When would we use one versus the other?
We do not have a comparison chart for 433 MHz vs Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. I would say there are three main differences between the two:
1. Read Range
BLE beacons have a maximum read range of about 70 meters (230 feet). A 433 MHz tag can be read at up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). So if you need to track objects over a large area, 433 MHz is likely the way to go.
Most BLE beacons on the market transmit a serial number and do not contain user memory. With some 433 MHz tags, you can write data to the tag. So, for example, if you stored 40 pallets in a shipping container, you would write the passive tag IDs on the pallets to the active 433 MHz tag on the shipping container.
BLE beacons are often used in stores and for consumer applications. Most 433 MHz tags are used in harsh industrial or shipping environments so the tags are packaged in hard plastic cases that protect them from damage. If you are looking to track shipping containers that might bang together, 433 MHz might be the better option.
There is some difference in the locationing capabilities of the two technologies. Active 433 MHz systems triangulate on the tag and tell you it's location to within about 3 meters (9.8 feet). Bluetooth beacons generally communicate with a receiver and tell you the beacon is in a general location. However, there are ways to get more precise coordinates of a beacon, if that is required.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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