Optimizing BLE-Like Neighbor Discovery

Philipp H. Kindt, Swaminathan Narayanaswamy, Marco Saur, Samarjit Chakraborty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Neighbor discovery (ND) protocols are used for establishing a first contact between multiple wireless devices. The energy consumption and discovery latency of this procedure are determined by the parametrization of the protocol. In most existing protocols, reception and transmission are temporally coupled. Such schemes are referred to as slotted, for which the problem of finding optimized parametrizations has been studied thoroughly in the literature. However, slotted approaches are not efficient in applications in which new devices join the network gradually and only the joining devices and a master node need to run the ND protocol simultaneously. For example, this is typically the case in IoT scenarios or bluetooth low energy (BLE) piconets. Here, slotless protocols that decouple reception and transmission can achieve significantly lower worst-case latencies than slotted ones. In this paper, we study slotless, BLE-like protocols, which schedule receptions and transmissions independently using periodic intervals (PI). For this class of protocols, optimal parameter values remain unknown. To address this, we propose an optimization framework for PI-based protocols, which translates any specified duty-cycle (and therefore energy budget) into a set of optimized parameter values. We show that the parametrizations resulting from one variant of our proposed scheme are optimal when one receiver discovers one transmitter, and no other parametrization or ND protocol - neither slotted nor slotless - can guarantee lower discovery latencies for a given duty-cycle in this scenario. Since the resulting protocol utilizes the channel more aggressively than other ND protocols, beacons will collide more frequently. Hence, due to collisions, the rate of successful discoveries gracefully decreases for larger numbers of devices discovering each other simultaneously. We also propose a scheme for configuring the BLE protocol (and not just BLE-like protocols). Though it is not clear whether the resulting parametrizations minimize the latencies of BLE, reasonably low worst-case latencies can be guaranteed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1779-1797
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • BLE
  • MANETs
  • Neighbor discovery
  • bluetooth low energy
  • mobile networks
  • wireless networks


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