Wireless communications technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are both necessary in today’s “always connected” world.
Both technologies are based on the principle of sharing information by broadcasting radio signals via the air rather than by cables.
In this article we’ll discuss and compare WiFi vs Bluetooth so that you will be able to distinguish between these two wireless technologies when you encounter them.
Table of Contents
What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a communications technology that enables systems to connect without the use of a “middleman” device such as a router or a repeater.
So, bluetooth is a communications technology for connecting end-devices directly between them (for example your smartphone with bluetooth earbuds or speakers).
That does sound like how a regular radio works, but it isn’t. Bluetooth doesn’t consume a lot of energy because it simply sends out a signal that can travel around 30 feet.
This is why little gadgets like earpieces may operate for hours on end on a single charge. In just a few hours, a conventional radio will deplete many huge batteries.
The signal on Bluetooth has a limited bandwidth, making it suitable for simple data transfers such as text or audio. We use it a lot for audio, but that starts to stretch Bluetooth’s boundaries.
What is WiFi?
Wireless networking, often known as Wi-Fi, is a technology that allows user devices such as PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet etc to connect to a wireless local area network (WLAN).
This WLAN (controlled by a WiFi router) can then route traffic to the internet at fast speeds without requiring a direct cable connection.
Wi-Fi is a phrase developed in 1999 by a marketing firm as a title that would be readily remembered owing to its similarities to the then-popular word “hi-fi.”
The technology transmits data between Wi-Fi-capable devices and a central router device using radio frequencies, allowing the device to receive information from the web or communicate with the other devices connected to the same WiFi network.
Uses of Bluetooth
- Wireless Desktops: All (or most) device drivers (e.g., mouse, keyboard, printer, speakers, etc.) are cordlessly linked to the PC without cables.
- Superior headset: It permits you to use one headset with a variety of devices, such as phones, laptop computers, stereo systems, and so on.
- Autonomous Synchronization: This use approach combines hidden grid computing, which focuses on programs in which devices do specific activities on the user’s behalf without the user’s knowledge or action.
- Interactive media Exchange: Bluetooth may be used to transfer multimedia content such as songs, films, and photos between devices.
Uses of WiFi
- Home security systems use WiFi technology to keep homes safe.
- Robotics is making a breakthrough. Researchers are using WiFi technology to control these Robots just because WiFi can transmit more data per second than Bluetooth.
- Drones are becoming very popular these days. As you already know, drones require remote controllers to operate them. That is why manufacturers are using WiFi technology because it can cover more range than Bluetooth signals.
- To create home and office wireless LANs for sharing data and giving access to the Internet.
Technical Differences of WiFi vs Bluetooth
WiFi and Bluetooth have different system requirements. You may connect devices directly between them with Bluetooth. This means that Bluetooth is a client-to-client technology.
On the other hand, to connect to a WiFi network, you’ll need a WiFi enabled client device and a WiFi router or Access Point.
Bluetooth uses just 800 kbps of bandwidth, but WiFi uses a minimum of 11Mbps and can go above Gigabit per second.
WiFi networks first appeared in 1991, and Bluetooth in 1994. Bluetooth’s specification is SIG, while WiFi’s specifications are controlled by IEEE (802.11ac, 802.11ax etc) and WECA.
From Bluetooth 2.0 to Bluetooth 4.0, the technology has seen major advances. All of the evolutions have faster data speeds and low power protocols.
WiFi has also undergone a constant series of improvements, from 802.11b to 802.11ac to the newest 802.11ax, which offers dual 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, faster data transfer speeds, and improved security measures.
Bluetooth has a lot of specifications since the utilization is extremely easy and several devices may be linked at the same time. Bluetooth may also be used to swap across devices.
On the other hand, a WiFi network is a complicated network that is more difficult to configure and requires also some networking knowledge.
Bluetooth may be used with a variety of devices, including automation equipment, mobile phones, keyboards, and mice.
The growing issue with Bluetooth is its shorter range. WiFi can have a range of hundreds of meters whereas Bluetooth range is limited to tens of meters.
Bluetooth refers to both non-residential and residential clients, whereas WiFi applies mostly to residential hardware and its applications.
Both methods are wireless, yet they serve different functions. WiFi is used to get access to a local area network at the workplace or home network, whereas Bluetooth is utilized to carry out personal applications like connecting clients to clients.
As we all know, WiFi is an Ethernet network that users must establish to have speedy access to the internet. Data transfer has gotten simpler and faster thanks to WiFi. Because it has a robust and secure connection, a user may utilize WiFi for performing reliable professional tasks.
WiFi works well since it provides a full-strength network that allows for a quick connection.
Similarly, Bluetooth is a very effective technology for data transfers amongst adjacent devices such as a telephone, modem, headset, and so on. It uses less power than WiFi.
Bluetooth and WiFi have distinct levels of security. Bluetooth has only two levels of authentication to cover a short distance and save time and power consumption.
WiFi is a more vulnerable network because when many networks are linked together, a hacker may attempt to get direct exposure to a linked user’s data, and if successful, your personal information may be compromised.
However, with modern WiFi security standards such as WPA2 and WPA3, this technology has much better security nowadays which is comparable to wired connections.
Bluetooth uses extremely little power, although WiFi should consume a lot because WiFi has a large range of connection compared to Bluetooth which has a short-range.
Bluetooth 5.0 can only transport data at a max speed of around 2 Mbps. On the other hand, WiFi 6.0 (the latest standard) can transport data at speeds of Gbps.
While there is a significant difference between the two, please note that Bluetooth devices aren’t designed to transfer large files, and their slower data transfer speeds are ideal for voice communication.
Bluetooth only operates on a 2.4GHz frequency, however many WiFI networks nowadays operate on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
Many of today’s latest wireless products use WiFi’s 5GHz frequency, which is far less crowded than the 2.4GHz band and helps to prevent unintentional interference across WiFi and Bluetooth circuits.