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Wireless Verses Cordless Verses Bluetooth

Last Updated: 3/31/2014

Wireless - a computer network where there is no physical connection (such as a copper or fiber optic cable) between sender and receiver, but instead they are connected by radio.

Cordless - a connection where there is no cord, such as a cordless telephone where there is no physical connection between the handset and base station. The technology used for a cordless connection can be based on a standard like Bluetooth or be proprietary to a specific product manufacturer.

Bluetooth - short-range communication standard that provides for communications between devices. This standard allows for devices from different manufactures to easily communicate with each other.

Ok, so now that we know what the dictionary tells us about them, let's make it a little more understandable.

Wireless usually refers to an 802.11 (e.g. 802.11a/b/g) network consisting of access points or access ports connecting multiple devices to a wired backbone network via radio communication. This is commonly referred to as a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN. Wireless can also refer to a Wide Area Wireless Network or WWAN which is a network that typically uses cellular technology from providers like AT&T and Verizon.

The devices on a WLAN or WWAN network will need a compatible radio card and will need a processor and an operating system that will allow them to have their own IP address for that network. You will probably need more than one access point or port to provide coverage through out your facility. Coverage with your cellular network will be up to that provider's coverage area and may incur roaming charges. You will need to discuss these options with your provider.

Cordless is the term typically used for devices that have a short-range radio in them that will allow them to communicate back to a base station or other device. Historically, a cordless connection was proprietary but most devices now are compatible with the Bluetooth standard for short range cordless communication.

There are a number of hand held scanners that have these cordless feature (they are called "cordless" and NOT "wireless")as they are non-networkable and only have a range of about 300ft (line of sight) to their base station. (Line of sight means that you can see the base station with no obstructions like walls or racks.) These base stations are connected to your computer via a keyboard wedge, RS-232, or USB interface.

Bluetooth is the term that describes a technology commonly referred to as a Personal Area Network or PAN. Bluetooth is similar to wireless but on a smaller scale. One of the distinction of a Bluetooth network as compared to a WLAN or WWAN network is that it is non-IP addressable.

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This page last updated on 10/6/2020 7:23:57 AM