The purpose of this paper is to evaluate from a real perspective the performance of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as a technology that enables fast and reliable discovery of a large number of users/devices in a short period of time. The BLE standard specifies a wide range of configurable parameter values that determine the discovery process and need to be set according to the particular application requirements. Many previous works have been addressed to investigate the discovery process through analytical and simulation models, according to the ideal specification of the standard. However, measurements show that additional scanning gaps appear in the scanning process, which reduce the discovery capabilities. These gaps have been identified in all of the analyzed devices and respond to both regular patterns and variable events associated with the decoding process. We have demonstrated that these non-idealities, which are not taken into account in other studies, have a severe impact on the discovery process performance. Extensive performance evaluation for a varying number of devices and feasible parameter combinations has been done by comparing simulations and experimental measurements. This work also includes a simple mathematical model that closely matches both the standard implementation and the different chipset peculiarities for any possible parameter value specified in the standard and for any number of simultaneous advertising devices under scanner coverage.
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