The Internet has become an inseparable part of our lives. So much so that we can’t think of moving an inch without it. The Internet is a boon that can be used on both smartphones and computers alike. To use the internet on smartphones there are two means – (i) cellular or mobile data and (ii) Wi-Fi. And, even though we often switch between these two modes, it is important to understand the difference between mobile data and Wi-Fi, so that you can use these resources smartly.
Pondering upon the difference between Wi-Fi and mobile data is way more than just looking at the icons. As prudent users, knowing which source of internet to use when can prove to be very beneficial. And, keeping that in mind, we’ll not just have a look at the differences between Wi-Fi and mobile data or why one is better than the other, but we’ll even measure the various pros and cons as well.
What Is The Difference Between Wi-Fi and Mobile Data
Why Should You Use Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that helps connect computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices to the internet. A radio signal is sent by the means of a wireless router to nearby devices. These signals are then translated into data and
Wi-Fi Doesn’t Get Exhausted Very Fast
As opposed to a cellular plan, most Wi-Fi plans get exhausted fast. So, if you are planning to watch videos or movies, Wi-Fi can be a great option.
Even if your mobile data has been exhausted while you are traveling, you can use public Wi-Fi at a cafe, restaurant, mall, airport, or any other place that has a Wi-Fi network.
Wi-Fi Is A Faster Option
Wi-Fi is a more feasible and faster option when considering data-intensive activities like Streaming Netflix, Skype, downloading music and movies, etc.
Gaming and Office Activities
A good Wi-Fi can be the right option for professionals who work from home and need an unrestrained source of internet and the same goes for avid gamers who love to play high-ping games for hours at a stretch.
Why Should You Use Mobile Data?
Mobile or cellular data allows you to access the internet when you are not using Wi-Fi. Your cellular data uses the same network that lets you make phone calls. Cellular data doesn’t require a router as opposed to Wi-Fi.
Can Help you At Places Where There Is No Wi-Fi
Let’s consider a scenario where you are traveling and you are in urgent need to book a cab from one destination to another. The nearest cafe that has Wi-Fi is quite far off. In such a scenario, your mobile data can prove to be a life savior.
For General Social Media Use
If you are someone who uses a smartphone to access social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), your hourly consumption would come down to around 90 MB. Popular Music streaming platforms consume approximately 43 MB every hour. For such uses, your smartphone won’t consume much data and hence, using mobile data can be a good option there.
When There Is A Power Cut
In the event of a power cut, when you can’t use a router, your mobile data can prove to be your lifesaver especially if you have an urgent presentation to prepare. You can plug in your smartphone to your laptop, use a mobile hotspot (mobile data) and prepare the presentation.
If You Are On A Budget
Mobile data can be a great option for a moderate user who has to adhere to a budget. In most countries. Wi-Fi plans prove to be costlier than cellular data plans and a Wi-Fi might not be a feasible option for someone who uses the internet moderately.
The Security Aspect
This again is situational. Knowing the fact that malicious threat actors can use advanced measures to break into your device and cause destruction to your data or spread malware, you should take necessary measures to secure your device whether you are using a smartphone or computer.
When talking of a Wi-Fi network, you might be on a home or closed network which means access to it would require a password. However, if you are using public Wi-Fi at an airport, mall, cafe’, restaurant, hotel, etc, you would mostly be using an open network where either a password is not required or the password is shared with several customers. In the latter case, when using public Wi-Fi, you should first install a VPN and then access the net.
Mobile data on the other hand adds an extra layer of security since your mobile data connection is encrypted.
How Can You Track Mobile Data Usage?
You can keep tabs on how much mobile data or Wi-Fi you have consumed in a day by using apps like Check Data Usage. Here are some of its features –
- Check how much data you have consumed on your Wi-Fi or Mobile Data
- Run a speed test and check the speed of your data
- Check data used by various apps on your smartphone
- Set Data Plan by specifying the Plan Validity (in days), Data Limit, and Starting Date
- Get a summary of old expired plans
How To Use Check Data Usage
1. Install Check Data Usage on your Android device
2. Permit usage access to the app by tapping on Give Permission option
3. Here you can tap on each section – Mobile (Mobile Data) or Wi-Fi and then check how much data is consumed app-wise
4. You can even set your daily internet usage limit by specifying the Plan Validity (in days), Data Limit, and Starting Date. For demonstration purposes, I have set the data limit to 1 GB per day. Once sure, tap on Yes
5. To check the speed of your internet (Wi-Fi or Mobile Data), select Wi-Fi or mobile data and tap on Run Speed Test
So, Is It Better To Use Wi-Fi or Mobile Data?
Now that you know the basic difference between Wi-Fi and mobile data and when you can use either, it boils down to your usage. So, the answer to “is it better to use Wi-Fi or mobile data?” is not black and white. We recommend that when playing high-ping games or when working on a project for long hours, a more stable medium like Wi-Fi will be useful. But, if you don’t have access to WI-Fi/ don’t want to invest in a router and have a moderate level of data consumption, mobile data might just suffice. What do you think, do let us know in the comment section below.