WiFi Vs. Cell Phone Connection

by Andrew Mikael

Many smartphones and similar devices have two methods of connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi or a cellphone connection. While both methods often allow unrestricted access to the Internet, they offer varying connection speeds and availabilities, depending on your network subscriptions and location.

Connection Strength

A cellphone's built in data connection often varies widely in quality. Some areas have better coverage than others, and many regions provide basic phone coverage but lack strong data connection. In comparison, connecting the phone to a Wi-Fi hotspot usually provides a stronger connection, as long as the phone remains well within the Wi-Fi bubble. Both connections may experience variances in quality due to physical object interference or network overload.

Data Limits

Many cellphone service providers place a monthly cap on the amount of data available via a smartphone's over-the-air connection. While portable devices use comparatively small data amounts during normal Web-surfing, activities such as playing online games, streaming videos or listening to Internet radio can quickly expend several gigabytes of allotted data. In contrast, Internet service providers rarely limit the data allowed through a Wi-Fi connection, making local Wi-Fi hotspots a good alternative for a mobile device using large amounts of data.


Any Internet subscription, whether over-the-air via a cellphone connection or broadcast via a wireless router, requires payment to an Internet service provider, usually on a monthly basis. Note that subscriptions with data caps often have overage charges if the device downloads more data than allowed. Many public spaces offer free Wi-Fi access that can also provide a mobile device with an Internet connection.


The majority of phones with data connections also have access to local Wi-Fi connections. This includes phones running Android, iOS, BlackBerry software, Windows Phone 7 as well as other platforms. Most "feature phones" lack Wi-Fi connectivity, although some have rudimentary or limited access to cell providers' data connections.

About the Author

Andrew Mikael began writing in 2010. His articles appear on various websites, where he specializes in media and related technology. Mikael has a Bachelor of Arts in film from Montana State University.

Photo Credits

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