Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi: Full Comparison

Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi: Full Comparison

Key Points

  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are two different things. Bluetooth receives and sends information. Wi-fi is a network.
  • Bluetooth is a standard wireless technology.
  • Wifi simply uses radio waves to transfer information from one device to the other.

Most digital devices nowadays have Bluetooth as well as Wifi. Though both technologies have different purposes, they are slowly replacing wire connections. For instance, Bluetooth has replaced wired data transfer while Wifi has replaced wired internet connections.

Bluetooth and Wifi have some similarities and differences as well. One common similarity between the two is that they both offer wireless communication through the use of radio signals. The main difference between Bluetooth and Wifi is that Bluetooth connects to devices within a short range, sharing data, while Wifi can connect to a wide range, offering web access at a high speed.

In data transfer between devices that don’t need high-speed transfer, Bluetooth technology is suitable in certain cases. It is best for transferring low-bandwidth applications. Wifi is suitable for full-scale network operations because it has a faster connection as well as better range and more efficient wireless security compared to Bluetooth.

Nowadays, the two forms of communication are widely used compared to the days when they were invented. Both Bluetooth and Wifi are making working connections easier in homes, offices, and industries in data transfer.

Bluetooth vs Wifi: Side-by-Side Comparison

What it isBluetooth is a wireless technology that is commonly used in data exchange between mobile and fixed devices over short distances by the use of UHF radio waves.
Wifi is a wireless technology that is commonly used to connect tablets, smartphones, and computers among other devices directly to the internet. It is a radio signal sent to a nearby router directly from a wireless router. 
Ease of useIt is simply easy to use. Bluetooth can easily connect to seven devices at once. Bluetooth is simple to switch, find, or connect between different devices.
Wifi requires configuration and it is more complex of software and hardware. 
Devices usedMouse, mobile phones, keyboards, industrial and office automation devices.
Desktop computers, television, latest mobiles, servers, notebook computers. 
Requirements All devices for connectivity require a Bluetooth adapter.
Wifi devices require a wireless router and wireless adapter for connectivity.
Security Bluetooth is less secure because it can easily be hacked and the data information is not secure.
The features of Wifi on security are much better than Bluetooth but there are some risks of security at the same. 
Signal rangeBluetooth has a short range of 10 meters within the connected devices.
Wifi has a long distance range of up to 100 meters within the connected devices. 
Range of frequencyThe Bluetooth devices have a frequency range of 2.4 GHz and 2.483 GHz.
Wifi has a frequency range of 2.4 GHz and 5GHz
Power consumptionBluetooth consumes low power to transfer data from one device to another.
Wifi power consumption tends to be high.

Bluetooth vs Wifi: 11 Must-Know Facts

  • Bluetooth is a standard wireless technology, and all wireless technologies need both software and hardware components. The software decides what has been sent and how it’s interpreted, while the hardware is needed to enable the signal through the radio frequency.
  • The name “Wifi” doesn’t mean anything. Just like companies need names, IEEE needed a name for their new invention.
  • The latest version of Bluetooth, version 5 was officially released in December 2016 with better features compared to the older versions of Bluetooth.
  • Wifi simply uses radio waves to transfer information from one device to the other. This makes it easy for electronic devices to access the internet without the need to use cables.
  • In some aspects, Bluetooth is much better compared to Wifi. They both have different purposes, but when it comes to minimal configuration between two connected devices, Bluetooth is better.
  • The frequencies for Wifi are different. The common known frequencies for Wifi are 5GHz or 2.4GHz, which are higher than the common cellular transmission. This simply means the signals can transfer more data.
  • Bluetooth was given the name after the Vikings. Though it wasn’t intended, there are some similarities between the Bluetooth and Vikings. For example, the Vikings always used slaves as well as Bluetooth.
  • There are over 9 billion Wifi devices worldwide. In 2017, there were a total of over 9 billion devices that are Wifi enabled worldwide.
  • Bluetooth, over the years, has gained a lot of popularity. 5% of mobile devices in 2008 were enabled with Bluetooth. Today, almost 95% of mobile devices are Bluetooth enabled.
  • The fastest Wifi is in Lithuania. According to Rotten Wifi, the fastest Wifi device is Lithuania, running at 16.6 Mbps in November 2016.
  • Bluetooth can be used in many devices. The latest Bluetooth technology allows a single device to be a “master” and enables it to communicate with seven “slaves” at a time.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a wireless communication technology that has a short range of operation. It allows different devices, like mobile phones, peripherals, and computers, to wirelessly transfer voice or data within a short distance through the use of UHF radio waves through the ISM bands. The main aim of this technology was to replace cables and other devices that are connected to transfer data.

It was introduced back on May 7, 1998, by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group as a wireless replacement to wires. Just like any other wireless technology, like Wifi routers and cordless phones used in offices or even homes, Bluetooth uses 2.4GHz.

Wi-fi logo

Bluetooth creates a radius wireless network of 33 feet or 10 meters known as a PAN (personal area network) or piconet, which can operate between 2-8 devices. The transmission power of Bluetooth is 2.5 milliwatts, which is very limited.

Most laptops, mobile devices, and computers among others have Bluetooth radios that are directly embedded in them. Pairing is a process that is used when connecting two different Bluetooth devices. Devices are able to broadcast their presence to the other device and the user decides on which one they want to be connected to when the ID or name appears.

