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What is the difference between Wifi (802.11 "wireless") and Bluetooth?

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That's like asking for the difference between a dolphin and a porpose. Bluetooth is wireless (though wireless isn't necessarily Bluetooth). –  Jon Hopkins Jul 28 '09 at 11:56
    
Might help if you specified a particular use for wireless technology to give some context. –  Jon Hopkins Jul 28 '09 at 11:56
    
Because Our Super[user](s) making me to confuse .. –  joe Jul 28 '09 at 11:57
    
You're talking about WiFi and Bluetooth, right? –  KovBal Jul 28 '09 at 12:00
    
yes .. Thats correct –  joe Jul 28 '09 at 12:09

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Wikipedia has good articles on both 802.11 WiFi technologies and Bluetooth technologies.

Wikipedias quick summary of the differences:

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have many applications in today's offices, homes, and on the move: setting up networks, printing, or transferring presentations and files from PDAs to computers. Both are versions of unlicensed wireless technology. Wi-Fi is intended for resident equipment and its applications. The category of applications is outlined as WLAN, the wireless local area networks. Wi-Fi is intended as a replacement for cabling for general local area network access in work areas. Bluetooth is intended for non resident equipment and its applications. The category of applications is outlined as the wireless personal area network (WPAN). Bluetooth is a replacement for cabling in a variety of personally carried applications in any ambience.

So basicly, 802.11 is an addition to the networking and connecting of computers & smartphones supporting high-bandwidth, and covers large areas.

Bluetooth is a ad-hoc wireless technology which works at low distances, making it perfect for file tansfersing and remote-control hardware.

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Wireless is a general term talking about any type of communication that involves communication without wires. Bluetooth is a specific wireless technology.

Bluetooth is used for low bandwidth, short range wireless (usually only a few feet) communication typically between devices such as phones, computers, GPSs, etc.

Examples of other wireless technologies include:

  • 802.11 (Wifi) - Used for traditional IP data, such as internet traffic, over short distances
  • WiMax - Broadband like IP data.
  • GSM - Used in cell phones
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Here is a simple write up on eHow
http://www.ehow.com/facts_4761491_difference-between-bluetooth-wifi-technology.html

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not the best explanation i've seen on the matter, but it covers the extreme basics –  pavsaund Jul 28 '09 at 12:05
    
right...I didn't think they were looking for the gory details of the specs, I felt they were looking for a few simple use-cases explaining the technologies. –  NighTerrorX Jul 28 '09 at 12:10

When most people talk about "wireless" they are probably talking about a particular wireless protocol called IEEE802.11 which is used for wireless networks. Bluetooth however is an alternative wireless protocol and is typically used for short range 1-1 communication and was originally designed as a wireless replacement for RS232 serial cables.

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