The connection parameters for a BLE connection are a set of parameters that determine when and how the central and peripheral in a link transmit data. The parameters are exchanged when the central and peripheral initially connect. It is always the central that actually sets the connection parameters used, but the peripheral can send a Connection Parameter Update Request, that the central can then accept or reject. The three different parameters are:

Connection Interval

The connection interval determines how often the central will ask for data from the peripheral. When the peripheral requests an update, it supplies a maximum and a minimum wanted interval. The connection interval must be between 7.5ms and 4s.

Slave Latency

By setting a non-zero slave latency, the peripheral can choose not to answer when the central asks for data up to the slave latency number of times. However, if the peripheral has data to send, it can choose to send data at any time. This enables a peripheral to stay sleeping for a longer time if it doesn't have data to send but still send data fast if needed.

Connection Supervision Timeout

This timeout determines the timeout from the last data exchange until a link is considered lost. The central will not try to reconnect before the timeout has passed, so if you have a device that goes in and out of range often and you need to notice when that happens, it might make sense to have a short timeout.

Effective Connection Interval

The effective connection interval is equal to the amount of time between two connection events, assuming that the slave skips the maximum number of possible events if slave latency is allowed (the effective connection interval is equal to the actual connection interval if slave latency is set to 0).

The slave latency value represents the maximum number of events that can be skipped. This number can range from a minimum value of 0 (meaning that no connection events can be skipped) to a maximum of 499. The maximum value must not make the effective connection interval (see the following formula) greater than 16 s. The interval can be calculated using the following formula:

Effective Connection Interval = (Connection Interval) * (1 + [Slave Latency])

Consider the following example:
Connection Interval: 80 (100 ms)
Slave Latency: 4
Effective Connection Interval: (100 ms) * (1 + 4) = 500 ms

When no data is being sent from the slave to the master, the slave transmits during a connection event once every 500 ms.

Connection Parameter Considerations

In many applications, the slave skips the maximum number of connection events. Consider the effective connection interval when selecting or requesting connection parameters. Selecting the correct group of connection parameters plays an important role in power optimization of the Bluetooth low energy device. The following list gives a general summary of the trade-offs in connection parameter settings.

Reducing the connection interval

  • Increases the power consumption for both devices
  • Increases the throughput in both directions
  • Reduces the time for sending data in either direction

Increasing the connection interval

  • Reduces the power consumption for both devices
  • Reduces the throughput in both directions
  • Increases the time for sending data in either direction

Reducing the slave latency (or setting it to zero)

  • Increases the power consumption for the peripheral device
  • Reduces the time for the peripheral device to receive the data sent from a central device

Increasing the slave latency

  • Reduces power consumption for the peripheral during periods when the peripheral has no data to send to the central device
  • Increases the time for the peripheral device to receive the data sent from the central device

Bluetooth Framework and Connection Parameters

Starting from version 7.14.0 Bluetooth Framework allows to read the current and change the connection parameters. This feature is supported with BLED112 USB Bluetooth dongle on any Windows platform and with Microsoft Bluetooth driver on Windows 11 and above.

Connection Parameters Set

Starting from version 7.14.0 Bluetooth Framework can use predefined connection parameters set:

Balanced

The balanced set of connection parameters, offering a balance between throughput and power usage.

Power Optimized

The more power-efficient set of connection parameters. Optimized for power usage at the expense of throughput. Also allows for more simultaneous connections to other Bluetooth devices.

Throughput Optimized

The more aggressive set of connection parameters, optimized for faster throughput at the expense of power usage. Also reduces the number of simultaneous connections that can be made to other Bluetooth devices.

Connection Parameters Values

Starting from version 7.14.1 Bluetooth Framework allows to control each paramater individually (Minimum and Maximum Connection Interval, Slave Latency and Supervision Timeout) individually.