NFC versus Bluetooth

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By Tanya Wozniaki

Most smartphones users have connected to another smartphone or device, such as a wireless headset, using Bluetooth before, or have at least heard of the concept. Bluetooth can connect to devices up to 32 feet away, yet near field communication can connect to devices at a maximum distance of 4 centimeters on average. Why is NFC so exciting if it is so limited in range?

Unlike Bluetooth, NFC can interact with another device with a single wave of your smartphone. It’s fast and requires little effort on your part. In contrast, Bluetooth connections take time and require many steps to activate. With such a close range between devices required, the potential for signal interference or hackers trying to steal your data is reduced.

Finally, Bluetooth consumes a chunk of your smartphone’s power while NFC typically consumes much less. In cases where your phone is powering another device this isn’t the case, but in other situations you can connect quickly and with minimal power requirements using near field communication.

Best of all, if you really need to establish a constant connection and you don’t want to spend an hour standing nose-to-nose with your coworker, near field communication can connect your smartphones before turning the signal over to another technology, such as Bluetooth, giving you the best of both worlds in terms of speed and distance.

What Is NFC and Why Should I Care?