Bluetooth 4 an BLE in 2019

In the 2018 rules only bluetooth 2 and 3 is allowed.
Most new chips like the ESP32 have bluetooth 4 and bluetooth BLE onboard.
It would be a shame to ignore this and would be a waste of weight and money to install additional bluetooth3 modules.
Can we please change the 2019 rules to allow bluetooth 4 and BLE as well?
If someone in in dought about the possible higher range of bluetooth4.0, at least BLE should be added to the rules.

Roland from the “bohlebots”, Germany

Hi Roland,

“bluetooth 2 and 3”, it meant the Class 2 and 3, not version of the Bluetooth protocol.

With that said, it means the “range” is the key here.
Class 3 less than 10 meters
Class 2 10 meters, 33 feet

The version 4 that you mention is reported to reach up to 50 meters, so it is not allowed. But then, the Soccer TC will be the best one to verify this, of course.

Hi stormingrobot,
thanks for this clarification.
I just checked, the ESP32 is a class 2 device with Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE and therefore it is allowed.
Thank you very much!


Hi Roland,

Based on the Data sheet for ESP32 Series, ESP32 Bluetooth Radio supports Class 1, 2, and 3. While I am not familiar with the specific model, I highly recommend you to include a reference link to the spec sheet which specify which class your specific model uses.

Ok, I see.
Well if I use BLE the default tx power of theESP32 is -21dBm.
I can change the transmission power.
So we could use low power setting on a device which is capable of doing more.
This is the same as with the onboard WIFI.
We are allowed to use it while setting up the robot but we have to switch it of
during gameplay.
Greetings, Roland

Hello everyone,

Thank you for the discussion.

As @elizabeth.mabrey correctly points out (thanks a ton for doing that!), what the rules specify is the Bluetooth Class – the protocol version is not mentioned. In principle, any Bluetooth device that is classified as Bluetooth Class 2 and Bluetooth Class 3 would be allowed. You would therefore be most probably asked to lower your transmission power in the case of ESP32, but you would be allowed to use it.

Hope this helps!

– Marek

Hello Marek,
yes, this helps a lot.
We will use the ESP32 in (standard) low transmission power mode anyway,
but how can we prove it? Just by showing the sourcecode?
Thanks a lot for your help.

Hi @stiebel, yes, that should be enough in general.

– Marek

Hi Marek and stormingrobots and others,
While playing with the ESP32 my team found out that there is another communication protocol usable with the ESP32.
This is called ESP32Now.
On the Espressif site it is called “another low energy 2.4GHz Protocol” which is similar to " a wireless mouse"
Pairing devices prior to communication is needed, so it is ensured that the communication is just between the two robots.
Well, this is not really Bluetooth, but zigbee is neither and still allowed, too, so I wonder if we can use ESP32Now as well.
It would ease the paired communication as no Bluetooth pairing is necessary.
For my understanding it should be allowed as it fits all the required features:
low power
low range
no broadcast
just two paired robots

Please let me know, if we can use this protocol.
Thanks and merry Christmas

Are there any news about the ESP32Now ?

I have to ask again, because ESP32now is not 802.15.4, but a peer to peer 802.11.

Just reading the rules, the ESPnow protocol is NOT allowed, but in my opinion these rules just
show their own age. The ESP32Now protocol should be allowed as it is exactly what we want for soccer:
low range, low power, now broadcast, just two paired robots.
As long as there is no rule change, we will use Bluetooth, but I would like to ask for
this very change of the official rules.


Hi Roland,

Sorry for the delay. We are still discussing the matter. But RoboCupJunior does not allow any wifi connections from the robots. It’s not the matter of different protocols. This is the current status. We will get back to you with more.

Warmly, Amy Eguchi

Hi Roland,

I am not a TC member of soccer league. However, I would like to chime in my interpretation.

I am sure we all agree that it is all about learning. Wi-fi is great for debugging, uploading and such. However, all the restriction put upon the rules is for the sake of fairness. I think wi-fi is not allowed because:

  1. minimize interruption to the major league
  2. eliminate the possibility of remote driving

Based on the 802.11 protocol, it still allows over 100 feet communication. Thus, I shall assume it will be banned at the competition. However, this has to be confirmed by the TC/Soccer League, of course.

Hi stormingrobots,
yes you are absolutely right.
The rules are clear and we will not use ESP32NOW even if it would be the best protocol for us.
Fortunately the ESP32 has bluetooth on board as well.
Nevertheless I suggest rethinking the rules for 2020.

Thanks for your response


HI Roland,

I fully understand the frustration on not being able to use wi-fi… I am in the TC for the Rescue League, and we are facing the same dilemma. I shall make suggestion to the future TC the possibility of using some simple network scanning tool such as “fing” to detect the MAC address on board of all robot controllers at each round. This way, I hope as long as a robot has its wifi-capability “disabled”, similar to the raspberry-pi’s, perhaps teams can re-enable it while testing as long as it is only available for P2P!?

For testing, debugging, easy upload/download, perhaps Zigbee - Xbee can be an alternative.

Have fun with soccer!

Have fun with rescue.