. It is an open format developed by Google and designed to be transmitted by beacons to nearby devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The format allows beacons to broadcast a URL which can be used to direct users to a specific web page.

In other words, Eddystone-URL is a way for ‘things’ with attached beacons to communicate with nearby devices and provide them with a link to a webpage. This can be used for a variety of purposes, such as providing location-based information, coupons, or other types of content to users. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including retail, transportation and tourism.

Eddystone-URL works by broadcasting a URL in a Bluetooth advertisement packet. When a device with a compatible BLE receiver, such as a smartphone, comes within range of the beacon, it can receive the advertisement packet and decode the URL. The user can then open the URL in a browser on the device.

An app is needed on iOS and Android such as Beaconstac NearBee, the Physical Web Association app or your own custom app. If you create your own app, consider using iBeacon instead of Eddystone URL advertisements for easier processing on iOS (also works on Android). The iBeacon ids can be mapped to URLs in the app. This is often better because the mapping can be changed, for example on a server, rather than having to physically access the beacon to change the URL.

Read about Using Beacons for Marketing

The Manufacturer Site Says a Beacon Has a Particular Capability. Why Doesn’t the Version BeaconZone Sells Support This?

There can be several reasons why the specification for a beacon listed on our site doesn’t match that shown on a manufacturer’s web site or 3rd party sales platform.

  • Beacon descriptions on many sites are often written by non-technical staff and non-English speakers. This means that there can be misunderstandings and errors.
  • Some descriptions purposely over-fill descriptions with incorrect information or competitor’s product information so as to attract interest. The actual specification becomes clearer after you have asked the right questions or, in some cases, when you receive the beacons!
  • Some descriptions are of cloned products with dubious provenance rather than products from the original manufacturer.
  • It’s common for descriptions to mention optional features that are only available via manufacturing customisation. They are sort of saying the specification is possible, but you will find you have to pay a lot extra for a custom version.

We spend a long time assessing beacons and only list the features actually provided by the beacons we sell. We have a deep understanding of beacons that can be accessed via our support and consultancy services.

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Overview of Different Types of Bluetooth Beacon

Bluetooth beacons are small, low-power devices that use Bluetooth technology to broadcast a signal to nearby devices. These signals can be used by nearby devices to determine the location of the beacon, or to trigger certain actions, such as sending a notification or displaying information on a mobile device.

There are several different types of Bluetooth beacons, which can be classified based on their shape, size, and power source. Some examples of different types of Bluetooth beacons include:

  1. USB beacons: These are small, USB-powered beacons that can be plugged into a computer or other device to broadcast a Bluetooth signal. They are often used in retail or other public settings, where they can be plugged into a computer or display to broadcast information to nearby devices.
  2. Coin-cell beacons: These are small, battery-powered beacons that are about the size of a coin. They are often used in portable or wearable applications, such as tracking the location of a child or pet, or triggering a notification in a mobile app.
  3. Wall-mounted beacons: These are larger, wall-mounted beacons that can be installed in a fixed location, such as a retail store or office building. They typically have a larger battery, longer range and higher power output than other types of beacons, allowing them to broadcast a signal over a larger area.
  4. Outdoor beacons: These are rugged, weather-resistant beacons that are designed to be used outdoors. They often have a longer range and higher power output than other types of beacons, and are designed to withstand exposure to rain, snow, and other harsh conditions.

Overall, there are several different types of Bluetooth beacons, which can be used in a variety of applications. The type of beacon that is best suited for a particular application will depend on factors such as the range and power requirements, as well as the environment in which it will be used.

View Bluetooth Beacons

Latest Nordic Wireless Quarter Magazine

Nordic Semiconductor, the manufacturer of the System on a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, has published the latest online issue of Wireless Quarter Magazine. It showcases the many uses of Nordic SoCs.

The latest issue of the magazine highlights the use of Nordic SoCs in the following Bluetooth solutions:

  • Bluetooth LE wildlife tracking solution
  • Tracker notifications to parents if their child wanders off from a caregiver
  • Bluetooth 5 monitor for refrigeration equipment
  • Indoor asset tracking platform monitoring essential medical equipment in hospitals

It’s interesting that some of these companies have chosen to create their own hardware even though these scenarios are achievable using generic beacons. Sometimes, a custom hardware product has more credibility for investors and customers. However, similar levels of kudos can be achieved by branding and/or over-casing generic devices with much less cost and risk.

