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Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: What’s The Difference?

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Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: What’s The Difference?

Although Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E are both members of the wireless clan and use radio waves for connectivity, they differ in many ways, including range, bandwidth, latency, speed, power requirements, and potential applications.

Bluetooth technology allows us to connect and transfer data between various short-range devices. Mobile phones, tablets, keyboards, mice, printers, headsets, and other devices fall into this category.

Wi-Fi 6E, on the other hand, is the next-generation Wi-Fi technology that is an extension of the Wi-Fi 6 spectrum. This technology’s development aims to provide new features such as faster speeds, higher bandwidths, lower latencies, and enhanced security.

Before we get into the details of both technologies, let’s compare them.

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Side-by-Side Comparison

BluetoothWi-Fi 6E
What is it?It is a technology to connect and transfer data between short-range devices.Wi-Fi 6E is the extension of the Wi-Fi 6 spectrum that leads us to get more speed, channel capacity, and lower latency.
Technology typeWirelessWireless
IEEE standard name802.15.1802.11 ax
Potential UseCommunication and data transfer between short-range devicesWi-Fi 6E connects devices to the internet with greater speed, lower latency, increased channel capacity, better security, higher bandwidth, etc.
Came into existencein 1994In 2020
Frequency bands2.4 GHz2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz
Modulation techniqueGFSK, DQPSK, 8-DPSKOFDM
BandwidthLowerHigher
Data rate2.1 Mbps2 Gbps
Coverage areaNormally (10-60 meters) with Bluetooth 5.0 (240 meters)6 GHz band can go only for 4 meters
Hardware requirementBluetooth adapterWi-Fi adapter, Wi-Fi Router, Wi-Fi Controler, and Accesspoint 
Supporting devicesLaptops, Mobile phones, Mouse, Keyboard, tablets, gaming consoles, audio devices, etcSmart LEDs/LCDs, Laptops, Mobiles, Desktops (with additional adaptor), etc
Power requirementLowerHigher
SecurityPIN or PasscodeWPA 3
Pairing requiredYesNo
User-FriendlyYesRequire some technical knowledge
Number of simultaneous connectionA lower number of concurrent connectionA higher number of simultaneous connections

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: What’s the Difference?

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth are different in many ways, and we will try to explore each of them in this section. Bluetooth, which has been around since the 1990s, is still a useful technology for connecting short-range devices. However, as the technological paradigm shifts, many new technologies are emerging to compete with it, and Wi-Fi 6E is one of them.

Wi-Fi 6E is a Wi-Fi 6 technology extension in the 6 GHz bands. This new frequency expands the capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 by adding a 1200 MHz spectrum, allowing for faster speeds, increased bandwidth, and lower latency.

This technology not only meets our current needs but also prepares us for future needs such as high-end gaming, 8K streaming, augmented and virtual reality, and so on. However, you may be wondering how all of this is possible and how technology affects our lives. Let us now contrast the two technologies.

Frequency

Unlike technologies like Infrared, which uses light, Bluetooth uses radio waves to communicate. A typical Bluetooth device’s frequency range is between 2.402 GHz and 2.48 GHz. It is an unlicensed short-range frequency band that is open to the general public.

When two Bluetooth devices are connected, the transmitting device divides the data into small packets and uploads it over one of the 79 available 1 MHz channel.

bluetooth vs wi-fi 6e
In the most widely used mode, Bluetooth’s transmission power is limited to 2.5 milliwatts.

A Bluetooth data packet performs 1600 hops per second using adaptive frequency hopping. This allows short-range devices to create a small personal area network in which devices are connected ad hoc in a pico cell.

Wi-Fi 6E technology, like Bluetooth, uses an unlicensed frequency band, but its range is much greater. Because the Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of the Wi-Fi 6, it can operate at 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and an additional frequency of 6 GHz.

As a result, the 802.11ax standard employs seven additional 160 MHz channels, allowing it to provide more bandwidth, increased throughput, and faster speeds.

Modulation technique

Aside from frequency, both technologies use different modulation techniques, which is a significant difference between them. Because many short-range devices do not require a large amount of data to communicate with one another, Bluetooth technology may still exist.

Bluetooth devices, such as keyboards, mice, and headsets, communicate using GFSK,/4 DQPSK, and 8DPSK modulation techniques. These techniques allow the devices to transfer data across all 79 channels with 1 MHz spacing. However, in the case of Bluetooth low energy, these channels are reduced to 40 channels with a spacing of 2 MHz.

