Everything you need to know about Wi-Fi and 4G
While both of these technologies are a large part of the daily lives of most of us, the terminology and exact nature of them can be a bit confusing.
- What is the difference between Wi-Fi and 4G?
Both of these technologies provide the end user with access to the internet and in practice have very similar set up processes on your device. This can mean that many of us do not really understand the difference.
Wi-Fi is a connection standard used in wireless networks. Its job is to connect multiple devices together and allow them to communicate with each other. It is typically used for short distances and interiors with it being the most common technology used for connectivity in homes and offices. While this network will allow you to connect to the internet it also connects devices locally. For example, if you have ever used a wireless printer then that has used a local area network to connect the two devices, and this is powered by Wi-Fi.
4G is the most common technology used for connectivity in handheld devices such as mobile phones. It is available anywhere within range of a mobile mast, which means so long as you have a mobile signal then you should have access to mobile internet. You can think of it as a network on a much larger scale. Rather than using routers and boosters to get a good Wi-Fi signal throughout a house, mobile networks use towers to get a good connection across the entire country.
- Why is my 4G faster than my Wi-Fi?
The speed of your internet connection can vary wildly. This can be due to many factors including how busy the network is, with peak times having slower speeds for everyone. However, the single most important factor is the quality of your connection. With a 4G connection the speed you receive is dependent on the quality of the signal between your mobile phone and the nearest mobile mast. As most people live near to a mobile mast, or in a reasonable signal area, most people can get great speeds via a 4G connection.
On the other hand, Wi-Fi requires physical infrastructure. While the connection from the device being used to the router is wireless, the router will be connected to a phone line. Previously, this would be the same copper cable network that powered your land line telephone. Nowadays this is increasingly being replaced with fibre optic cable running to the home. This is a slow rollout though and many rural areas lack the fibre infrastructure to allow them to take advantage of fibre broadband. These people are reliant on the older copper wire infrastructure. These can provide high speed internet, but it is dependent on the distance from your house to your local cabinet. If you are at the end of the phone line the copper wires will struggle to provide you with even a slow connection, or even be unreliable.
Provided you are in an urban area with good fibre infrastructure then you are likely to receive a higher average speed from broadband and Wi-Fi. However, if you live in an area without fibre then 4G is likely to outperform your older copper network.
- So how do I use 4G as Wi-Fi?
Making the swap from a landline and traditional broadband package to 4G broadband couldn’t be simpler. Whereas broadband requires physical infrastructure in the form of cables to be installed to your home and carries long contracts that lock you in, 4G is available without contracts and with no installation. This allows you to use it anywhere, then take it with you if you move. The cost is also lower. Not only do you avoid the long-term contracts, but the monthly cost is often lower than that of broadband, and that is before you factor in line rental!
Provided you live in an area with good mobile reception then all you need is a 4G router. Our Kuma Connect Lite would be perfect for this. Simply insert your choice of sim card from any mobile network, turn it on and connect your devices. There is no installation, or phone line required.
If you live in an area with spotty, or weaker mobile signal then you can pair a 4G router with an external antenna. These are able to boost the signal you receive by increasing the surface area catching the mobile signal. Antennas can be used either indoors or mounted outside on a wall or the roof for even better signal. Our Kuma Connect is available with three antenna options suitable for indoor, outdoor and vehicle use!
You can find out more here!