What is the Difference Between the Two?
If you use a Computer, Laptop, or any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled device, you’ve likely heard these terms before. You may even know that they’re both related to wireless communication. But what is Wi-Fi? Where is it best to use? How about Bluetooth? Read on to find out the Difference between Bluetooth and WIFI.
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What is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi, which stands for ‘Wireless Fidelity’, is a method of connecting to the Internet. It was first released for home use in 1999 with the invention of the wireless router. This allowed casual users to “cut the ethernet cable” and connect to the World Wide Web wirelessly for the first time.
At first, the speed offered by Wi-Fi was inferior to that offered by a standard wired connection – only about 2 megabytes per second. However, today’s technology allows an incredibly fast wireless Internet connection over Wi-Fi.
How Does Wi-Fi Work?
Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit information from a device to an Internet access point (and vice-versa). The access point, known as a router, decodes the information and sends it to the Internet through the cable, satellite dish, or DSL lines connected to your house.
The router also receives information from the Web, encoding it and sending it to your device via the same radio waves. Older applications of Wi-Fi used a 2.4GHz wave to transmit information. The best Wi-Fi technology available today uses a 5GHz wave and can transmit data at a much higher rate.
How is Wi-Fi Used?
Most modern devices are Wi-Fi enabled, from laptops to gaming consoles. In order to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, one must first find a “hotspot”. These hotspots can be public – such as in coffee shops, restaurants or airports – or private, such as a home Internet connection.
When you connect to the Internet, your device uses its wireless adapter to send and receive information to the router.
Wi-Fi can be used for more than just Internet access, however. There are many of products on the market today that use Wi-Fi for a variety of purposes. Wi-Fi enabled printers, allow you to print wirelessly from any place that you can connect to the same hotspot. You can stream video over a connection to any TV in your house.
You can even turn your smartphone into a TV remote! And now we have smart homes where you can connect thermostats, security systems, video cameras, and more using your Wi-Fi.
In today’s world, Wi-Fi is nearly ubiquitous. Everywhere you go there is a potential connection to the Internet only a short radio wave away.
How About Bluetooth?
So, Wi-Fi connects devices to the internet via an access point called a router. But what does Bluetooth do? Well, Bluetooth is primarily used for device-to-device communication. This bypasses the need for an Internet connection and allows devices to communicate with each other directly.
Bluetooth has existed since the year 2000 – one year after the first home Wi-Fi connection. The first Bluetooth device was a wireless headset that allowed hands-free communication when connected to a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone (or another device).
How Does Bluetooth Work?
Bluetooth functions similarly to Wi-Fi. However, Bluetooth devices bypass the need for an Internet connection and “talk” to each other directly. Using the same 2.4GHz wave that some Wi-Fi routers do, a Bluetooth connection consists of a ‘master’ device and one or more ‘slave’ devices. The master device could be a phone, Bluetooth-enabled laptop, or even a car radio.
The master device determines which data each of the slave devices sends or receives. Therefore, unlike the router/device combination used in a Wi-Fi connection, a Bluetooth master device is in total control of the data.
The master device can be used with up to seven slave devices. It’s also good to note that any devices that were paired up in the past share a “bond”. This means that whenever they are close enough together to receive each other’s transmissions, they will connect without any user interaction necessary.
For example, if you paired a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone with your car stereo, they would automatically connect anytime you got into your car and went for a drive. This is possible because each Bluetooth device has a unique 12-digit hexadecimal address that is stored for recall whenever the connection is reestablished.
What is Bluetooth Used For?
Bluetooth is primarily used for device-to-device communication. Bluetooth devices include wireless headsets, speakers, keyboards, and mouse, (and many others). Bluetooth connections are more reliable and more secure than Wi-Fi connections – each device must be set to “discoverable” before connecting, and one must type in a unique PIN on the master device in order to pair the connection.
As mentioned before, once two devices are paired together, they form a bond that allows them to connect to each other automatically.
The best part of Bluetooth is that it requires less hardware. Rather than needing a router, an Internet connection, and some sort of Wi-Fi enabled device, it only requires two Bluetooth-enabled devices.
This means that a Bluetooth connection can be used even without a pesky monthly Internet bill. Bluetooth devices are also quite common. This leads to a compatibility ratio possibly even greater than that of Wi-Fi!
Should I use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi?
That is a great question. First, you must decide whether your device needs to be connected to the Internet or not. If it does, then Wi-Fi should be your go-to solution.
If the device only needs to be connected to another device, then a Bluetooth connection is the ideal solution.
However, many users could benefit from using a combination of both types of communication in their homes. For example, you could use a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to set up a home theater.
The Wi-Fi connection would be used to stream video to a Smart TV (or a Wi-Fi capable device connected to a regular TV). Then, Bluetooth could be used to set up a secure, reliable connection between the TV and some Bluetooth-enabled speakers.
Whether you decide to use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for your particular application, remember to ensure that the connection is secure and private.
With Bluetooth, this is not as big of a concern. Bluetooth transmissions don’t travel far, and connections require user confirmation to create.
With Wi-Fi, setting up a strong password is essential. Another way to keep a Wi-Fi connection secure is to create an “allow list” based on MAC addresses. Any device not on the list will not be able to “see” the hotspot, and thus will not be able to connect to the Internet. For more information on securing your router you can check out my post I did on how to Secure your Router by clicking here.
Do You Have Any Question About The Difference Between The Two?
I love to hear from my readers, so if you have any question or would like to leave a comment about Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, please leave them in the comment section below!