Bluetooth Low Energy Receiver

This example shows how to implement a Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) receiver using the Communications Toolbox™ Library for the Bluetooth Protocol. You can either use captured signals or receive signals in real time using the ADALM-PLUTO Radio. A suitable signal for reception can be generated by simulating the companion example, Bluetooth Low Energy Transmitter, with any one of the following setup: (i) Two SDR platforms connected to the same host computer which runs two MATLAB sessions (ii) Two SDR platforms connected to two computers which run separate MATLAB sessions.

Refer to the Guided Host-Radio Hardware Setup (Communications Toolbox Support Package for Analog Devices ADALM-Pluto Radio) documentation for details on how to configure your host computer to work with the Support Package for ADALM-PLUTO Radio.

Required Hardware and Software

To run this example using captured signals, you need the following software:

  • Communications Toolbox Library for the Bluetooth Protocol

To receive signals in real time, you also need an ADALM-PLUTO radio and the corresponding support package Add-On:

* Communications Toolbox Support Package for ADALM-PLUTO Radio

For a full list of Communications Toolbox supported SDR platforms, refer to Supported Hardware section of the Software Defined Radio (SDR) discovery page.


The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) introduced BLE for low power short range communications. The Bluetooth standard [ 1 ] specifies the Link layer which includes both PHY and MAC layers. BLE applications include image and video file transfers between mobile phones, home automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Specifications of BLE:

  • Transmission frequency range: 2.4-2.4835 GHz

  • RF channels : 40

  • Symbol rate : 1 Msym/s, 2 Msym/s

  • Modulation : Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK)

  • PHY transmission modes : (i) LE1M - Uncoded PHY with data rate of 1 Mbps (ii) LE2M - Uncoded PHY with data rate of 2 Mbps (iii) LE500K - Coded PHY with data rate of 500 Kbps (iv) LE125K - Coded PHY with data rate of 125 Kbps

The Bluetooth standard [ 1 ] specifies air interface packet formats for all the four PHY transmission modes of BLE using the following fields:

  • Preamble: The preamble depends on PHY transmission mode. LE1M mode uses an 8-bit sequence of alternate zeros and ones, '01010101'. LE2M uses a 16-bit sequence of alternate zeros and ones, '0101...'. LE500K and LE125K modes use an 80-bit sequence of zeros and ones obtained by repeating '00111100' ten times.

  • Access Address: Specifies the connection address shared between two BLE devices using a 32-bit sequence.

  • Coding Indicator: 2-bit sequence used for differentiating coded modes (LE125K and LE500K).

  • Payload: Input message bits including both protocol data unit (PDU) and cyclic redundancy check (CRC). The maximum message size is 2080 bits.

  • Termination Fields: Two 3-bit vectors of zeros, used in forward error correction encoding. The termination fields are present for coded modes (LE500K and LE125K) only.

Packet format for uncoded PHY (LE1M and LE2M) modes is shown in the figure below:

Packet format for coded PHY (LE500K and LE125K) modes is shown in the figure below:

Check for Support Package Installation

% Check if the 'Communications Toolbox Library for the Bluetooth Protocol'
% support package is installed or not.

Example Structure

The general structure of the BLE receiver example is described as follows:

  1. Initialize the receiver parameters

  2. Signal source

  3. Capture the BLE packets

  4. Receiver processing

Initialize the Receiver Parameters

The helperBLEReceiverConfig.m script initializes the receiver parameters. You can change phyMode parameter to decode the received BLE waveform based on the PHY transmission mode. phyMode can be one from the set: {'LE1M','LE2M','LE500K','LE125K'}.

phyMode = 'LE1M';
bleParam = helperBLEReceiverConfig(phyMode);

Signal Source

Specify the signal source as 'File' or 'ADALM-PLUTO'.

  • File:Uses the comm.BasebandFileReader to read a file that contains a previously captured over-the-air signal.

  • ADALM-PLUTO: Uses the sdrrx (Communications Toolbox Support Package for Analog Devices ADALM-Pluto Radio) System object to receive a live signal from the SDR hardware.

If you assign ADALM-PLUTO as the signal source, the example searches your computer for the ADALM-PLUTO radio at radio address 'usb:0' and uses it as the signal source.

signalSource = 'File'; % The default signal source is 'File'
if strcmp(signalSource,'File')
    switch bleParam.Mode
        case 'LE1M'
            bbFileName = '';
        case 'LE2M'
            bbFileName = '';
        case 'LE500K'
            bbFileName = '';
        case 'LE125K'
            bbFileName = '';
            error('Invalid PHY transmission mode. Valid entries are LE1M, LE2M, LE500K and LE125K.');
    sigSrc = comm.BasebandFileReader(bbFileName);
    sigSrcInfo = info(sigSrc);
    sigSrc.SamplesPerFrame = sigSrcInfo.NumSamplesInData;
    bbSampleRate = sigSrc.SampleRate;
    bleParam.SamplesPerSymbol = bbSampleRate/bleParam.SymbolRate;

elseif strcmp(signalSource,'ADALM-PLUTO')

