What two Wireless technologies share the same Radio Frequency range? The comparison between the 802.11b and Bluetooth

Wireless technologies have changed the world, opening up endless possibilities for the connection between devices and improving the dynamics of technology, including the way people interact with, understand, and apply technology.

Wireless Technologies: Circuits, Systems, and Devices (Devices, Circuits, and Systems) 1st Edition by Krzysztof Iniewski
Book: Wireless Technologies: Circuits, Systems, and Devices (Devices, Circuits, and Systems) 1st Edition; by Krzysztof Iniewski ; amazon.com

Wireless technologies, for the most part, are based on the transmission of radio waves, which allows range and efficiency in the transmission of information. Some of these technologies use the same frequency range as others but have different approaches to applicability. Two wireless technologies that handle the same frequencies, but are designed for different purposes, are IEEE 802.11b and Bluetooth.

These wireless technologies, despite handling the same band and the same frequencies, the variations in their implementations mean that the equipment and dynamics used to allow different applications.

We will see below what each of these technologies consists of, in addition to comparing their characteristics and applications for the different sectors to which they are applied.

IEEE 802.11b, the standard of WIFI

This wireless networking standard was launched in 1999, almost contemporary with Bluetooth technology and being an update from other 802.11x-type networks, such as 802.11a. 802.11b met the standards of the IEEE, an organization that regulates the standards for the creation and implementation of electronic and electrical technologies. This second version of the 802.11 technology, achieved a great advance in the speed of data transmission, reaching 11Mbps.

The impact of this first WIFI network technology, which is the term by which this type of technology is known, was enormous. Many companies sought the adaptation of 802.11b to their equipment, as for example the giant Apple, implemented for the first time in a personal computer the 802.11b, in the famous iBook.

IEEE 802.11b, the standard of WIFI

This second version of the 802.11 network uses a similar CSMA / CA media access method, which was implemented in the original technology. Due to the overload of this media access method, this network did not consistently reach 11Mbps, but only approached 6Mbps.

Like Bluetooth technology, the 802.11b network runs on a 2.4Ghz band. When the 802.11b network is connected to access points or in ad hoc mode, you can surf in broadband. By achieving broadband through this technology, in addition to lowering costs, it managed to position itself as the definitive standard for LAN networks. From this moment on, many sectors of software and video games were already possible, despite the fact that some online games already existed years ago. The game that required low latency like the shooter, could be enjoyed smoothly, despite the fact that Maze War already existed since 1974.

Bluetooth, a portable, personal, and secure network

Like the 802.11b network, Bluetooth networks work in the 2.4 GHz band, being known as the 802.15 standards by the IEEE. It is a network that was designed for private and personal area connections, to create a network of devices configured as master-slave. It was one of the first wireless technologies, with the aim of connecting mobile devices with other devices without the need for cables.

Bluetooth technology works with a frequency hopping spread spectrum technique, which allows the transmission of information through packets in a discrete way. It is a network that does not suffer much interference, despite the fact that information can be transmitted through walls and obstacles.

Despite the good features that Bluetooth technology has, it does not work for many applications such as the 802.11b network. read more about 802.11b the below book.

Wi-Fi Handbook : Building 802.11b Wireless Networks 1st Edition by Frank Ohrtman
Wi-Fi Handbook : Building 802.11b Wireless Networks 1st Edition by Frank Ohrtman; amazon.com

Comparisons Between 802.11b Network and Bluetooth

These two technologies have many advantages, as well as disadvantages. We will make a contrast of these factors in order to compare the applications they have and the advantages or disadvantages according to the variable that we want to observe:

  • Security: 802.11b networks, being broadband networks and connected to general servers, are always prone to security flaws. Being connected to general servers, where millions of people browse, there may be a risk of viruses and malware that affect personal information. On the other hand, Bluetooth technology is a personal area, where you can know all the devices connected to the network, in addition to that you can protect your connection through ping or password, which implies that no device can connect to your device without entering the password to access.
  • Scope: This is a strength for 802.11b networks since its range can be up to 100m away. In contrast, Bluetooth networks are short-range, for personal spaces. Today, Bluetooth networks reach many more signal ranges, as well as 802.11x-type WIFI networks, but the Bluetooth distance is also exceeded by WIFI.
    Book: Wireless Networking: Introduction to Bluetooth and WiFi; by Gordon
    Wireless Networking: Introduction to Bluetooth and WiFi; by Gordon
  • Speed: The speeds of 802.11b are much higher, since they reach a range from 6 to 11 Mbps, on the other hand, Bluetooth networks reach a maximum of 3 Mbps, taking into account that this speed is of the latest technology of Bluetooth because if we compare the first version, we will only achieve 1 Mbps of data speed, so the advantage of 802.11b is much higher.
  • Power consumption: Bluetooth is a technology that, although it has been improved over time, has always been cheap in the sense of power consumption. In contrast, in 802.11-type networks in general, always the power consumption was higher.
  • Replace a wired network: Both technologies replace wired networks, but 802.11b networks can replace expensive and complex wired networks, such as giant office networks can be optimized, something that is not possible using Bluetooth.

With these comparisons, we can realize the advantages and disadvantages possess these technologies. By also taking into account the functions that each one has, it is easier to decide when to use each one, according to the needs you have. Not all devices need to be connected to a WIFI network so that they can work with other devices, since Bluetooth technology reduces energy consumption and satisfies the connection between devices configured as master, to slave devices such as a speaker or wireless headphones.

Channels and frequencies

Channels and frequencies


Knowing the differences between one technology and another helps us make better decisions when using them. Whether saving money or adapting connections for places such as offices or our own home, both WIFI and Bluetooth networks adapt to any connection need that exists.

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