The magazine also has an interesting article on how smart toy manufacturers are engaging and educating children.

Read Nordic Semiconductor Wireless Quarter

Beacons and WiFi Interference

As Bluetooth and WiFi both use the 2.4GHz band, is it possible that they can interfere with one another? John-Paul Little has a old post on Can iBeacon deployments cause WI-FI interference. The conclusion is no, it won’t, as there’s negligible overlap between the WiFi and Beacon frequencies:


The 2.4GHz band is split into smaller frequencies, called channels, such that more than one technology can share the same band.

Also, at the practical level, we have used WiFi and (many) Beacons together on many projects and we have never experienced a problem. Although still rare, it’s more likely that multiple Bluetooth devices can interfere.

Beacons Don’t Transmit Content

It’s often mentioned by the press and even some platform providers that beacons can transmit content, for example text, images or other multimedia content to smartphones. People contacting us expect this to happen (without an app) and we end up spending a lot of time explaining how it really works.

Beacons don’t send content to phones and instead they send an id (or URL) that an app uses to get content from a server. This doesn’t work without an app.

Related to this, some researchers have looked into the possibility of sending images from beacons.

Rechargeable Bluetooth Beacons

Bluetooth beacons can last a long time on battery power, up to 5 years in some cases. However, long battery lifetimes require larger batteries that are more bulky and result in devices that are less suitable to wear.

The smallest beacons, most suitable for wearing, have small CR2032 coin cell batteries that can only typically last of the order of a few months. The solution is to use rechargeable beacons. They all charge via some sort of USB, either plugin, via a clip or magnetic connector.

The iB001W, supporting iBeacon and Eddystone, comes with a small charging cradle that plugs into the beacon.

The H1 Wristband is waterproof and has an acceleration sensor that supports motion triggered broadcast to save battery life. It charges via a clip.

The F1 is waterproof and has an acceleration sensor for motion triggered broadcast and also has a SOS button. It charges via a magnetic connection cable.

The B10 has an acceleration sensor but additionally makes this information available via advertising. It also has an SOS button and charges via a magnetic connector.

The waterproof W2-P5202D3 is a fitness tracker style device that advertises iBeacon, Eddystone and acceleration.

View Rechargeable Beacons

Beacons with Accelerometers

When choosing a beacon with an accelerometer, care needs to be taken that it supports the anticipated use. In some cases the accelerometer can control the functionality within the beacon while in other’s it provides raw data that can be used by other Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, gateways and single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi.

The most common use of an accelerometer is to provide for motion triggered broadcast. This is when the beacon only advertises when the beacon is moving so as to improve battery life and lessen the redundant processing needed by observing devices. Beacons supporting motion triggering include the M52-SA Plus, F1, K15, and the H1 Wristband.

M52-SA Plus provides motion triggered advertising

A few beacons such as the iBS01G and iBS03G interpret the movement as starting, stopping and falling with a consequent change in Bluetooth advertising.

Raw acceleration data is provided by beacons such as the iBS01RG , iBS03RG, e8, K15 and B10.

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Troubleshooting Beacon Problems

Some people come to us, having set up their beacons, saying “It doesn’t work”. Most scenarios involve a beacon, an app and a phone. Solving most problems involves breaking the problem down by swapping out each of the beacon, app and phone until it works.

If you have more than one beacon, you can swap out the beacon. Having said this, it’s rare for beacons to fail and if the problem is with the beacon, it’s more likely to be the beacon settings that are incorrect.

While you can’t swap out the manufacturer configuration app, you can use another app such as Nordic’s nRF Connect (on iOS and Android) to scan for a beacon, see if it’s advertising and if so, what type of advertising it is sending.

It’s common for individual phones to have have problems. First, make sure you have Location and Bluetooth on. Anyone working with beacons will usually need to have both Android and iOS devices to diagnose problems. Run the app (and nRF Connect) on multiple phones of different platform type (iOS/Android) to help narrow down problems.

If you still can’t get it working, send us a support ticket. Please don’t just say “It doesn’t work” and instead describe what you have done and at what stage it doesn’t work with any error messages.

Also read

Why Doesn’t the Manufacturer’s Configuration App Connect?

Testing if a Beacon is Working