What is the difference between bluetooth and Wifi

- Apr 26, 2017-

What is the difference between bluetooth and Wifi 

Communication is going wireless with the upsurge of smart mobile devices such as laptops, cellular phones, PDA, tablets etc. In order escape traps of wires and to stream data wirelessly among these devices, a number of protocols have been formulated such Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC etc. Using these technologies users can exchange almost all sorts of files at high speeds. The speed of data transfer is not a major concern and there is no limit on data size exchanged. Though used for a lot of similar applications, these data exchange protocols have significantly different rule stacks and vary a lot in terms of range, device application etc. This article will detail with some of the common and uncommon differences between two such data exchange protocols: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

1. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Formulation: Bluetooth Technology’s invention has been credited to Ericsson which in the year 1994 launched it as a wireless communication alternative to RS232. Wi-Fi, though had researches since the mid 80s, was officially launched in the year 1997. A committee for development of Wi-Fi was set in the year 1990 which was head by, Victor Hayes who is also known as father of Wi-Fi.

2. Bluetooth vs. WiFi -  IEEE Standards: Bluetooth was initially defined under IEEE 802.15.1 standard but is now taken care by a Special Interest Group (SIG). Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is defined under 802.11.x (x=a, b, c, and so on) series of protocols and is currently maintained under the same. A Wi-Fi alliance founded by various companies tests and authorizes gadgets to be Wi-Fi compatible.

3. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Versions: Since its inception, Bluetooth has seen several versions of it such as Bluetooth 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1, Bluetooth 3.0 and the latest, Bluetooth 4.0. Added technologies such as Enhanced Data Rate (EDR), Alternate MAC/PHY, low energy protocols etc have been implemented in these updates. Various versions and upgrades are there in Wi-Fi too which are quite different than those in Bluetooth. Since, it is an IEEE 802.11 standard, Wi-Fi versions are termed as 802.11.a, 802.11b and so on.  These versions vary in terms of security protocols, radio frequency used for data exchange, maximum speed for data exchange, bandwidth occupied etc.

4. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - .Frequency: Bluetooth works at 2.4GHz frequency while Wi-Fi based networks work at 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz.

5. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Data Transfer Rates: The latest additions to Bluetooth (Bluetooth 4.0) promises data transfer rates to be upto 25mbps while latest Wi-Fi version of Wi-Fi direct can reach upto 250mbps of data transferring rate. Earlier versions of Bluetooth were able to deliver data at 800 hops per second while Wi-Fi clocked up at speeds like 54mbps.

6. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Range: Maximum range for Bluetooth based wireless connections is 30m while for Wi-Fi, it can extend well upto 100m. In Wi-Fi, range depends on the version of Wi-Fi protocol applied and addition of antennas in the communication system while no such concerns of range or extra antenna are much known in Bluetooth.

7. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Devices Connected: In Bluetooth, upto 7 devices can be connected to each other (piconet) while in Wi-Fi, the maximum connections depend on Wi-Fi router which can accommodate 1 to several communicating devices at a time.

8. Bluetooth vs. WiFi -  Connection Complexity: Connecting two devices over Bluetooth is fairly simple as there is just a simple key matching process. On the other hand, connections concerning Wi-Fi need an expertise in configuration and security pass code matching process. This makes Wi-Fi connection process more complex than the Bluetooth ones.

9. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Security: Earlier versions of Bluetooth were encryption and even now Bluetooth security is limited to key matching. Whereas in Wi-Fi, the security standards have been raised with inclusion of new versions. Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) are two most used

10. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Power Consumption: Able to works at longer distances and loaded with high quality security protocols makes Wi-Fi a more power consuming

11. Bluetooth vs. WiFi - Applicative Scenario: Wi-Fi technology is more used in connecting computers to routers or internet gateways. Moreover, a number of electronic gadgets such as camera, gaming consoles, PDA’s etc. also make use of Wi-Fi to connect to each other or internet.


Bluetooth, on the other hand, is used to connect peripherals to the computer. Computer keyboards, mouse, headsets etc. can be connected to the CPU using Bluetooth protocol.


There are internet based applications regarding Bluetooth but are less efficient than the Wi-Fi counterpart.

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