Before we get to enumerate the advantages of using WiFi on Smartphones, lets understand its specifications and how it is different from cellular networks.
WiFi technology allows various electronic devices like Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets, etc., to access Internet wirelessly. It is connected through an access point or hotspot, which is a physical device. It is used to transmit Internet from an Internet service provider and is connected using a cable. This network is usually referred as Wireless LAN network or WLAN, and is interconnected by radio waves. It offers the benefit of free mobility as users can stay connected even when moving around freely within the coverage area.
On the other hand, mobile or cellular network is a communication platform which is distributed over wide areas. Each of such area is called a cell, which is served by a fixed-location transceiver, providing the cells with coverage for transmission of voice and data. As number of cells together offer seamless coverage over a wide geographic area, it enables portable transceivers like Smartphones to communicate while moving from one location to another. The devices can access the network by using a chip we usually refers as SIM Card.
While cellular networks offers continuous connectivity over for a much larger area than Wi-Fi, Smartphones accessing Internet while moving are bound to use more than one terrestrial transmitter. This requires Smartphones to consume more energy while using cellular networks, and using it for long period can make them less efficient. On the contrary, Smartphones access WiFi using radio waves. This requires a router instead of a terrestrial transmitter. As routers are much closely located, the transmission is much faster than cellular networks. Even though users have to compromise large distance mobility, it is much more efficient.
Wi-Fi plans commonly provide high-bundled data, which can be in excess of 50 gigabytes for the duration of a month or more. This means, there is virtually no limit to the data consumption when you access Internet through WiFi. Cellular companies on the other hand offer limited data on your mobile plans and every extra byte over the cap is accounted and charged accordingly. While some providers provide some amount of data for free on a monthly basis, it is usually limited to less than 5-10 gigabyte and is basically not sufficient for surplus consumption. The ideal way to go about it is to save it and use it when you do not have access to any hotspots.
A dedicated Wi-Fi connection is usually faster than the fastest mobile network available due to obvious reasons. The variation wouldn’t be discernible while reading your emails or checking the status updates. However, when you have to stream heavy video-files or download a large image using a cell network, you are bound to feel the snag. Using a hotspot to stream media on your Smartphone is always faster and the better option.
Using surplus uncapped data over a mobile network is a recipe to invite a huge phone bill. It’s because every byte of data over the cap limit is charged specifically. On contrary, getting connected to hotspots at various places like airports, cafes and hotels let you access the Internet much more cost-effectively if not for free. Also, apps like WhatsApp let you make voice calls using data; and if it is available for free, you can make calls using your Smartphones free of cost apart from browsing and downloading music and video files at much quicker rate, while save on your precious dollars.
WiFi technology is, perhaps the primary reasons for our unprecedented dependence on Internet. Apart from catering to our mass consumption of Internet and the need for staying connected online seamlessly, it is also changing the way we access our Smartphone during the course of-the-day, be at work, home or wherever we go.