A client asked my company, alongside of another project we're running with him, if we could provide him with a device, which only task is to scan for the beacons he bought and upload the result of that scan to "the cloud" - no real connection will ever be made between this device and the beacons. We usually only specialize in the flow behind the physical devices, but we're up for a challenge.

He stated he was thinking about using a Rasberry with a Bluetooth dongle and 3G dongle, which I'm personally not completely opposed to, keeps things simple. However, we figured it might be more affordable to have a simple board with a Bluetooth and 3G module, given he can mass-produce those eventually. So we're looking into that as well.

However, we're currently kinda lost in the forest of BLE supporting modules and what they can actually do. So hence the following question: Can a slave-only module also perform a scan? Or do we really need a master module in order to do so. Keep in mind we're only interested in a scan, not a connection!

I spend a good two days browsing around the web exploring the different modules, digging through Arduino shields, looking up the chips they use, etcetera. But the recurring question in my head is the one above.


closed as off-topic by PlasmaHH, Asmyldof, Arsenal, PeterJ, Brian Drummond Sep 21 '16 at 11:04

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    \$\begingroup\$ So someone hired you to do some research, so the cheapest option is to get a bunch of people on the internet to do this \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 21 '16 at 8:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Two problems: 1. This website isn't for product recommendations, as clearly stated in the rules. 2. My hourly rate for this level of excessive broadness of request starts at €95. \$\endgroup\$ – Asmyldof Sep 21 '16 at 8:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel slightly offended, I spend a good two days browsing around the web exploring the different modules, digging through Arduino shields, looking up the chips they use, etcetera. The most important question that kept popping in my head is if a slave-only module can do a scan, as that would significantly ease up my quest for the right module, so that's the most important question to me. The follow-up question is just that and you are in no way obliged to answer that one. My company does not specialize in IoT, but foremost the whole flow behind it. I edited the question to reflect this. \$\endgroup\$ – Lennard Fonteijn Sep 21 '16 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ FYI, Raspberry Pi now comes with BLE built in. I'm slightly surprised you missed pages like this one during your search. Or is it not relevant? \$\endgroup\$ – Dmitry Grigoryev Sep 21 '16 at 9:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you spent two days on this, you have already cost your client far more than the Raspberry Pi solution. Unless your rates are very low... \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Sep 21 '16 at 11:04

I've been in your position before, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and actually try to help here. Since the rules prohibit requesting specific part information, I'll be as broad as possible and just suggest how I might go about it.

Your best approach with this I think would be to utilise a Bluetooth SoC (System on Chip). This will allow you to do all the bluetooth scanning and also all the processing on one part, sending this data off to whatever additional module you have for longer range communication and data logging via UART, SPI or whatever. As you have already discovered there are a number of manufacturers of these parts. A number of modules also exist for these parts so you can avoid any RF design; just google ' module'.

Many BLE modules exist as slave-only devices. Often just running very basic Bluetooth SIG services and characteristics or custom advertising packets. You will need the device to operate as a Master to be able to pick up other BLE beacons.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything at all.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the "SoC"-term, that really helps. Does this mean though, as to answer my leading question, that you need a BLE master in order to perform a scan? \$\endgroup\$ – Lennard Fonteijn Sep 21 '16 at 8:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you need a BLE master to be able to scan. \$\endgroup\$ – Sensors Sep 21 '16 at 9:20

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