Bluetooth And WiFi- How Are They Different?

There is a drastic presence of wireless technologies in our daily life. If you possess a portable device such as a phone, a laptop, a speaker, or any other modern electronic device, you definitely might have seen the Bluetooth and WIFI symbols.

 Bluetooth and WiFi are the two options for a wireless connection that are quite common in the case of portable devices. The different forms of Bluetooth and wifi connectivity coexist at different places, such as, in cars, libraries, homes, offices, etc. They help in providing the type of connection with the range we need and the level of power required to make our interfaces seamless as we shift from our computers to our smartphones, tablets, and smart devices. 

What do these two terms actually mean? Below, we are stating everything you need to know about the difference between Bluetooth and WiFi.

All about Bluetooth

Bluetooth was developed by Nils Rydbeck, CTO at Ericsson Mobile in Lund, Sweden, in the year 1989. Bluetooth is a standard of wireless technology that is used for exchanging data between fixed devices and mobile devices over short distances using UHF radio waves in the scientific, medical, and industrial radio bands.

It is a technology that is designed to enable short-range wireless communication between certain electronic devices. Bluetooth works with the help of radio frequencies, instead of using the infrared spectrum because of which it eliminates the need for not only a wire connection but also for maintaining a clear line of communication between certain devices. 

Bluetooth was largely developed for the mobile phone sector. It is used for transferring data, over short distances, between certain electronic devices. Since it can broadcast over short distances, we mainly use Bluetooth in cases where the reach is quite low. For instance, with the help of Bluetooth, you can pair your computer to a wireless mouse; phone with a Bluetooth speaker, car, or an earpiece. Even video games such as PlayStation 4’s official headset, Moga XP5-A, etc,  have significant usage of Bluetooth.

All about WiFi

WiFi, which stands for ‘wireless fidelity’, was introduced in the year 1997. It was earlier known as ‘IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence’. Commercially, the term “WiFi” was first used around August 1999 and was formulated by the brand-consulting firm Interbrand. WiFi uses radio waves for high-speed data transfer, over short distances, without needing a wire connection. WiFi can be simply defined as a wireless technology that is primarily used to connect various devices to the internet. 

To enable WiFi, you usually have to enter the WiFi password on your device so you can connect to a local area network  LAN (local area network) via a router. It then allows you to surf the web without connecting your device to a cable outlet or a phone line. These days, you will find WiFi receivers in many devices such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, printers, etc, and at various places such as restaurants, cafes, airports, etc., which means they provide wireless internet access to your devices. 

You can also get information about checking the WiFi’s speed, check out this article on how to test your WiFi speed. WiFi-enabled devices can connect to signals that are within the range of 300 feet. During this unfortunate phase of the pandemic, WiFi is being used the most for ‘work from home’ purposes. Besides this, it is also used for gaming, watching and downloading movies, etc. 

How are Bluetooth and WiFi different?

Although both, Bluetooth and WiFi are wireless forms of communication yet they differ in terms of their usage, capabilities, and several other factors. We will discuss all the ‘WiFi vs Bluetooth’ factors below.

1. Data transfer: Bluetooth allows for short-range data transfer between devices while Wifi allows devices to connect to the internet.  

bluetooth and wifi

Also read:  9 basic internet terms and their definitions

2. Flexibility: Bluetooth is a point-to-point connection which means that it curtails the number of devices that can connect at one time. Thus it is less flexible. Whereas Wi-Fi is capable of connecting to many devices and users at a particular time, making it very flexible.

3. Reason for development: Bluetooth, is a standard that was developed mainly for the mobile phone market. It was created to supersede the Infrared spectrum, which had a lot of limitations while WiFi was developed as an alternative to wired networking.

4. Usage: Bluetooth is generally used for sending small files from one device to another and to connect other devices like headsets and other peripherals. While WiFi is a wireless networking standard that allows computers and other devices to connect to the internet via an access point. 

5. Signal reach: Bluetooth uses a weak radio wave to achieve a maximum reach of 30 ft because it does not require much distance between two devices. Whereas WiFi is meant to provide flexibility and mobility to its users while staying connected, Thus it tends a tendency to achieve a long reach that can extend up to 165 ft. 

6. Bandwidth: Most Bluetooth devices do not require a lot of bandwidth, plus, a greater bandwidth would usually result in a greater cost. That’s why Bluetooth still has a very low bandwidth which makes it unsuitable for transferring large files. Whereas bandwidth is very essential for WiFi since it provides a connection to the internet. Thus, WiFi has higher bandwidth.

7. Secure connection: Bluetooth doesn’t require any password to connect to devices. It uses encryption and authentication keys. This means that the connection is usually not very secure. Whereas WiFi uses WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wifi Protected Access) which, unlike the case of Bluetooth, makes the connection very secure. 

Also read:  2 ways to restore your WiFi password )

8. Power consumption: Bluetooth requires less energy consumption whereas WiFi requires a lot more power. 

9. Speed: Bluetooth cannot receive more than 50 Mbits/s while Wi-Fi direct can receive almost 2Gbits/s. That’s the kind of speed you need for a better experience in case of playing video games, using smart TVs, etc. This shows that you get a much faster and better speed with Wi-Fi direct. 

10. Mode of connection: Bluetooth, for establishing a connection, requires a Bluetooth adapter. On the other hand, for using Wi-Fi devices, a wireless adapter and router are required

11. Radio signal range: The radio signal range provided by Bluetooth is 10 meters, whereas, in the case of WiFi, it is 100 meters.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, both these technologies have been invented to enable a wireless connection between various devices. Basically, Bluetooth is considered as a short-distance wireless connection device while Wi-Fi is such a connected device that provides more benefits, a longer range, a large number of users, and effective ways to connect to the internet.

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