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From GSM to LTE: An Introduction to Mobile Networks and Mobile Broadband by Martin Sauter

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7.7 Comparison between Bluetooth and Wireless LAN

Referring to the last sections, which discussed the different Bluetooth profiles, it has become apparent that WLAN and Bluetooth are not competing but rather complementing technologies.

The big strength of WLAN is communication in a LAN, as it replaces an Ethernet cable with a wireless connection. The main focus of the evolution of WLAN is to increase achievable transmission speeds. WLAN integrates perfectly into the network area, as from the point of view of a network application there is no difference between a wired and a wireless Ethernet. Despite power-saving mechanisms, the power consumption of a WLAN chip must not be underestimated, as it leads to a reduction in the operating times of small battery-driven devices. Nevertheless, even smartphones are equipped with WLAN functionality today, as many homes, companies and public buildings such as hotels or cafés offer Internet access via a WLAN access point.

Bluetooth can also be used for networking purposes between notebooks, PCs and smartphones. Owing to the achievable speeds of 723 kbit/s, that is, 0.7 Mbit/s, or about 2 Mbit/s with EDR, Bluetooth only plays a minor role in this area because of its limited bandwidth in comparison to WLAN. As has been shown in this chapter, the big advantages of Bluetooth lie elsewhere. These range from fast and simple transmission of files, business cards, calendar and address book entries, over cable replacement for Internet connections via ...

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