Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct are used for wirelessly connecting two or more devices or transferring data between devices over short distances using electromagnetic radiation within the ultra high frequency or UHF band of the electromagnetic spectrum.
These standard wireless communication technologies have notable advantages over wired communication, and even other wireless technologies to include infrared communication, Zigbee technology, Z-Wave standard, ultra-wideband technology, and near-field communication.
Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi Direct: Which One is Better?
However, although both are based on the general operating principle of wirelessly transmitting data using electromagnetic waves or specified radio frequencies, they have their respective advantages and disadvantages.
The following is a comparison between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct, especially their notable differences in consideration of specified technological features and benefits:
1. Frequency Bands: Bluetooth technology uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band to wireless connect two or more devices. Wi-Fi Direct also uses the 2.4 GHz band but newer generations also have options for using the 5 GHz band. Moreover, with the introduction of the Wi-Fi 6E standard, more devices would be able to use the 6 GHz band.
2. Data Transfer Speed: The data transfer rate of Wi-Fi Direct is 250 Mbps or more while Bluetooth has a transfer speed of only up to 25 Mbps. Hence, the former is more suitable for wireless transfers involving large files or data. Examples include sending and receiving high-definition video and bulk audio or document files. Note that Miracast and ScreenCast applications are based on Wi-Fi Direct.
3. Connection Reliability: Both are considerably reliable and stable. But the 2.4 GHz band is susceptible to interferences because other devices are based on this same frequency band. The 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands have more channels, higher bandwidth, less overcrowding, and higher data transmission speeds. However, within the EM spectrum, the higher the frequency, the limited the range, and the more susceptible to physical obstructions.
4. Scope of Range: Remember that both are short-range wireless communication technologies. Nevertheless, although both can use the 2.4 GHz band, and even though the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands have a limited range, Wi-Fi Direct has a longer range of 200 to 400 meters compared to the maximum 400-meter range of Bluetooth.
5. Power Consumption: Bluetooth technology has a limited range because it consumes less power. Wi-Fi Direct has a higher operational energy requirement. Bluetooth can be optimized further for ultra-low power applications. This technology is ideal for mobile devices with limited battery capacities, other smaller wireless devices, and object identifiers.
6. Cost of Implementation: Low cost is another advantage of Bluetooth over other wireless communication technologies. The module is less complicated to manufacture and integrate into the system of a particular device. It is also small and has minimal processing requirements. This cost advantage translates to a lower overall manufacturing cost of a particular device.
7. Security and Encryptions: The two technologies are relatively similar in terms of security. Both also share the same security issues and concerns. However, Wi-Fi Direct uses AES 256-bit encryption while Bluetooth has 128-bit encryption. It is still important to note that the security of wireless communications is still dependent on the users.
Based on the aforementioned comparison between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct technologies, the latter has more advantages. These include data transmission rate or connection speed, reliability and stability, the scope of range, and security. Note that these are also some of the advantages of wireless networking based on Wi-Fi standard and protocol.
The former is more suitable for low-cost and low-power applications. Examples include small mobile devices such as budget and feature phones, wireless earphones, wireless controllers for gaming consoles, and other wearable devices, among others.
FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES
- Ivankov, A. 2019. “Modes and Types of Wireless Transmission and Communication.” Profolus. Available online
- Ivankov, A. 2018. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Bluetooth.” Profolus. Available online
- Ivankov, A. 2018. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Wi-Fi Direct.” Profolus. Available online