Does that happen to you that you have to shift from your Wi-Fi network to your Cellular data for getting a better download speed? This seems more of an irony as your Wi-Fi is supposed to have a faster bandwidth speed as it is connected to your home Internet. Then, why does your Wi-Fi get slow sometimes?
The primary issue is with the airwaves carrying information to your router, just for simplification think of them as the lanes on a highway.There are two lanes in home Wi-Fi routers today; one operates at a frequency of 2.4 GHz and the other one at 5 GHz. Data comes from the outside world into your router and through the router it reaches your device.
A couple of things can slow the lanes down, even when you are relatively close to your router.
- The first one is the Interference outside your house. Though this is controlled strictly by the regulators, who test the wireless devices and impose restrictions to ensure that every wireless device stay in the right lane – be it Wi-Fi routers or Satellites.
- The second one is the Congestion. This is more difficult to resolve, because billions of people are there constantly switching on new wireless devices which means more traffic on the information highways.
Consider a typical house where Internet was initially used by PCs then Laptops came in, then smartphones, tablets and now even intelligent thermostats and Internet of things devices. All of these data use the lanes to get their share of information.
Last year, 66% of the surfing Internet was done via Wi-Fi, only considering mobile devices. By the end of 2020 it will reach 70 percent.
And as these devices take more and more space on the highway; the congestion is only going to increase. No wonder that things get sluggish at times.
Apart from these, the bottleneck between your computer and your Wi-Fi router has to do more with the sluggishness. Bottleneck between your computer and the outside world depends more on your ISP.
Just like your normal highway, the best solution to deal with congestion is widening of the highway or switching paths altogether and the latter is exactly what you do when you shift from Wi-Fi to cellular data.
Your cellphone carrier operates at a different frequency than Wi-Fi and chances are that there is more unused bandwidth available. Consequently, increases your speed.
Cellphone carriers buy more airwaves to the mix to widen their toll road. Moreover, they build more cell towers to give faster speeds. On the other hand, Wi-Fi runs on unlicensed air-waves and anyone can send and receive data over it.
And the conclusion is that the Home internet is not always supposed to be faster than the Cellular data, particularly where development of fixed broadband is expensive or uncompetitive.
The rise of 4G LTE service has only made cellular data more reliable and faster than ever in comparison to its early days. And many carriers don’t want to lose this that is why they are working on providing 5G soon.