NFC vs Bluetooth: Difference and Comparison

In the world of growing digital presence, the technology of exchanging data has evolved too. When discussing data exchange, The two most common technologies that come to our mind are NFC and Bluetooth.

Both, Came into existence during the 80s for wireless data exchange but served two different purposes.

Key Takeaways

  1. NFC offers a shorter range of communication, up to 4 cm, compared to Bluetooth’s range of up to 100 meters.
  2. Bluetooth has a higher data transfer rate than NFC.
  3. NFC enables quicker device pairing than Bluetooth, requiring manual discovery and pairing.

NFC vs Bluetooth

NFC is used for short-range communication and can transmit data between two devices just by bringing them close together. Bluetooth has a longer range and can connect many devices at the same time, it is used for music streaming and connecting devices such as headphones and speakers.

NFC vs Bluetooth

Near Feild Communication or 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

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.

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It dates back to its first patent on the name “Charles Walton” in 1983. NFC was behind the 2015’s google 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 more secure than Bluetooth, NFC is not all free from vulnerabilities, and it is criticised due to its vulnerability to data modifications, Based on RFID, in which antennas can take away data, thus making it prone to imposters and data hackers.

nfc

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 “The 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, in case of power consumption, it costs more than it. Unlike NFC, Bluetooth devices require a pin or authentication before connecting.

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Still, security is not yet fully guaranteed. Besides a feature in mobile phones, Bluetooth is now seen in many electronic devices like Bluetooth speakers, headsets, 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 data.

Formally launched on 20 May 1998, with five founder companies as its member, Today its Thirty thousand companies.

bluetooth 1

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. Regarding the technology they are based upon, NFC works on Radio Frequency Identification, whereas Bluetooth runs on Ultra High-Frequency radio waves.
  5. NFC was patented and launched in 1983, whereas Bluetooth was initiated in 1989 but officially launched in 1998.
Difference Between NFC and Bluetooth
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4053361/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7225422/

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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6 thoughts on “NFC vs Bluetooth: Difference and Comparison”

  1. NFC and Bluetooth are both great technologies, but neither are completely secure. However, this article focuses more on the safety of the technologies and their history rather than discussing their benefits versus their risks.

    Reply
  2. I would have liked to see the article go deeper into how NFC and Bluetooth work, as well as examples of their daily use. I also think that the information presented could be more concise.

    Reply
  3. Relatively informative article, but the author’s opinions do not come through clearly. This results in a lack of conviction and passion in the writing.

    Reply
  4. A thorough read. I would have preferred a conclusion comparing the two technologies. The article remains very informative, surely technology has played a big role in changing these two platforms over time.

    Reply
  5. Great piece, it is really helpful to someone like me who is not so knowledgeable about this. It would be really good to know more about the vulnerabilities of NFC and Bluetooth.

    Reply

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