Bluetooth and NFC are two technologies used to transmit data wirelessly. This is not something new, since they have been with us for a long time. Of course, over the years they have been improving and today they are more stable and faster than the first versions. They are widely used especially in mobile phones. We are going to see what their differences are and we will also see the positive and negative points in each case.
Differences between Bluetooth and NFC
We are going to divide it into different sections to be able to see more clearly what are the differences between NFC and Bluetooth. They are not used for the same thing and each of these technologies has its peculiarities in terms of distance, speed or the frequency in which it works.
The first difference is the use we give to each technology. They do not serve the same purpose, as we will see. We can say that NFC is used for synchronization between devices , while Bluetooth is used for communication . They have different capacities and cannot be used for the same thing.
NFC is used to receive information or issue payments , for example. It is responsible for pairing devices and simply identifies them, sends a little information and we can use the mobile to pay in a store, for example. It can even be used on labels, to display information. Although we could send or receive files, it is not really used for this.
On the other hand, Bluetooth is used to transfer files . We can transfer texts, audios or videos from one device to another. It is also used to connect devices to each other, such as headphones to a mobile, a mouse to a computer, etc. It offers many possibilities in this regard.
The transmission speed is another key to differentiate between Bluetooth and NFC. They are far from the same. The NFC barely reaches 424 kbit/s , so we could hardly send or receive files. It would take a long time. That is why its function basically consists of sending small information to identify devices or make payments.
Bluetooth does have a higher transfer speed. In this case we can exceed 20 MB/s . Logically, it is not a technology with as much speed as Wi-Fi, but it does serve to send files without major problems. In fact, although it is not so common anymore, a few years ago it was widely used to send audio and video between mobile devices. Even to transfer things from the mobile to the computer and have a backup.
There is also an important difference in terms of the frequency you use. And this is an essential factor for Bluetooth in particular, since it uses a frequency similar to other devices and technologies and there could be interference and cuts. Bluetooth uses the 2.4 GHz band .
Instead, NFC technology is based on the 13.56 GHz band . This will be decisive for the distance at which it will work, as we will see in the next point. It is a limitation that it has, but which in turn will serve precisely to be able to use it safely.
There are huge differences here too. Although Bluetooth is not a technology that has a great range as Wi-Fi does, the truth is that the most recent versions can even reach several tens of meters . Of course, in most cases we will begin to have problems beyond 10 meters.
But NFC technology is very limited in this regard. It will work at a distance of 10-20 centimeters . Therefore, we are practically going to have to put the devices together. But of course, let’s think of a payment that we make by NFC, either with a physical card or with the mobile; if it could reach 10 or 15 meters, it would be crazy to activate the cards as soon as we pass near a POS to pay.
Advantages and disadvantages of Bluetooth
If we start with the most positive points of Bluetooth, we must mention its ability to send and receive files . The speed is much higher and we are not going to have many problems transferring files that are not excessively heavy between two mobiles, for example.
Also, distance is a key point. Without problems we will be able to connect headphones 3-5 meters from a computer or mobile. We can even exceed 10 meters as long as the conditions are not bad and we are using a recent version, which allows greater flexibility.
But it also has negative points and one of them is the time it takes to connect . It is true that in recent years it has improved a lot, but it is not something immediate. It may take at least 6 seconds for it to connect. We are not going to hit it and it will react directly, as the NFC does, for example, when paying.
The frequency you use is another negative factor. As we mentioned before, it uses the 2.4 GHz band just like some appliances or Wi-Fi networks do. We can have more problems and conflicts if we have many devices nearby. That can affect the quality.
Positive and negative points of the NFC
The NFC also has its positive points and one of them is the immediacy to work . The reaction time is very small compared to Bluetooth. We can take our mobile or bank card and pass them through the POS to make the payment and it is super fast. The time that the transaction takes is less than 1 second.
Another clear advantage is the use of energy . It practically does not consume when we use it, unlike other technologies. This will allow you to make payments with your mobile, for example, without worrying that the battery will be consumed quickly.
However, it has the negative point of distance . Much less reaches as much as Bluetooth. Now, is that bad or good? If we think about safety, it’s perfect. There are no risks that our card or mobile phone makes a payment to pass a meter from a POS. To execute that payment we will have to put it less than 20 centimeters (even less than 10, actually).
But without a doubt the most important negative factor is the speed to transfer files . This technology is not designed for that and it is totally unfeasible to try to pass any document or file through NFC.
In short, these are the main differences between Bluetooth and NFC. As we can see, each technology has its negative and positive points, in addition to being used for something specific in each case. Today both coexist perfectly on our mobile and we use them frequently.