Can You Have Wireless Speakers Without Internet?


Woman dancing with a wireless speaker in her hand

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most common forms of wireless data transmissions available to people. Still, many people are easily confused about their application. Wireless speakers can have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options. Both are used to transfer data wirelessly. But the common misconception of wireless speakers not working because of no internet arises from the use of voice assistants that require the internet to function properly.

Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers can indeed work without an internet connection. They are devices that are connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-enabled devices to share data. There is no need for an internet connection whatsoever and it is purely optional.

What you need to understand is that devices can connect via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and transfer data among themselves, without having to connect to the internet.

Wireless speakers work without internet

Almost all wireless speakers use Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone/computer. So when I am talking about wireless devices, I am referring to Bluetooth devices, because there are not many speakers that use Wi-Fi for connecting to phones and computers.

Many individuals come to the quick conclusion that without the internet, Bluetooth speakers will not work. Any Bluetooth device can work without the internet. Bluetooth/Wi-Fi is only responsible for connecting one device to another. For instance, you can connect a headset to your phone or Playstation via Bluetooth. 

Now, if you play games or music on any of the devices, the signals will travel from the phone/PS to your headset via Bluetooth. There is no need for an internet connection.

Why do people think wireless speakers cannot work without the internet?

I believe there is only one possible explanation that describes why people think wireless speakers cannot work without the internet. Voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home need an internet connection to execute voice commands. They are connected to your router; they cannot function unless there is a live internet connection.

However, you can connect with Amazon Echo or the Google Home device via your phone’s Bluetooth and play music even when you are not connected to the internet. It’s ‘Alexa’ or ‘Google Assistant’ that needs the internet to carry out your voice commands. If there is no internet available, you can use the Echo and Google Home-like any random Bluetooth device, and judging from personal experience, their sound quality is not that great.

Why do people confuse Bluetooth with Wi-Fi?

Since both devices are used for wireless connection, common folk usually mix the two together. Difference between Bluetooth and WiFi:

Wi-FiBluetooth
All devices need to have a wireless adapter and you also need a wireless router where the devices will connect.All devices need to have a Bluetooth adapter for connecting to one another.
Consumes high power.Consumes low power.
Comes with higher security protocols.Less secure.
Supports more users. Supports fewer users. 
Max range is 150 ft.The Max range is 30 ft.
Requires high bandwidth. Requires low bandwidth. 

Bluetooth devices simply do not possess the bandwidth capabilities for an internet connection. That’s why when it comes to the internet, you only hear the name Wi-Fi. The Bluetooth technology is used in close rage low-key devices such as keyboards, mouses, headphones, and other small devices. Why?

Because Bluetooth consumes way less energy it is best for portable devices that run on battery. If you were to use Wi-Fi instead, then the entire battery would run dry in only a few minutes. The only place where Wi-Fi can be used is to transfer files from one smartphone to another. The speed of the transfer exceeds Bluetooth transfer speed by a huge margin.

I will start by explaining the difference between the two in order to do away with the confusion once and for all.

How does Wi-Fi work?

Also called Wireless Fidelity, Wi-Fi can connect multiple devices in a single unified network and give them all access to the internet. You must have seen Wi-Fi hotspots in stadiums, hotels, and most of all offices. Previously Wi-Fi was only found in commercial areas, but over time, it was gradually adopted in residential areas as well. Nowadays you cannot walk two steps without stumbling onto a Wi-Fi connection. 

The device that is responsible for sharing the Wi-Fi connection throughout the house is the router. The internet cable goes into the router and once you connect to the router via Wi-Fi, your device will be connected to the internet. Multiple devices can connect to a single Wi-Fi network.

How does Bluetooth work?

Bluetooth like Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transfer data from one device to another but on a much smaller scale. When two devices connect via Bluetooth, they are sharing data among them on a low bandwidth channel. Since they are sharing data with one another, there is no need for the internet.

So when it comes to data transfer across two standalone devices, such as wireless speakers, they will work fine without any internet.

Transform your Amazon Echo into a Bluetooth Speaker

1. To transform your device into a Bluetooth speaker, firstly connect it to your phone.

2. Switch on your Amazon Echo and pair it with your phone. 

3. Once paired you can play music directly from your phone on the echo.

4. You can choose music files from your phone’s collection, music that is already downloaded onto your device, without having to use the internet.

5. If you have a better speaker system, you go into your Amazon Echo app, search for that speaker system, and pair with it instead.

6. Now if you use Alexa, or play music, it will not stream from your Amazon Echo. On the contrary, the music will play from the better speaker system that you paired with earlier.

So not only can you use Amazon Echo as an online Bluetooth speaker, but you can also use it as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, even when there is an internet connection available.

Common applications of Bluetooth

Here are a few ways Bluetooth compatible devices transfer data among themselves without the need for any internet connection:

1. Listening to music– You can connect to any Bluetooth speaker within range, pair with it, and play music.

2. Playing games- Both PC and gaming consoles use wireless controllers, mice, and keyboards that connect via Bluetooth and can be used to play games.

3. Entertainment- Although Smart TVs need a Wi-Fi connection to stream content, you can connect multiple devices to it, such as speakers via Bluetooth.

4. Work- Instead of a wired keyboard and mouse, you can use Bluetooth adapters to connect wireless variants of those devices on your PC.

5. Cars- Although new cars come with a Bluetooth-compatible head unit, you can use a Bluetooth transmitter on old car music systems. It connects via your radio and is way cheaper than replacing the entire head unit.

Common applications of Wi-Fi

Common Wi-Fi applications include the following uses:

1. Internet- Wi-Fi is most commonly used for browsing the internet. Thanks to its high bandwidth capabilities, it can reach speeds of up to 900+ Mbps.

2. Business and home applications- Wi-Fi may be used at work or at your home to create a network of devices that interact via the internet. For example, you may have multiple Google Home boxes spread throughout your house, all of which are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

List of devices that mostly uses Bluetooth

To use Bluetooth you will need two compatible devices. Devices that mostly use Bluetooth are as follows:

– Tablets, smartphones 

– Computers

– Wireless speakers

– Smart TVs

– Wireless mouse and keyboards

– Car sound systems

– Printers

– Digital cameras

– Video game controllers

Parting thoughts 

Wireless technology, be it Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is primarily used for creating networks for data transfers. Wi-Fi lets you do it on a much larger scale, whereas on Bluetooth you can only connect to one device at a time. The internet facility was later added to Wi-Fi to make our life easier.

So, the next time you see a wireless speaker, remember that they do not need the internet to function properly. The internet is just another facility that can take advantage of the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi network.

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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