What is the Difference between WIFI and Mobile Data Plans

WIFI and Mobile Data Plans
How to find the difference between WIFI and Mobile Data plans?

Australia is now moving to 5G shortly as Telstra’s push into 5G announced at CES 2019 that it has developed agreements with “some of the world’s biggest vendors” to exclusively deliver 5G smartphones before “any other Australian mobile operator”. Telstra had more than 200 5G base stations enabled by the end of 2018, meaning that users at the forefront of the technology release will be able to utilise the next generation network as soon as devices become available in a few months.

Difference between WIFI and Mobile Data Plans

If you don’t understand the difference between WIFI and mobile data then here’s what you can know

A data plan and a Wi-Fi network basically let you do the same thing, that is to use the Internet wirelessly. Some devices are built for Wi-Fi use only, while others, such as 4G LTE smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, have Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE access. Depending on how much you use the Internet and where, a data-enabled device gives you the best of both with fast, secure access to the information you need on the go and some flexibility on overall data consumption.

1. Wi-Fi Connects to a Router

Wi-Fi connects to a router
Wi-Fi connects to a router

It is basically just another frequency of radio you can use to wirelessly connect devices to each other. To use it for Internet access, your tablet or smartphone connects (over Wi-Fi) to a wireless router like the one you have installed at home that allows you to get free Internet access.

The router itself typically plugs into the wall to connect to an Internet service provider. You can use your device’s Settings menu to access available Wi-Fi networks. Choose a network from those listed, enter the password and all is done. You can set up your device so that it automatically recognizes your home Wi-Fi network or other frequently used networks, like at work or school, or you can manually access Wi-Fi when it’s available.

When you use data through a Telstra or any other telcos Wireless plan, you don’t need a router or a Wi-Fi connection. You can access movies, games, email, the web and more on your mobile using Telstra’s network, as long as you’re in the coverage area.

2. Wi-Fi has a limited Range

Wi-Fi has a limited range
Wi-Fi has a limited range

It only works within the range of the router. With your Telstra’s or Vodafone Wireless plan, you can access the Internet on your mobile even when you’re out of the Wi-Fi range. So, when you’re on the road, in a Wi-Fi area be it a hospital or a hotel room or waiting for the train, your data plan powers that map app on your smartphone.

3. The Data Plan is Secure

The data plan is secure
The data plan is secure

If you’re using Wi-Fi at home, your connection’s security can be pretty good, depending on how locked down your own network which varies based on your router model and its settings. When using Wi-Fi to get Internet access on the road while travelling, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a secure connection. If you use your device as a mobile hotspot, all the other devices accessing the Internet through it are using your data plan.

If you are streaming lots of movies or games and music or engaging in other data-heavy activities, it makes sense to use Wi-Fi, if it’s available and trustworthy. But if you’re checking work email or balancing your chequebook on the road, consider turning off Wi-Fi and using your data plan to protect your privacy.

Knowing the difference between Wi-Fi data and cellular data helps you better manage your overall data usage. You can find the best data plans with many of top rated Australian telco brands.

Trying to Download a Large-sized App on your Mobile with Mobile Data

Download large app without WIFI
Trying to download a large-sized app on your mobile with mobile data

With now fast internet speeds and mobile data connections than traditional internet providers, telcos offer unlimited data plans, which means less worrying about hopping on a Wi-Fi network to download something. But if you are trying to install an app or update an app of a large size says over 150 MB, you can do so without switching on WIFI but using your mobile data plan.

Many apps especially casino or games apps have a big size and when you try to download them from the app store you get a warning before you proceed that it’s a large size. These apps want you to enable your WIFI to download.

So what you need to do is simply exit the app store and you will notice your app-to-be is now on the home screen, dimmed and labelled “Waiting.” Ignore this for now.

Disable Settings Automatically

Just open the Settings app, tap “General,” then “Date & Time.” Here, make sure “Set Automatically” is disabled. Choose a new date and time, sometime in the future. Some users have not been able to get this to work two to three days out, so make sure you pick something at least a week in the future to play it safe. Once done and set, you can head back to the home screen.

If all was done correctly, you should see your “Waiting” icon as “Loading” instead, with the progress bar in action. Head back to the App Store, and you should see the same thing there. Well, now you have your app downloaded to your mobile with data rather than a WIFI.

Now think about when to use your WIFI and when to use your Mobile Data. Any idea?

About the author

Kamal Kaur