The Wi-Fi 6E is intended to improve throughput in high-density scenarios such as hospitals, shopping malls, airports, apartments, corporate offices, and so on.

This is made possible by the use of orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), which transmits information in beam form to all connected clients even when data is transmitted simultaneously.

OFDMA divides a channel into different resource units for concurrent connection and assigns each resource unit to a different user. This not only reduces interference but also increases throughput because multiple clients can receive different data at the same time without interfering with each other’s communication.

wifi 6e
Wi-Fi 6E uses OFDMA to improve throughput in high-density scenarios.

Bandwidth

When comparing the two technologies in terms of bandwidth, Wi-Fi 6E outperforms Bluetooth technology. Because Bluetooth technology is purely based on the frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), it cannot compete with Wi-Fi 6E’s bandwidth availability even if data transfer occurs on all 79 channels.

wi-fi 6e vs 5g
Wi-Fi 6E expands on the existing Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard and allows access to a new 6 GHz band.

To achieve higher bandwidths, Wi-Fi 6E not only uses an extended 6 GHz band with an additional 160 MHz channel, but it also employs MU-MIMO, Trigger-based random access, and OFDMA.

Data Rate

Higher data rates are becoming a basic requirement for modern-day application needs, whether you are transmitting data over the internet or among devices.

When comparing the two technologies, Bluetooth falls far behind because it provides a very small amount of data, up to 50 Mbps, which is more than enough for connectivity and data transfer between mobile phones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets, and so on.

This data rate is not supported by all Bluetooth standards. Bluetooth standards provide varying data transmission rates:

  • Bluetooth 2.0 & 2.1 provides 2.1 Mbps,
  • Bluetooth 3.0 & 4.0 provides 24 Mbps,
  • Bluetooth 4.1 & 4.2 provides 25 Mbps,
  • Bluetooth 5.0, 5.1, & 5.2 provides 50 Mbps.

But when we talk about the Wi-Fi 6E, our expectations rise because we use it not only for data transfer between devices but also to connect to the internet, which we use for a variety of purposes.

The typical data rate of a Wi-Fi 6E device can reach 10 Gbps, but due to indoor impediments, such as concrete walls, wooden doors, glasses, metal impediments, and others, it can range between 2 and 10 Gbps.

Bluetooth Application Areas   

While Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E technologies each have their own use cases, Bluetooth is most commonly used for the following purposes:

  1. Data Transmission: Bluetooth is used by many devices, including wireless headsets, mobile phones, laptops, Fitbit, Jawbone, printers, PDAs, and fax machines, to transfer data over short distances.
  2. Wireless Connectivity: Another feature of Bluetooth that makes it useful is its wireless connectivity, which allows us to connect various devices’ keyboards, mice, and other peripherals to our laptops or desktop computers.
  3. Creating Ad hoc Personal Area Network: Bluetooth is a simple way to create our own personal area network, in which devices connect to each other on an ad hoc basis and share resources. This network is established in the absence of a centralized router or other network equipment.
bluetooth connection
Bluetooth makes connecting to devices easy with its wireless connectivity

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Wi-Fi 6E Application Areas

Wi-Fi 6E is another indoor technology that we can use for the following purposes:

  1. Interconnecting devices: Wi-Fi 6E, like Bluetooth, allows us to connect multiple devices to each other, but they must be on the same network and have a similar class IP address. Smartphones, smart LEDs, laptops, desktops, tablets, gaming consoles, smart air conditioners, and a variety of other IOT devices are examples of these devices.
  2. Internet Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E also allows us to connect a variety of devices to the internet, which is not easily possible with Bluetooth.
  3. Online gaming: Another application area for Wi-Fi 6E is gaming, which is very popular these days. We can play games over the internet or intranets because of their high data rates.
  4. 8K Streaming: Streaming movies and TV shows is the new trend these days, and Wi-Fi 6E allows us to easily enjoy any of our favorite content.
  5. AR / VR: With Wi-Fi 6E’s increased bandwidth availability, new innovative technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality are now possible.

