Modern temperature sensors are a thing of wonder. They make it so easy for restaurant workers, managers and owners to stay on top of food temperatures to ensure safe food production, all from wherever they are. In fact, with automated alerts, no human action may be needed at all. But choosing which wireless sensors can be a confusing, confounding process. Should you opt for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity in your food safety devices?
Wi-Fi is what many of us use to go online.
Wi-Fi is a communication protocol that allows devices to connect to a central hub (like a router), and through that hub connect to each other and/or to the Internet. It works well if you’re monitoring few pieces of equipment and/or have to transmit data over a large distance (greater than 30 meters). However, Wi-Fi devices can be expensive and complicated to set up.
Bluetooth, by contrast, operates independently of Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth is a protocol for transmitting data between devices over short distances. When using Bluetooth, devices can talk directly to each other, which means that wireless sensor in the freezer, or the temperature probe in your hand, can communicate directly with the tablet being used to complete a checklist. Bluetooth is consumer- and mobile-friendly, so setup is usually straight-forward.
The key is to make sure the device uses a communication protocol that will work in your restaurant’s environment. For example, cheap Bluetooth devices may not have the transmittal power to get a signal through the thick, insulated walls of a walk-in freezer. Always ask about the frequency and power of any equipment you buy, to ensure it will fit in your restaurant.
|Frequency||2.4 GHz||2.4, 3.6, 5 GHz|
|Range||5-30 meters||Varies; traditional 2.4 GHz can typically reach up to 46 meters indoors|
|Ease of Use||Less complex||More complex|
|Considerations||Relatively inexpensive but not as powerful. Need to ensure the signal can get through.||With greater power and range comes greater technical complexity|
You might wonder about wired solutions. It’s true that – at one time – wired sensors offered greater reliability and lifespan, but steady improvements in the technology behind wireless sensors has offset those once-upon-a-time advantages. Further, wired sensors will force you to drill holes into your cold-holding units, adding cost and potentially voiding the warranty of your food storage equipment. In general, you’ll find greater convenience and cost-effectiveness with modern wireless equipment.