Difference Between NFC and Bluetooth

In the world of growing digital presence, the technology of exchanging data has evolved too. When talking about data exchange, The two most common technology that comes to our mind is NFC and Bluetooth. Both, Came into existence during the 80s, for wireless data exchange but served two different purposes.

NFC vs Bluetooth

The main difference between NFC and Bluetooth is that of their range in data exchange. NFC has a low range in comparison with Bluetooth, NFC can transfer data up to a distance of four and a half centimetres or less, whereas in Bluetooth, devices can exchange data up to ten meters.

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Near Feild Communication or simply abbreviated as NFC, is a quick wireless data exchange technology with a very short range of up to four and a half centimetres or less. Commonly used in contactless payments and ID systems. Works on radio frequency identification technology, where electromagnetic fields identify the information.

Bluetooth is a quick wireless data exchange technology. It has a blue colour symbol. Commonly used for data exchange in smartphones and other electronic devices. It works on ultra-high-frequency radio waves. Though It came into existence in 1989, the first Bluetooth compatible device was made in 1999.

Comparison Table Between NFC and Bluetooth

Parameters Of ComparisonNFCBluetooth
Meaning Near Field Communication/NFC is a very short range data exchanger.Bluetooth is a short-range data exchange technology.
ApplicationGenerally applied and used in payment and ID systems.Generally applied and used in smartphones and other electronic devices.
Invented byPatented first on the name “Charles Walton”.Launched by Nils Rydbeck. Officially Started by Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
The Technology behindRuns on Radio Frequency Identification technology.Runs on Ultra High-Frequency Radio Waves.
SafteyMore secure than Bluetooth as runs in a very short range.Though require a pin to access, still Less secured than NFC and prone to hackers.

What is NFC?

NFC or Near field communication is a very short-range data exchange technology. NFC the forum gave it an N shaped logo. Dates back to its first patent on the name “Charles Walton” in 1983. NFC was behind the 2015’s google’s android payment system launch. People having ios devices should know their devices support NFC systems too, it was from 2014 when apple launched NFC supporting system on iPhone 6 and then in other versions.

Generally used in storing and transferring payment data, IDs, PINs, etc. We know the working of debit/credit cards, where data is transferred by making two devices nearby, Two NFC friendly devices can communicate similarly. Are you a fan of online video games? you should know NFC is used in this too. video game Skylanders used NFC for the first time in the field of gaming.

Talking about power consumption, NFC is said to be pretty low here. Although it’s fast and secure than Bluetooth, NFC is not all free from vulnerabilities, it is criticised due to its vulnerability to data modifications, As Based on RFID, in which data can be taken away by antennas, thus prone to imposters and data hackers.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a short-range data exchange technology. It has a blue coloured logo. Dates back to 1989, when Nils Rydbeck initiated this technology. It’s now managed by “Bluetooth Special Interest Group”. The first Bluetooth device for consumers was launched in 1999. It works on Ultra High-Frequency radio waves. Before these data exchange applications like Share-It and Xender came, Bluetooth was used by mostly everyone on their mobile phones for sharing applications, songs, photos etc.

Though the range covered by Bluetooth is wide from that of NFC, but in case of power consumption. It costs more than it. Unlike NFC, Bluetooth devices require a pin or authentication before connecting. Still, security is not yet fully guaranteed. Apart from a feature in mobile phones, Bluetooth is now seen in many electronic devices like Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth watches etc.

The technology was named Bluetooth after the name of a king “Harald Bluetooth” from the novel “The Long Ships”. Earlier when personal computers did not have an inbuilt Bluetooth feature, Bluetooth adapters were used to connect the PC and exchange the data. Formally launched on 20 May 1998, with five founder companies as its member, Today its Thirty thousand companies.

Main Differences Between NFC and Bluetooth

  1. Both NFC and Bluetooth are short-range data exchange technology, but NFC only covers up to four and a half centimetres whereas Bluetooth covers up to ten meters of range.
  2. Both were built to replace wire technology, which required a lot of power consumption. Comparing the two, Power consumption in NFC devices is lower than that of Bluetooth devices.
  3. Both technologies are prone to data stealing and hacking but NFC provides better safety of data than in Bluetooth. As it covers a very short range.
  4. Talking about the technology they are based upon, NFC works upon Radio Frequency Identification whereas Bluetooth runs on Ultra High-Frequency radio waves.
  5. NFC got patented and launched in 1983 whereas Bluetooth was initiated in 1989 but officially got launched in 1998.

Conclusion

Today data exchange seems so easy and single click chore, but, back in the 20th century, it was not so easy. It was done through heavy wires which required a lot of power consumption. Both NFC and Bluetooth were invented to check out these problems, Both came as wireless data exchange technology.

Living in a world where, Time is the most precious thing a person can have, having quick data exchange technology is a blessing. With this wireless technology, sharing data has become a single click chore. Generally, there has been a lot of confusion between NFC and Bluetooth, One big difference between NFC and Bluetooth which should be remembered is that of their range. So be it your smart cards used for payments or those Wireless speakers and headsets, NFC and Bluetooth have acquired a major consumer devices market today.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4053361/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7225422/
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