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Why Is Mobile Internet Faster than Wi-Fi? Answered

Why Is Mobile Internet Faster than Wi-Fi? Answered

Slow internet is an unpleasant source of headaches and frustration, especially on a deadline. Nowadays, most of our personal and professional responsibilities require an internet connection, and losing it comes at a cost.

You might assume that router-based WiFi internet is always better and faster than mobile data, but it isn’t always true.

Mobile internet can be faster than WiFi operating on an LTE network, 4G, and 5G. However, mobile devices connected to 3G networks are slower. Phone data and WiFi speeds ultimately rely on their unique systems, device location, and signal strength. 

Whether you’re looking to speed up your internet or want to understand why it encounters a specific problem, I’m here to help. Let’s get into the depths of the problem and learn everything about it!

Quick Fix

  • If you have a slow WiFi connection, consider upgrading your plan, purchasing a mesh WiFi extender, deleting your cache, or eliminating traffic on your server.
  • Suppose your mobile data isn’t keeping up. In that case, you can increase speeds by resetting your phone, restoring your original network settings, using a mobile data-draining app, or turning off inactive background apps. 

Why is My WiFi Slower than Mobile Internet?

wifi signal power

Your mobile internet speed will vary depending on the connected network. Below is an outline of speed differences:

  • The average speed of 3G connections is 0.375 MB/s
  • LTE networks such as 4G and 5G can reach speeds of around 200 MB/s
  • WiFi speeds range from 7 – 25 MB/s but vary depending on your data plan and the original router speed

How Mobile Data Works 

On 3G technology, your mobile device utilizes a built-in cellular antenna to transmit and receive data through cellular services.

As such, coverage, network congestion, and the speed and amount of mobile data available on your package are all factors to consider when using 3G.

Your local tower may receive much more traffic at various times of the day. It is typically due to scheduled transitions, such as the conclusion of the school day and holiday gatherings.

When networks see a spike in traffic, everyone who uses the same tower joins the same data queue, and data speed often slows across the board.

The intensity and range of a WiFi signal, like mobile data, varies depending on the environment. A wireless router, which broadcasts the WiFi signal, is generally found in private houses or businesses.

The signal will pass through walls; however, the distance will be reduced compared to cellular data.

The LTE systems in urban areas typically exceed the WiFi systems. However, by comparison, LTE systems usually have a 1Gbps to 100Gbps backhaul.

In contrast, WiFi could be anything below 10MB/s because whoever provides it puts it there as a convenience rather than to serve paying users.

Also, WiFi is heavily affected by queues and waiting times. LTE systems do a better job balancing loads and have much better infrastructure to support each sector.

Comparatively, WiFi usually has only one hotspot serving many people. If a WiFi hotspot is congested, your throughput will slow down.

On the other hand, if your local region has poor broadband infrastructure but strong 4G/5G coverage nearby, your phone internet may be faster.

IMPORTANT: We’re talking about public WiFi here. Usually, home WiFi is much faster than mobile data, 4G, or 5G. The speeds depend on your plan and can vary significantly from just a few MBs to 1Gbs.

If your home WiFi is particularly slow, here are a few things you can do:

  • Try turning off your router and leaving it off for 30 seconds before turning it on again
  • Have a look at how many devices are connected to the WiFi
  • Look for background programs that are using your bandwidth
  • If you haven’t already, add a password to your WiFi in case you have intrusive neighbors
  • Ensure that your network drivers are up to date
  • If you’re using a VPN, try disabling it

Are Mobile Hotspots Different from Mobile Data and WiFi?

A mobile hotspot transmits mobile data as a WiFi signal using cellular data. Laptops, tablets, televisions, and other internet-connected devices may connect. Because this divides bandwidth across numerous devices, many carriers either disable hotspots or charge a premium.

free wifi restaurant

Travelers may find hotspot devices handy, but they do pose some limitations. The more devices you have connected to your mobile hotspot simultaneously, the slower your internet will be, assuming they use identical bandwidth.

How to Speed Up Your Mobile Data

If you rely primarily on mobile data, the good news is you can easily speed up your connection in the following ways:

  • Restart your phone: If you’ve ever been asked, “have you tried turning it on and off again?” it isn’t for nothing. Restarting your device can solve more problems than you’d anticipate. 
  • Pause or offload data-heavy apps. Most streaming and social media apps take up the most bandwidth on a mobile data connection. Pause or offload them to increase browsing speeds.
  • Use an ad blocker. Ad blockers prevent irritating ads from popping up and disrupting your smooth network experience.
  • Clear your cache. While clearing your cache won’t directly impact browsing speeds, it can improve your device’s overall performance.
  • Use reader mode. Using your device’s text-based mode improves loading speeds, as it won’t load graphics-heavy elements.

What Are the Limitations of Mobile Internet and WiFi?

What most differentiates mobile data and WiFi is the cost. Cellular carriers typically provide a set amount of data or “unlimited” throttled connections at the same price as a dependable WiFi connection with more bandwidth.

Plus, you can access WiFi in most places, including eateries, retail stores, malls, airports, and more.

Though mobile data has the advantage of portability, WiFi is ultimately cheaper, more dependable, and faster.

Why Are My Home WiFi Speeds So Slow?

The primary culprits that slow down the internet, whether you’re on broadband, fiber, mobile data, or WiFi, are data-hungry programs.

These apps include Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, Twitter, and YouTube. You can easily check your phone settings to determine which apps use the most data and clear up space by offloading the ones you don’t use.

Other reasons your WiFi may not be as fast as it should include the following:

  • Poor router location: WiFi signals can be obstructed by physical objects like walls and doors. Always place your router in an open area above ground.
  • Too much traffic: The more people active on your network, the slower your connection becomes.
  • Using a VPN: Free VPNs offer terrible performance and can even slow your connection significantly.
  • Too many active apps: Even the fastest WiFi connections and mobile data plans will need help to keep up with dozens of apps. 


If you want to surf the internet at the best speeds, ensure you connect your phone to the correct network. You want to be on the LTE( 4G) network, not 3G. If slow public WiFi frustrates you, bite the bullet and purchase some LTE data for your mobile device.

Lastly, change your computer or mobile phone settings to prevent data-hungry applications from consuming too much bandwidth.