The Advantages of Using Wi-Fi on Your Smartphone

By Scott Shpak

Free Wi-Fi is increasingly available in places such as restaurants and airports.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Like many, you rely on your smartphone for communication, information, entertainment and scheduling. You've probably also wondered if you are using your device to its fullest capacity. Recent smartphones incorporate the ability to use Wi-Fi hot spot connections, and some users may overlook the advantage of connecting to Wi-Fi links over their native data plans.

Data Usage

Your monthly mobile plan may have limits on the amount of data you can transfer to and from your smartphone. Going over these data plan limits will cost you charges over your regular fees. Using Wi-Fi hotspots lets you connect to the Internet without using your wireless network, outside of your data plan. Depending on your needs and the availability of hotspots in your area, you may even choose a mobile plan without data for additional savings.

Travel Convenience

Travelers will find Wi-Fi in hotels, restaurants and airports. This access, combined with features available in smartphones, may eliminate the need for carrying along other devices, such as laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers. Browsing, email and data transfers can be accomplished with a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection. Mobile apps let you work on your office files while on business trips. Faced with increasing baggage restrictions, your smartphone represents savings in weight and space.

Increased Speed

Wi-Fi bandwidth is generally faster than cellular service, giving you better results with most Web-based content, such as browsing, video and music streaming or games. In some cases the speed limit of your connection is limited by your device, rather than the hot spot. If your cellular service is 3G level or lower, Wi-Fi speed will remarkably improve your browsing performance. You are freed from data plan restrictions, so the added bandwidth lets you transfer large files quickly.

Extended Battery Life

Battery life depends on many variable factors, so evaluating how battery life compares between Wi-Fi and cellular service is difficult. Since you are closer to a Wi-Fi transmitter than a cellular tower, your chance for a strong signal is better, reducing the load on your smartphone. Even where battery life is the same, the efficiency of your device is greater with a Wi-Fi signal, as Web pages and data transfers will finish faster.