Here’s a crash course on the difference between wifi and Bluetooth

We sometimes hear the terms wifi and Bluetooth being used interchangeably when talking about certain types of technology. Some people will use ‘Bluetooth’ when ‘wifi’ is appropriate, and some will say ‘wifi’ when a more accurate description would be ‘Bluetooth’. The truth is, they are not the same thing and there are some important differences you should be aware of.

But first, let’s understand what the two have in common. They are both forms of wireless communication. They both allow users more freedom when using devices and, particularly, computers.

How are wifi and Bluetooth different?

What you need to know: Bluetooth connects devices to one another.woman with Bluetooth headphone in ear

Bluetooth is a form of wireless technology. It is radio technology that is meant to connect devices that are close to one another. That is why it is popular for wireless computer accessories, like keyboards and mobile devices, to use Bluetooth technology to connect. You will rarely, if ever, use the accessories if you are not extremely close to the computer. Most common Bluetooth devices can be used within a radius of 30 feet of each other. Bluetooth uses a short-wave radio frequency, and is generally thought of as being secure.

Devices must have Bluetooth technology built in to them to connect via Bluetooth, or a Bluetooth dongle can be utilized. For more information on whether you need a Bluetooth Dongle, click here.

What you need to know: Wifi connects devices to the Internet.


Wifi is a form of wireless technology that is most often used to connect devices to the Internet or a local area network. This allows you to use the Internet without a bunch of different cables running to every single device. Common devices that will use wifi to connect to the Internet are your smartphone, laptop, tablet and videogame consoles. Although the wavelengths for wifi frequency work best if the devices have an uninterrupted path to one another, wifi can be effective in structures with walls and multiple floors (i.e., think of the wifi you may use in your home – it may be set up in your downstairs office, but you still are able to use your wireless devices in your upstairs bedroom).

Devices must have wireless technology built in to them to connect to the wireless transmitter, although some are able to hook to wifi via an adapter.

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In Conclusion

We hope this gives you a better understanding of the differences between Bluetooth and wifi. Want to learn more? Click here to learn more about the difference between Bluetooth and wireless device technology.