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: 10 Must-Know Facts

  1. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E are both members of the wireless family.
  2. Bluetooth can only transfer data between connected devices.
  3. Wi-Fi 6E helps us in connecting to the internet.
  4. Wi-Fi 6E provides greater bandwidth, speed, and throughput, whereas Bluetooth does not.
  5. Bluetooth technology communicates with short-range devices, whereas Wi-Fi 6E connects devices located hundreds of feet away.
  6. The power consumption of Bluetooth devices is very low in comparison to Wi-Fi 6E devices.
  7. We can use Bluetooth to create ad-hoc networks (personal area networks) that do not require a centralized device.
  8. Wi-Fi 6E connects multiple devices via a centralized device, such as a Wi-Fi 6E router.
  9. Wi-Fi 6E employs a cutting-edge security mechanism, whereas Bluetooth is more vulnerable to hacking and other cyber attacks such as bluejacking.
  10. Wi-Fi 6E supports new and innovative technologies, such as 4k/8k streaming, AR/VR, and IoT, due to its extensive feature set. 

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi 6E: Which One Is Better?

So, which wireless tech is better for you? Bluetooth is an old technology that has been serving people since the 1990s. It is still in use because this technology is quite handy and provides interoperability. However, you should not get it confused with Wi-Fi 6E; they are completely different technologies for different use cases.

Wi-Fi 6E is now gaining popularity due to its fantastic features, such as speed, low latency, higher bandwidth, and massive data rates. By providing you with a dedicated band, it is useful not only for users looking to access bandwidth-hungry applications but also for those who require low latency for gaming or cloud-based applications.

It has enabled highly reliable connections and ensures a better user experience in all aspects. Wi-Fi 6E can manage the current and future needs of the users. This makes it an excellent choice for both businesses and homes. As for Bluetooth, most of your usage will be relegated to connecting wireless headphones, speakers, and even computer mice.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E Technology Updates

Some of the technology updates to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E since February 2023 are:

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth LE Audio: This new audio codec should deliver lower power consumption and better sound quality. It is expected to be released in 2023; however, it is still in the early stages of development.
  • Bluetooth 5.3: This is the latest version of the Bluetooth standard, which includes several new features, such as faster data transfer speeds, improved range, and support for new audio codecs.

Wi-Fi 6E

  • Wi-Fi 6E: A new band that is not yet widely used is the 6 GHz band. Using this band means that Wi-Fi 6E devices can have improved performance due to less interference from other devices.
  • Extended range: Extended range is possible with Wi-Fi 6E, which is useful for devices that are far away from the router.
  • More bandwidth: More bandwidth is available with Wi-Fi 6E, which is useful for devices that need to transfer a lot of data.

Possible Future Technology Enhancements for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E

Even though there haven’t been announcements on future enhancements, we may expect the following enhancements in the next six to 18 months:

  • Use of new audio codecs: Even better sound quality may be possible with new audio codecs for Bluetooth.
  • Development of new audio processing techniques: New developments in audio processing techniques for Bluetooth LE Audio could reduce power consumption and improve sound quality.
  • Use of new antenna designs: Improvements in range and bandwidth for Wi-Fi 6E are possible with the development of new antenna designs.
  • Development of new signal processing techniques: Researchers could develop new signal processing techniques for Wi-Fi 6E that can help to improve range and bandwidth.
  • Support for new applications: New applications, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, could be possible for Wi-Fi 6E with the development of certification programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bluetooth superior to Wi-Fi 6E?

Bluetooth technology is feasible for devices with limited power that do not transmit large amounts of data. Wi-Fi 6E, on the other hand, is better suited for devices that require internet connectivity or more bandwidth to serve the users.

Can Bluetooth connect us to the internet?

In general, Bluetooth does not support internet connectivity; however, we can share the internet connection of one mobile device with another by utilizing the Bluetooth tethering feature. Only in this manner, we can connect the device to the internet via Bluetooth.

How many devices can Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E support?

In terms of device support, there isn’t much of a difference because Bluetooth can support up to 7 simultaneous connections with the host and an unlimited number of paired devices. Wi-Fi 6E can support up to 8 concurrent connections.

The only distinction between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6E device connectivity is that Wi-Fi 6E devices can communicate directly with each other, whereas Bluetooth devices can only communicate with the host device.

Do Wi-Fi 6E devices support Bluetooth?

Yes, Bluetooth is supported by many Wi-Fi 6E devices, including the Intel Ax210 Gig+ adapter, in addition to the other legacy Wi-Fi standards.

Does Bluetooth interfere with Wi-Fi 6E?

Wi-Fi 6E operates in the 6 GHz band, so there is no chance that Bluetooth could interfere with it. However, suppose you are using the 2.4 GHz frequency band. In that case, frequency overlapping is possible, which can be avoided by using a different channel or switching back to the 6 GHz bands.

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