Does Bluetooth work without Wifi? Everything You Need to Know About Both

Does bluetooth work without Wifi cover image

Bluetooth and Wifi are both methods of wireless connectivity. Both can connect two devices for sharing data, but there are some slight differences between the two. Bluetooth and Wifi, although similar, are independent technologies. This means neither Bluetooth nor Wifi needs one or the other two work. Both are capable of working independently. So does Bluetooth work without Wifi? Yes, absolutely.

Bluetooth was invented way before Wifi, in around 1989, while Wifi (the modern standardized one) came in 1997. Both the technologies work on the radio signals and both connect devices. A confusion that often arises; does Bluetooth work by using Wifi? The answer to that is no. Bluetooth has its frequency to work and it does not need Wifi in any form. Let us elaborate and see what purpose Bluetooth and Wifi have.

How Bluetooth works and it uses

Bluetooth uses specific radio frequencies to transmit data to other, nearby devices. This includes sending pictures, songs (remember the early 2000s and 2010s?), videos, etc. This was when phones were getting smarter but not that smart and when the only use of Bluetooth was to send a song or a picture. It uses low-powered radio signals to operate. This ensures low power consumption.

Today Bluetooth is majorly used for connecting wireless earphones, speakers, mouse, or keyboards. The internet is fast enough and the phones are smart enough to transfer photos and videos and stream songs. Bluetooth is used to connect devices with each other. The advantage of Bluetooth to connect devices with each other is that they can stay connected for longer periods of time with minimal battery usage.

What’s the difference between Bluetooth and Wifi?

The difference between Bluetooth and Wifi is the range and strength. Bluetooth is a great way of transmitting data or connecting devices that are in close range. The effective range for Bluetooth connection was about 30 feet or 9 meters. The speed of data transfer was also abysmally low. But now things have changed. 

Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest version of Bluetooth that comes with high-end smartphones and wireless devices. Bluetooth 5.0 offers a range of 800 feet or 240 meters and the data transfer speed is great (around 2 Mbps, which sounds slow but for Bluetooth, it is more than enough).

Infographic showing the range difference between Bluetooth and Wifi
Difference of range between Wifi and Bluetooth

Wifi is another chapter of the same book. Wifi is used to connect multiple devices to one network and allows better speeds. Wifi is mostly used for data connections. Here’s the shocker: The latest standard for Wifi, IEEE 802.11ac has a range of around 230 feet or around 70 meters. This is way lower than Bluetooth. The difference comes in the data transfer speed. Where Bluetooth can transfer only around 2Mbps, Wifi can transfer almost 1.33Gbps of data. That’s around 5,320 times more data than Bluetooth. 

Infographic showing the difference in data capacity of Wifi and bluetooth
Blue is wifi’s data capacity. The red arrow shows the data capacity of Bluetooth. You can’t even see the dot!

What means what

Bluetooth is used for connecting your phone to other devices like wireless speakers or earphones. This does not use any packet data or the internet. This means that your mobile network or internet connection is NOT used while using Bluetooth. Bluetooth also uses very low power so it is not a battery-eater. Bluetooth, and not Wifi, is also used to connect your phone to your car for playing music, etc.

Wifi is mostly used for connecting to the internet when there is a router nearby. This is the primary use of Wifi, but it is not limited to using the internet. Wifi can send files very fast, make your phone as an internet router (hotspot), sharing screens, streaming audio and video, etc. 

Do keep in mind that if you notice that your Wifi is turned on and connected to an unknown network, disconnect from it immediately. Your phone can be accessed to some degree via malicious Wifi connections. 

Although Bluetooth and Wifi are both very safe, any unknown connections should be avoided. Some older Nokia phones were so vulnerable that if a phone was paired (connected via Bluetooth) with other phone’s Bluetooth, the other phone could look at Nokia’s contacts, photos, and videos, without the owner knowing. But these days Bluetooth has gotten very safe. 

This was all about the difference between Wifi and Bluetooth and does Bluetooth work without Wifi. Bluetooth does work without Wifi and Wifi works without Bluetooth. They both work on similar technology and are used for connectivity, but different purposes. You can read more articles related to this topic to further enhance your knowledge about network and connectivity:

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