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WiFi vs Bluetooth - What Are The Differences

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/23/2010

WiFi and Bluetooth are two frequently used computer technologies. They both allow you to connect wirelessly on your computer. However, they are completely different from each other for several reasons. Read more to find out the differences between WiFi and Bluetooth and what each is used for.

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    WiFi and Bluetooth

    What is the difference between WiFi and Bluetooth? Simple. WiFI and Bluetooth are both wireless networking industry standard connection types that use radio waves to sync. However, WiFi and Bluetooth differ in three main ways: usage, range, and technicalities. If you have a newer laptop computer, there's a good chance that you have both WiFi and Bluetooth. Learn more about the differences between WiFi and Bluetooth below.

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    WiFi

    motorola To best understand WiFi check out some of the facts below. More than likely, you are already familiar with WiFI, you just didn't know it was called WiFi.

    WiFi is used to connect to a wireless access point, or in simple terms, wireless internet. So, if you have a wireless router in your home, and you use your laptop computer wirelessly, that is a perfect example of WiFi.

    WiFi devices are any pieces of hardware that are able to use the inustry standard IEEE 802.11 band. Some common examples of WiFi devices are: laptop computers, cell phones, MP3 players (such as the iPod Touch), video game consoles (Wii), etc.

    WiFi devices have a maximum range of about 300 feet from a wireless hotspot (access point).

    WiFi can be added to computers and other devices that don't have it via wireless cards and wireless adapters.

    WiFi has a transfer speed of up to 54mbps (wireless-G) and 300 mbps (wireless-N).

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    Bluetooth

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/72/168108824_8022e0b076.jpg 

    To best understand Bluetooth, check out some of the facts below. You may be familiar with Bluetooth already, as it is used in many electronic devices, such as your cell phone.

    Bluetooth is used to connect two or more electronic devices together. If you have ever synced your cell phone with your computer, that is a perfect example of Bluetooth. Bluetooth was first developed in 1994.

    Bluetooth devices are devices, often computer related, that have industry standard built-in Bluetooth capabilities. Some common examples of Bluetooth devices are: laptop computers, cell phones, wireless keyboards, wireless mice, digital cameras, etc.

    Bluetooth devices have a minimum range of around 20 feet and a max range of around 100 meters.

    Bluetooth can be added to computers that don't have built-in capabilities via wireless Bluetooth cards and adapters.

    Bluetooth has a transfer speed of 3.0 mbps (Bluetooth 2.0).

    Images: Flickr.com

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    Summary

    What is the difference between WiFi and Bluetooth? Mainly, purpose. The purpose of WiFi is to enable devices to connect to the internet wirelessly. WiFi eliminates having to be tethered down with a cord when connecting to the internet. WiFi = wireless high speed internet.

    The purpose of Bluetooth is to enable devices to sync with each other wirelessly at short distances. Bluetooth eliminates having to use cords to connect electronic devices and peripherals together. Bluetooth is used to perform multiple specific tasks between electronic devices.