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What's faster for smartphones, 4G or Wi-Fi?

What's faster for smartphones, 4G or Wi-Fi?

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6 comments

Pondlife  Mar. 1, 2013 at 14:06

Well it will technically depend what the wifi is connected to and what type of wifi, numbers of devices attached and what data they are using, distance to router, if it's affected by other routers, and 4g distance to cell tower etc but assuming maximum speed and n wifi then that for the foreseeable...

AhmadCentral  Mar. 1, 2013 at 14:20

There is no answer for this. Like pondlife said it depends on all the factors above.
However, there is a way of working it out for yourself though.

If you go to the app store/market and download the "Speed Test" app, then connect to wi-fi at home, then run a speed test. Depending on your connection at home you will get a certain speed. But obviously this wi-fi is the one your paying for.

Other wi-fi connections will range from low end packages which offer 2-24mbps to fibre optic packages which offer around 40mbps-100mbps. And you can go even higher now on some packages provided by BT and Virgin.

3G has a theoretical maximum of 42mbps. But real life speeds will show on average around 1mbps-15mbps with a max of around 25mbps.

4G has a theoretical maximum of 100Mbps but in real life you'll see around 15Mbps-35Mbps. Maximum is around 50mbps.

So obviously now what you do is a speed test on your phone for 3G, and then 4G (if you have it) and compare.

For example someone with just 1mbps wi-fi connection will find 3G and 4G much faster (depending on locaton) where as someone with a 100mbps broadband wi-fi connection will find 3G and 4G slower (but still fast enough)

Pondlife  Mar. 1, 2013 at 14:32

Fairly sure the 4g in uk has theoretical maximum of 50mbps currently
and in real life around here a maximum of 0 ;)
Also remember these are download speeds upload slower in all cases and I think where 4g is available that could be fastest for that.

Also worth noting that your 4g/3g speeds in your home will likely be lower than outside, possibly much lower depending on which frequencies the network you are on end up using.

AhmadCentral  Mar. 1, 2013 at 14:39

Fairly sure the 4g in uk has theoretical maximum of 50mbps currently
and in real life around here a maximum of 0 ;)
Also remember these are download speeds upload slower in all cases and I think where 4g is available that could be fastest for that.


Nope, maximum of 100mbps down and 50mbps up. But we should be seeing upgrades soon which allow 150mbps (i say soon...)

But yeh, tbh 4G isn't really out in the UK unless you count "Extortionate Everywhere"

Pondlife  Mar. 1, 2013 at 14:47

The upload is higher than you'd get on wifi isn't it?

But there is little point comparing wifi to EE anyway due to costs.

AhmadCentral  Mar. 1, 2013 at 15:02

Well you can get higher than 50mbps on fixed line. But you're right in a sense because operators like BT or Virgin purposely cap the upload speed to something like 20Mbps.

But yeh. In no way can you compare fixed line to Mobile networks. Yes mobile networks may work better for some people. But tbh 4G is ridiculously expensive and has a lower data cap than any fixed line provider at the moment. Even 3G (with unl data) isn't a viable option to replaced fixed line, only in certain circumstances would i recommend it)

To put this into perspective. I pay £13pm for talk talk for my line rental and unlimited broadband. EE want £56pm for line rental and 8GB broadband... (yes it's mobile but its also unreliable and loads of other stuff i'm not going to get into)

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