When you see the Wi-Fi icon on your device, it indicates that your device is connected to wireless internet. On the other hand, if you see bars with “3G”, “4G” or “LTE”, then you are using SIM card data, also known as cellular internet or cellular data. Both Wi-Fi and cellular data typically do the same thing. They let you access the internet anytime and anywhere, wirelessly. The primary difference between the both is cost. Mobile data is generally costlier than a Wi-Fi connection.
Some devices are built for using only Wi-Fi, while others are Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G LTE enabled. Depending on how much data you use and where, a device Wi-Fi plus cellular data enabled device gives you the best of both worlds.
Usage of Wi-Fi – Why? Where? And When?
Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity. Wi-Fi technology lets you connect wirelessly to the internet via a router. You can use Wi-Fi anywhere, typically in your home or in public places. It gives very fast internet connectivity. The only time when a Wi-Fi connection suffers is when there are too many devices using the same router at once.
It is very important to make sure that whatever Wi-Fi network you are using is highly secure. Even when you are connected to your home network, it should be secure. Public Wi-Fi is risky, so before connecting to a public network make sure you don’t access any important data as it can be stolen or hacked.
You use Wi-Fi mainly because it is convenient. It allows you to connect multiple devices to a single network at the same time. Wi-Fi is used when:
- The Wi-Fi connection is safe and secure
- Faster internet connection is needed.
- You are traveling out of your home country, so that you can save yourself from hefty data roaming charges.
- You have a cellular data plan which offers limited data.
If there is no availability of Wi-Fi you can turn to cellular internet with your smartphone/tablet.
Usage of SIM data – Why? Where? And When?
SIM data lets you connect to the internet wirelessly via your cell phone signal. It uses your device’s in-built antenna to send and receive data through cellular service. So when you are away from home or outside the coverage area of a public Wi-Fi network, it is likely that you will use your SIM data.
Your cellular data coverage may vary a lot. Mobile data is carried by the cellular signal from your local tower so, several things can affect the signal quality like tall trees, tall buildings, and many other factors.
During certain times of the day, your local tower may receive more or less traffic. This happens because of scheduled shifts like the end of the office or school hours, public gatherings due to some major festival, etc. Generally, the network traffic is much less at night.
You should use SIM card data when:
- Your public Wi-Fi network is not secure
- Your Wi-Fi network is slow or weak
- You are in your home country and using your home network
- You have an unlimited SIM card data package
Now, let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of SIM card data vs Wi-Fi so that you can decide which one is best for you and when.
Benefits of Wi-Fi Connection
When we consider the benefits, a Wi-Fi connection has a lot to offer. Let’s check some of them.
- You can connect more than one device to the internet at the same time.
- Its internet connection is faster than SIM card data internet.
- Easy on your pocket as it is cheaper than a limited cellular data plan.
- It can help you save the exorbitant costs of data roaming when you are traveling abroad. A local public Wi-Fi connection is free.
Drawbacks of Wi-Fi Connection
There are also certain drawbacks for a Wi-Fi connection compared to the traditional SIM card data connection.
- It requires a router which could be portable or not. So, mobility could be an issue sometimes.
- It has a very limited range. You need to be inside the coverage area of the Wi-Fi network all the time to access the internet. Hence, it hampers your mobility.
- A public Wi-Fi is very prone to risks. It is mostly unsecured and thus it is risky to access or share important and confidential data over this network.
Benefits of SIM Card Data
Now, let’s see the benefits a SIM card provides while using it for accessing mobile data.
- It doesn’t require a router to connect to the internet. Thus, it provides a vast range of mobility to its users.
- It is more secure than public Wi-Fi. Hence, there is no risk of confidential data leakage.
- Its range is limitless. It covers almost the entire country. You can access the internet wherever there are cellular networks available.
Drawbacks of SIM Card Data
These are the drawbacks of using SIM card data over a Wi-Fi connection to access the internet.
- It provides wireless data connection only to mobile devices like smartphones and SIM enabled tablets.
- Using international data packages can be very costly.
- You need to keep track of your data usage unless you have an unlimited data bundle.
- You must be under the coverage area of the cell phone tower to access the internet.
Similarities between SIM Card Data and Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi and SIM card data are both similar, as they both let you access the internet wirelessly. So, which one is more preferable? They both have their positive and negative aspects.
When one is not a suitable option for your internet activities, the other can save the day. For example, when you check sensitive information using SIM data is more secure than public Wi-Fi.
When comparing SIM data and Wi-Fi, one of the most important things to mention is value. SIM data plans offer a set amount of data. Sometimes they offer unlimited data plans, but for the same price or even cheaper you can get a Wi-Fi connection. Moreover, many restaurants, shopping malls, etc. offer Wi-Fi for free. Usually, a Wi-Fi connection is cheaper, more reliable, and faster to access the internet. The only major benefit of mobile data is that it is portable to access almost anywhere as it has a limitless range of coverage.
After assessing the benefits and drawbacks of both the type of connections, you can choose which type of data access is the most suitable for your needs.