Pros and Cons to using WiFi and Cellular Internet

Mar 20, 2020Blog

If you see the WiFi icon on your device, then you know that your device is connected to wireless internet. But if you do not see the icon and you see bars with “3G,” “4G,” or even “5G” instead, then you are using cellular internet (also called cellular data).

We are all familiar with WiFi at this point. But just in case, here is a brief recap on what WiFi is, where you might use WiFi and why:

Where you use WiFi and why:

WiFi is a technology that allows you to wirelessly connect to the internet. It’s likely that you can use WiFi pretty much anywhere that you are. Specifically, you will either use WiFi in your home or in public.

Note: WiFi security is a must. It’s super important to make sure that whatever network you are on is secure. Even if you are only connected to your home network, make sure it’s secure. Also, public WiFi is risky, so make sure you are protecting yourself before connecting to a public network.

Why would you use WiFi? Mainly because it is convenient. WiFi allows you to connect multiple devices to one network at the same time. You should use WiFi when:

  • The WiFi network is secure
  • You want faster internet connection
  • Your phone has a strong WiFi signal
  • You are traveling out of your home country (international travel)
  • You are streaming a video
  • You have a limited cellular data plan

If and when WiFi is not available, however, you can turn to cellular internet (also known as cellular data) with your smartphone or tablet instead.

Where and when would I use cellular internet?

While WiFi lets you connect to the internet via your router, cellular data lets you connect to the internet via your cell phone signal. So, if you are not at home near your router to use your home network and if you are not connecting to public WiFi, it’s likely that you would use your cellular internet. (Specifically, if you are on a smartphone or tablet device.)

You should use cellular data when:

  • You can only connect to a public WiFi network or a network that is not secure
  • The WiFi network is slow
  • You have a weak WiFi signal
  • You are in your home country
  • You have an unlimited cellular data plan

Why would I use cellular internet?

Like we said earlier, you might use cellular internet if WiFi is not available to you. That could be for a number of reasons. Some devices only allow you to use WiFi and others allow you to use both WiFi and cellular data (3G, 4G and in some cases 5G). If you have a device that is enabled for cellular data, you get the best of both worlds.

Now, let’s break down the pros and cons of WiFi vs cellular internet so you can decide which is best for you and when.

Pros and Cons of WiFi

The pros:

  • Wireless internet connection for a variety of devices
  • Faster internet connection
  • Can help save money because limited cellular data can get expensive
  • Can help save money when traveling internationally
  • Can be faster than cellular data


The cons:

  • Requires a router
  • Need to connect to a network to access the internet
  • Limited range
  • Privacy risks

Pros and Cons of Cellular Internet

The pros:

  • Wireless internet connection
  • Does not require a router or WiFi to connect to the internet
  • Range is limitless
  • Better privacy protection

The cons:

  • Wireless internet connection only for mobile devices
  • Using international data plans can get expensive
  • Unless you have an unlimited data plan, you have to keep track of how much data you use
  • Need a cellphone plan that includes cellular data to use
  • Must be in range of a cell phone tower to access the internet

Similarities between the Wireless Internet (WiFi) and Cellular Internet

WiFi and cellular internet are similar because they are both let you wirelessly connect to the internet. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily.

Both have pros and cons. But when one is not the best option for your internet activities, the other saves the day. Such as using public WiFi when checking sensitive information. Using cellular internet instead comes in handy.

At the end of the day, WiFi allows you to connect to the internet more freely, since it is wireless, accessible by many devices and cheaper than cellular data. It’s good to know about your other internet connection options, especially when you are not connecting to your home network. Awareness and safety are always key. And now you should better know the difference between WiFi and cellular internet.

To learn more WiFi tips and industry news check out Actiontec’s Industry Articles and the Actiontec blog.

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