In this era of BYOD and mobile technology, we all want to live in a world where we can access information quickly and easily. This leads to the age-old question when it comes to accessing data on the go: Should you use your smartphone’s cellular or WiFi network?
As you have most likely noticed from your mobile provider’s marketing campaigns, cellular data may seem like the quick and easy alternative to more traditional forms of internet access. You can download data wherever you are, regardless of the proximity of a WiFi network. This is convenient but may cost you if you have a limited data plan. It is also not ideal when downloading information requiring a high bandwidth connection.
WiFi networks, on the other hand, are often used as a cheaper alternative to cellular networks. They increase availability of internet access to those who cannot afford it and enable innovative technologies that require fast transmissions of data.
To make connecting to WiFi networks easier, many mobile providers offer a mobile data offloading option, which allows WiFi, or other network technologies to deliver data originally intended for cellular networks. The rules can be set by the mobile provider or the customer, and benefit both parties. Mobile providers may use mobile data offloading to ease congestion from cellular networks, while the customer may set up the feature to offset roaming charges or the rising costs of data plans.
Because cellular networks are inherently more secure than WiFi networks, it is imperative that your connection is set up securely, using WPA2 for over the air encryption. In the corporate workplace or education setting, WPA2-Enterprise is the industry standard.
Next time you are faced with a limited data plan or high roaming charges on your smartphone, make the switch to WiFi, as it is less costly and requires less maintenance than cellular networks.