Cellular Data vs Wi-Fi: Money Saving Tips

Tuesday, September 25, 2018/Categories: Residential, Internet

 

It’s happened again: The dreaded warning that you’ve reached your month’s data limit on your mobile phone.

For the rest of the billing period, every GB of data is going to cost an extra $10, $15, or more, depending on your mobile plan.

Those GBs can add up if you are watching videos, streaming music, or even just browsing Facebook using your cellular data.

Of course, your mobile provider is rubbing their hands with greedy glee as you resign yourself to overage charges.

But there is a better way.

It starts by understanding the various types of data, and the difference between cellular data vs. Wi-Fi.

When Do You Use Data?

Data is, quite simply, bits of electronic information sent from one device or server to another. You transmit data any time your smartphone is connected to the Internet, which is basically all the time.

Even if you aren’t actively scrolling through your Facebook feed or watching YouTube videos, your phone is still using data. That’s because there are two different types of data.

Don’t Let Background Data Get You Down

“Background data” is used by apps that run even when you aren’t actively using them, your phone’s operating system, and things like streaming music services.

You can minimize background data by changing your phone settings so that apps can’t update without your permission, but there is no way to eliminate it altogether.

Understand When You’re Using Foreground Data

Foreground data is a bit easier to control. This is the data you use when you’re actively surfing the web, using Google Maps, scrolling Facebook, posting Instagram pics, playing games on your phone, or watching videos.

Cellular Data vs. Wi-Fi: What’s the Difference?

You can either use your mobile provider’s cellular data or you can use a Wi-Fi connection to transmit and receive data. When you use Wi-Fi, you connect your mobile phone to the Internet via an external router.

Because your mobile carrier makes money off your data use, your mobile carrier doesn’t want you to use your home Internet provider’s Wi-Fi service instead of cellular data.  They also don’t want you to realize that you can find and use Wi-Fi connections at your local coffee house, at the library, at hotels, and even on the road.

Using Wi-Fi not only saves you money on data usage. It can provide a stronger signal for faster, more consistent data transmission. You should try to use Wi-Fi vs. cellular data whenever it’s available—especially in your home.

Many Internet service providers offer Wi-Fi free with the purchase of your broadband Internet service, and you can purchase a plan with much higher data limits—or even unlimited Wi-Fi use.

3 Occasions It’s Smart to Use Wi-Fi

You should connect to Wi-Fi whenever you are using bandwidth-hungry apps. It’s also wise to keep your smartphone connected to your home Internet via Wi-Fi whenever you are home. This way, all that background data won’t use up your phone’s data plan and end up costing you money.

Here are a few times you should use Wi-Fi vs. cellular data:

1. Streaming Music or Video

Streaming music or watching videos uses a lot of data. By using Wi-Fi, you’ll not only get a more solid connection with less buffering, but you can save your data for times you don’t have access to Wi-Fi.

2. Doing Web Research for Work or School

Have an important project that you want to finish fast? Wi-Fi tends to load websites quicker than cellular data and is also more reliable. If you are working in the cloud, such as using Google Docs, you’ll want the speed and reliability of Wi-Fi.

3. Video Communications

Skype. FaceTime. Videoconferencing. Facebook Live. Many people don’t know they can connect to their home’s Wi-Fi to use these bandwidth-hungry applications. You’ll be able to enjoy better video quality, less buffering, and best of all, no added cost.

Embrace Wi-Fi and Kick Costly Cellular Data to the Curb

Of course, there are times when you’re away from home that you’ll need to rely on your smartphone’s cellular data.

But if you can cut your data usage in half by using Wi-Fi instead, you may be able to switch to a less costly mobile plan.

It may be true: the best things in life are free. Especially if it comes to Wi-Fi that’s available as part of your home’s broadband Internet service.  

Check out Consolidated Communications’ home Internet service plans and pricing now.

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