Showing posts with label WiFi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WiFi. Show all posts

May 11, 2018

Smartphone Cell vs. WiFi Data

Many people do not know the difference between WiFi data and cell data (LTE, 4G). WiFi allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a router. You need to be to be in the range of a router and connect to the network in order to access the Internet. Cellular data allows your phone or tablet to connect to the Internet via a cell phone signal. You need to be in the range of a cell phone tower to access the Internet. When you use your phone to access the Internet without WiFi, you are using up the monthly allotment of data your cell phone plan allows. Another important distinction to know, especially for the security conscious, cell data is encrypted so it is safer than public Wi-Fi.

Think of two types of data, background data is data that is used behind the scenes by apps and the operating system (iOS, Android, etc.). This can also include data from actions you are aware of such as downloading email messages. Apps on your phone use background data even when you are not using the app. You can individually turn off background data for apps, such as Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat when you are not using them. If you do not have an unlimited plan it is very advantageous to turn off background data. It will turn back on automatically when you use the app and off again when you close it.

Foreground data is data that you deliberately use, such as streaming videos, derping the internet, downloading a new app, etc. This is where WiFi comes in handy if you do not have an unlimited data plan. Also, WiFi is often faster, under the right conditions.

However, WiFi drains the battery quicker. It works by sending and receiving a microwave radio signal through the air to a Wireless Access Point. Radio waves are essentially electricity from your battery that has been converted into a specific frequency, and pushed out of your device through an antenna. Ideally, you might set your WiFi to be off all the time, then turn it on when you are home using your WiFi, or when you are out and want to download large amounts of data, such as a movie or Facebook video.

If you spend more time connected to WiFi networks than cellular, leave your WiFi turned on. If not, it is advantageous to keep it turned off and save your battery. If you travel internationally, use WiFi to avoid expensive charges for international roaming.

Bottom line, if you have an unlimited data plan, the difference between WiFi and cell data is battery usage. If you do not have unlimited data, then the difference can be costly from overage charges, if you exceed your limit. Both are automatically available on smartphones.

Other may have caught on to this battery saver idea as OpenSignal analyzed a 90-day period beginning on Dec. 1, 2017 and found the time spent on WiFi dropped for three of the four major U.S. carriers compared to the first quarter of 2017, due to the growth in unlimited data plans.


Incidentally, on an Android phone, if you go into settings, tap “Data usage”, and then tap the Facebook app icon, you can then select “Restrict app background data.” You can also go into the settings in the actual Facebook app (found under “More” after you open Facebook), uncheck “autoplay videos” and set it to “WiFi only”. Now Facebook does not add to cell data unless you are using it. In addition, there is another data saving setting on the phone to update all apps only when connected to WiFi.

Apr 21, 2017

WiFi vs. Plugged In Speeds

Each Wi-Fi standard is rated according to its maximum theoretical network bandwidth. The newest, 802.11ac offers up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps). However, the performance of Wi-Fi networks practically never approach these theoretical maximums, usually performing at about half of peak speed. If you compare 300 Mbps WiFi to wired Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps, the Ethernet connection most often outperforms in real world usage.
Wi-Fi networks have a range that is limited by the transmission power, antenna type, the location, physical obstacles, such as walls, number of other devices sharing the signal, and the environment. A typical indoor wireless router might have a solid range of about 32 meters (105 ft). Distance from the source also degrades performance. The fastest theoretical WiFi 802.11 ac is maximum speed of 866.7 Mb/s.

Plugged in (Ethernet) offers advantages, such as faster speeds, lower latency, and no wireless interference problems.  A wired Ethernet connection can theoretically offer up to 10 Gb/s.

Bottom line, when it comes to speed necessary for streaming movies and TV WiFi may be more convenient, but is much slower and may cause delays and hesitations. Also, when looking at your speed, consider 10Mbs as the absolute minimum for streaming - and more is better.


Incidentally, no matter how fast your WiFi is within your house, it does not increase the speed of the connection between your house and the Internet.

Feb 6, 2015

WiFi Dilemma

Get the WiFi passwords at various places by checking the comments section of their FourSquare accounts. You are welcome.

Jun 20, 2014

Beware Hot Spots

Comcast is doing something different, adding your router output as free WiFi to others passing by. It is also an opt-out solution, which means it is enabled by default and you need to turn it off. It also does not pay you for this use by others.

Comcast is quietly turning on public hotspots in its customers’ routers and turning private homes into public hotspots. Other Comcast customers get free Wi-Fi wherever there is a Comcast box and the company gets to build out a private network to compete with telecoms, but using your resources.

Fifty thousand users with basic modems that Comcast cable provides have already been turned into public hotspots in Houston, and there are plans to enable 150,000 more.

It is using your private residence as a corporate resource and using your electricity, your Internet connection, and potentially opening up your private browsing to hackers. Comcast says these two streams are independent, but that has never stopped hackers. There is also nothing to stop someone from downloading illicit material, software, and other junk from your hotspot, implicating you if caught. Remember, if there is a line out, that means there is also a line in. Caveat Emptor Comcast users.

Sep 26, 2012

Cheap Tablets

Fry's now sells a 7 inch tablet for $56. It has a bunch of models under a hundred dollars. Prices are dropping faster than anyone could imagine. At that price they become an impulse buy. It has mail, front camera, internet, and uses Wifi. Toys R Us is even selling a tablet specifically for children.

The name Wifi is not an acronym, it is just a trademark term with no meaning. Some erroneously think it means wireless fidelity, because it sounds like the old HiFi term.