Comparing ZigBee, Bluetooth, UWB and Wi-Fi



In this article we compare four distinct protocols, for different wireless communication solutions. ZigBee, Bluetooth and Ultra Wideband (UWB) represent some of IEEE standards for Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN). WPAN applications transmit information over short distance between a group of devices and are usually self contained with little or no need of connecting directly with devices outside the group. Wi-Fi is a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) standard. WLAN applications need to connect with external devices outside the group.
Our goal is to provide a better understanding of these emergent technologies, highlighting their characteristics and the critical issues of their protocol designs. All the four wireless technologies here presented have their physical layer (PHY) and medium access control layer (MAC) defined as an IEEE standard. This article is organized as follows: the first section introduces each one of these protocols. A comparison of these protocols is presented in the second section, mainly focusing on transmission range, operating frequency, data rate, modulation scheme, interference and coexistence mechanisms, network size, security, authentication and QoS. At last, the article is concluded with some final remarks.


Wireless LAN, Wireless PAN, Wireless Communications, Mobility, radio frequency (RF)


Wireless networks

Book Chapter

Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations, January 2008

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