Once the device you have selected proliferates, it is necessary to note which device you get connected to, so it is easy to fill in the code that assists in ensuring you are only paired with the right device. The pairing process can as well vary with the involved device.

Features of Bluetooth

The features of Bluetooth go hand in hand with the version. New versions keep popping up, and new features are added as well. Here are some of the features of Bluetooth, both the old ones and the new ones.

  • Discovery time is limited.
  • Simple and secure pairing
  • PAL of 802. 11n
  • Topology and dual mode
  • Coexistence of signaling mobile wireless service
  • Generalized interlaced scanning and train nudging
  • Higher output power
  • Mesh hierarchical model
  • LE power management
  • The Enhanced Attribute Protocol (EATT)
  • Isochronous Channel LE
  • Connection subrating
Low power consumption.
In some conditions, Bluetooth can lose connection.
It is mainly used for data and voice transfer.
Allows only a short range of distance between devices.
The Bluetooth range is better compared to other infrared communication devices.
It can be easily hacked.
It is able to create an adhoc connection faster without any wires.
Bluetooth is easy to upgrade.
It doesn’t cost anything if the device already has Bluetooth installed.
Bluetooth can go past walls.
Bluetooth technology is used in products such as car systems, web cameras, headsets, mice, printers, GPS systems, and keyboards.
Most devices using Bluetooth are cheap.

What is Wifi?

Wifi is a wireless radio signal provided by a wireless router used for local networking and internet services allowing connections of computers, laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices. It gives them an opportunity to exchange information by creating a network with one another. 

Wifi has a Wifi router that allows internet connectivity. This router is directly connected to your internet modem and becomes the hub that allows the broadcast of signals from the internet across all the enabled devices of Wifi. It gives the user the flexibility of being connected with the internet only if one is within the coverage area of the network. 

Over years, most people have been thinking that Wifi is a short form of Wireless Fidelity but this is not true. The name isn’t a short form of anything and it is commonly referred to as Wifi, wi-fi, Wifi, or Wifi. The name only came from a marketing firm because the wireless industry was searching for a friendly name for it. 

In order to transmit data directly from the router to the devices enabled for Wifi, Wifi uses radio waves. These devices both communicate with each other by only using airwaves, devices, as well as personal information, which becomes a threat to cyber-attacks, hackers, and other similar threats. 

There are different types of Wifi connections:

  • Jetpack/ mobile hotspot
  • Router/ wireline
  • 5G home internet
  • 4GLTE Home Internet

Features of Wifi:

  • No cables needed for connection hence it’s fast and provides flexibility.
  • Wifi is easy to use.
  • Large support of devices.
  • Provides a very powerful security.
  • High speed internet access.
  • Compatible with VPN.
  • Connects almost all Wifi-Certified devices.
  • Less or no interference.
Long-range of connection approximately 100 meters.
Less Secure.
More device connections make it ideal for large enterprises.
High power consumption for devices.
Easy to install and deploy.
Higher costs of buying and maintenance.
Penetration through obstacles such as walls.
Has extremely lower latency.
Most Wifi routers are Portable and convenient to access.
Offers reduced costs for enterprises.

Bluetooth vs Wifi: Summary

Bluetooth was launched back in the 1990s as a designed technology that enables wireless communication in a short-range between electronic devices like between a laptop and smartphone or between televisions and laptops. On the other hand, Wifi is just like Bluetooth because they all use radio waves. Wifi uses radio waves to transfer data at high speed within a short distance and doesn’t need wires for this connection. 

After being launched in the 1990s, Wifi has already gone through different processes of standardization and it was approved by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in order to have data transfer with greater bandwidth. 

The two technologies are wireless communication forms, but both Wifi and Bluetooth differ in terms of their capabilities and purposes among other factors. Bluetooth only allows data transfer on a short-range between two devices while Wifi only connects devices to the internet. 

Bluetooth has only limited devices that it connects at a time while Wifi can connect more users and devices at one time. Bluetooth requires an adapter with the connecting devices making it need less power and simpler to use. On the other hand, Wifi has a high speed on data transferring and an achieved range of expense.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Bluetooth or Wifi?

This varies with the need of the technology. For mobile devices Bluetooth is much better because it needs limited power. On the other hand, for stationary devices Wifi is much better because these devices need connection to the internet directly.

What are the advantages of Bluetooth over Wifi?

 Bluetooth is very cheap compared to Wifi which tends to be expensive to install as well as maintaining. The power usage of Bluetooth devices is low compared to Wifi, which tends to use high power.

Does Bluetooth use Wifi?

Bluetooth only operates by using radio waves for a short-range thus it doesn’t need Wifi connection. Bluetooth devices can operate anywhere because one only needs two compatible devices and it doesn’t need any Wifi connection.

What are the disadvantages of using Bluetooth?

Even with many advantages of Bluetooth, it has some disadvantages as well.

  • Compared to Wifi, Bluetooth has a very low bandwidth.
  • It isn’t secure because it can be easily hacked.
  • In certain conditions, Bluetooth can easily lose connection.
  • It has a distance limitation because it can only operate within 10 meters.

Which has better security, Bluetooth or Wifi?

Both connections of Bluetooth and Wifi are equally secure typically in connection reliability and strength, but Bluetooth is somehow secure from hackers, because hackers need to be close to hack into a Bluetooth device.

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