    % First check if the HSP exists
    if isempty(which('plutoradio.internal.getRootDir'))
        error(message('comm_demos:common:NoSupportPackage', ...
            'Communications Toolbox Support Package for ADALM-PLUTO Radio',...
            ['<a href="' ...
            'adalm-pluto-radio.html">ADALM-PLUTO Radio Support From Communications Toolbox</a>']));

    bbSampleRate = bleParam.SymbolRate * bleParam.SamplesPerSymbol;
    sigSrc = sdrrx('Pluto',...
        'RadioID',             'usb:0',...
        'CenterFrequency',     2.402e9,...
        'BasebandSampleRate',  bbSampleRate,...
        'SamplesPerFrame',     1e7,...
        'GainSource',         'Manual',...
        'Gain',                25,...
        'OutputDataType',     'double');
    error('Invalid signal source. Valid entries are File and ADALM-PLUTO.');

% Setup spectrum viewer
spectrumScope = dsp.SpectrumAnalyzer( ...
    'SampleRate',       bbSampleRate,...
    'SpectrumType',     'Power density', ...
    'SpectralAverages', 10, ...
    'YLimits',          [-130 -30], ...
    'Title',            'Received Baseband BLE Signal Spectrum', ...
    'YLabel',           'Power spectral density');

Capture the BLE Packets

% The transmitted waveform is captured as a burst
dataCaptures = sigSrc();

% Show power spectral density of the received waveform

Receiver Processing

The baseband samples received from the signal source are processed to decode the PDU header information and raw message bits. The following diagram shows the receiver processing.

  1. Perform automatic gain control (AGC)

  2. Remove DC offset

  3. Estimate and correct for the carrier frequency offset

  4. Perform matched filtering with gaussian pulse

  5. Timing synchronization

  6. GMSK demodulation

  7. FEC decoding and pattern demapping for LECoded PHYs (LE500K and LE125K)

  8. Data dewhitening

  9. Perform CRC check on the decoded PDU

  10. Compute packet error rate (PER)

% Initialize System objects for receiver processing
agc = comm.AGC('MaxPowerGain',20,'DesiredOutputPower',2);

freqCompensator = comm.CoarseFrequencyCompensator('Modulation','OQPSK', ...

prbDet = comm.PreambleDetector(bleParam.RefSeq,'Detections','First');

% Initialize counter variables
pktCnt = 0;
crcCnt = 0;
displayFlag = false; % true if the received data is to be printed

% Loop to decode the captured BLE samples
while length(dataCaptures) > bleParam.MinimumPacketLen

    % Consider two frames from the captured signal for each iteration
    startIndex = 1;
    endIndex = min(length(dataCaptures),2*bleParam.FrameLength);
    rcvSig = dataCaptures(startIndex:endIndex);

    rcvAGC = agc(rcvSig); % Perform AGC
    rcvDCFree = rcvAGC - mean(rcvAGC); % Remove the DC offset
    rcvFreqComp = freqCompensator(rcvDCFree); % Estimate and compensate for the carrier frequency offset
    rcvFilt = conv(rcvFreqComp,bleParam.h,'same'); % Perform gaussian matched filtering

    % Perform frame timing synchronization
    [~, dtMt] = prbDet(rcvFilt);
    prbDet.Threshold = max(dtMt);
    prbIdx = prbDet(rcvFilt);

    % Extract message information
    [cfgLLAdv,pktCnt,crcCnt,remStartIdx] = helperBLEPhyBitRecover(rcvFilt,...

    % Remaining signal in the burst captures
    dataCaptures = dataCaptures(1+remStartIdx:end);

    % Display the decoded information
    if displayFlag && ~isempty(cfgLLAdv)
        fprintf('Advertising PDU Type: %s\n',cfgLLAdv.PDUType);
        fprintf('Advertising Address: %s\n',cfgLLAdv.AdvertiserAddress);

    % Release System objects

% Release the signal source

% Determine the PER
if pktCnt
    per = 1-(crcCnt/pktCnt);
    fprintf('Packet error rate for %s mode is %f.\n',bleParam.Mode,per);
    fprintf('\n No BLE packets were detected.\n')
Packet error rate for LE1M mode is 0.000000.

Further Exploration

The companion example Bluetooth Low Energy Transmitter can be used to transmit a standard-compliant BLE waveform which can be decoded by this example. You can also use this example to transmit the data channel PDUs by changing channel index, access address and center frequency values in both the examples.


General tips for troubleshooting SDR hardware and the Communications Toolbox Support Package for ADALM-PLUTO Radio can be found in Common Problems and Fixes (Communications Toolbox Support Package for Analog Devices ADALM-Pluto Radio).


This example uses these helper functions:

* helperBLEReceiverConfig.m: Configures BLE receiver parameters * helperBLEPhyBitRecover.m: Recovers the payload bits

Selected Bibliography

Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). "Bluetooth Core Specification". Version 5.2, Volume 6.