Solving Bluetooth LE Detection Issues on Windows

A common scenario is where a beacon can be detected using the nRF Connect app on an Android device, but remains undetected on a Windows system, even though it is equipped with Bluetooth hardware.

This limitation is most evident when trying to detect and interact with Bluetooth LE devices that are not Human Interface Device (HID) class devices, such as keyboards and mice. These HID devices are readily supported and can connect effortlessly. However, most other Bluetooth LE devices do not show up by default on the Windows Bluetooth management interface. This is primarily because the native Bluetooth stack in Windows is not fully optimised to handle the variety of LE devices available in the market.

To overcome these limitations, developers and users need to implement custom applications using the Windows Bluetooth APIs. These applications act as a bridge, allowing Windows to recognise and interact with a broader range of Bluetooth LE devices.

For those looking to achieve the most reliable Bluetooth LE performance on Windows, especially for custom projects and advanced device interactions, using a Bluetooth LE dongle is the best approach. By connecting a LE dongle via USB, users can bypass many of the native Bluetooth limitations of Windows. These dongles come with their own drivers and management software, which are specifically designed to handle a wide array of Bluetooth LE protocols and device interactions. This setup not only enhances device compatibility but also boosts the reliability and range of Bluetooth communications.