IT: device to device communication
IT: device to device communication

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IT: device to device communication

5.2 Comparing WiFi and Bluetooth

Activity 20: self-assessment

We have used Table 3 to help us make a comparison between WiFi IEEE 802.11g and Bluetooth. Try to complete the empty cells yourself from the information we have given about these two technologies. There may be some cells where the answer is not completely clear cut, but try to give as much information as you can to enable a comparison to be made between the two technologies.

Table 3 Comparison of WiFi IEEE 802.11g and Bluetooth

Characteristic WiFi Bluetooth
How transmittedwireless in ISM band
Equipment neededNIC and possibly access point
Maximum data rate
Approximate maximum throughput721 kbps
Methods for sharing the mediumprotocols for sharing
Optimum operating range
Standards family
Network structurepiconet or scatternet
Number of nodes supporteddepends on equipment manufacturer but limited by practical data rate

Answer

Answers

The completed Table 3 is shown below as Table 4.

Table 4 Comparison of WiFi IEEE 802.11g and Bluetooth

Characteristic WiFi Bluetooth
How transmittedwireless in ISM bandwireless in ISM band
Equipment neededNIC and possibly access pointBluetooth-enabled microchip
Maximum data rate54 Mbps1 Mbps
Approximate maximum throughput30 Mbps721 kbps
Methods for sharing the mediumprotocols for sharingcontrolled by master unit
Optimum operating rangeup to 30 mless than 10 m
Standards familyIEEE 802.11IEEE 802.15
Network structuread hoc or infrastructurepiconet or scatternet
Number of nodes supporteddepends on equipment manufacturer but limited by practical data rate8 per piconet but more when piconets connected into a scatternet

As you were working through Activity 20, you will have seen that some of the information needed to complete the table was not clear cut. For example, the WiFi discussion in the previous section quoted operating ranges of both 30 m and 100 m. It was stated that achievable data rate falls off at distances greater than 30 m, so it was clear that the optimum range is up to 30 m. But the Bluetooth discussion simply stated that range 'is limited to approximately 10 m' and there was no information given on whether data rates are improved at a closer range.

In exercises of this type you may sometimes find it quite difficult to compare like for like because the information may not always be available to you. On occasions you will need to make reasonable compromises, as we did in this answer when we identified 'less than 10 m' as the optimum range for Bluetooth. The point is, for the purposes of the comparison, this is sufficient because we can see from the completed table in the answer to Activity 20 (Table 4) that WiFi has a range that is at least three times that of Bluetooth given no physical obstructions.

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