With all the current talk of various methods of transferring data and connecting two independent systems, the two technologies that come to mind time and again are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Both the technologies can be used to transfer data by establishing a connection between two devices. Bluetooth devices use radio waves to transmit data from one device to another. This connection is established in two layers. The first layer is the one with less power and is used to transfer data in an area equivalent to that of a standard room. The second layer is the high power layer that can be used to cover areas as big as the entire house. The transmission is done in short bursts (a small amount of data is transferred at a time). On the other hand, Wi-Fi connections are used to provide connectivity to the internet and work off a slightly different principal. The Wi-Fi connection requires the presence of a wireless router that converts the data into radio signals and transmits it to the devices attached to it. The router is generally connected to a DSL internet connection that then moves the data over the telephone lines.
Bluetooth Vs Wi-Fi
Though Bluetooth and Wi-Fi may seem similar on the surface, they are quite different in their operations. Here are the highlights of their differences.
- Bluetooth devices create PAN (Private Area Networks) and allow for limited amounts of data transfer. Wi-fi connections on the other hand form LAN (Local Area Networks) that allow a group of computers to share data, programs, communicate with one another, share printers and even access the internet.
- Bluetooth does not require any technical knowledge to be set up. On the contrary, to set up a Wi-Fi connection, a person will need to know a little about networking.
- Bluetooth devices work off low power batteries and hence have an effective range of about 30 ft. Wi-Fi connections however, with an external power source, have a range of up to 300 feet.
- Wi-Fi connections are limited to modems and routers. On the other hand, there is no limitation on the devices that can be connected to a Bluetooth device.
- The communication between Bluetooth devices is on a one-on-one basis, whereas, Wi-Fi is dependent on a router for connection to other computers.
- The main area of use for Bluetooth is to transmit audio data from cell phones to wireless headsets, whereas, Wi-Fi is used primarily to transmit data, programs etc from a computer to DSL internet lines.
- The data transmission using Bluetooth is slow and happens at a speed of around 22-30 kilo bytes per second. On the contrary, Wi-Fi connections transmit information using broadband internet connections and are known for their superior speeds of up to 54 mega bytes per second.
Even though Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are different in their methods of operation, it is important to note that they both have spheres where only one may work while the other will be useless. Keeping that in mind, it is safe to say that neither technology is bad or inadequate. They both serve different purposes.