LTE Faster Than Wi-Fi: Why Is That?

This is why your LTE might be faster than your Wi-Fi.

Reasons range from poor local infrastructure to interferences from other devices.

So if you want to know why your LTE is faster than your Wi-Fi, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

Table of Contents

LTE Is Faster Than Wi-Fi

Searching, zooming, streaming, sending emails—so many operations can be done either with Wi-Fi or mobile Internet. 

Woman using phone with wifi connection at a cafe.

But which one is faster, and when to favor Wi-Fi over LTE?

Wi-Fi is the most common way to connect to the Internet wirelessly. But cellular Internet is confirming its breakthrough, especially since operators are increasing the volume of data more and more. 

Favoring one or the other depends on your particular circumstances.

The Difference: LTE or Wi-Fi?

Here’s the difference between LTE and Wi-Fi:

What Is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) is often the fastest way to connect to the Internet. 

At home, the Wi-Fi connection is possible thanks to a router installed by your access provider. 

This device sends Wi-Fi signals through the air via radio waves. These signals are then picked up by your smartphone, tablet, or computer to allow you to connect to the Internet.

Wi-Fi signals have a limited range and can be blocked or scrambled, especially by thick walls or competing Wi-Fi signals. 

This explains why you are deprived of the Internet in some rooms of the house unless you buy an auxiliary device that strengthens the signal.

In public places such as hotels, restaurants, and so forth, the availability of free “hotspots” is on the increase. But beware, even if public Wi-Fi is a practical solution, it is also easy to hack. 

Therefore, it is best to avoid it, especially in sensitive transactions (e.g., online payments). In this case, it is better to use mobile Internet because the connection is better protected.

What Is LTE?

LTE (Long-Term Evolution), often used by mobile Internet, makes use of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network to allow you to connect to the Internet with your various devices. 

Each mobile operator has transmitter towers that send radio signals through the air to your devices and between them to ensure the best possible continuity of the signal.

For a long time, mobile Internet was slower than Wi-Fi, but the difference has become minimal since the advent of 4G. In some countries, a stable mobile data connection is available almost everywhere.

At the same time, in some regions, the coverage may not be as good—it depends on the operator. In a train, for example, the signal is much less stable.

The improvements brought by LTE technology include much better flow rates and best network response time, which translates into greater ease of use. Here are some examples:

  • Fluidity of mobile applications
  • Best possible video quality (HD video consumes 30MB for every minute of viewing and requires high transfer speed)
  • Quick view of web pages
  • Sharing of very large files (videos, etc.)
  • Smooth, uninterrupted video chat

The biggest drawback of mobile Internet compared to Wi-Fi is the usage limit included in your subscription. 

There are plans, for example, of up to 15 GB of data a month, but that’s usually not enough if you want to listen to music online, stream movies, and watch YouTube videos every day.

How to Check Which One Is Faster?

Today’s use of a computer, smartphone, or tablet is largely related to accessing Internet content, downloading content, and various forms of communication with the outside world using a router or some other access device. 

Internet speed is key to the comfortable use of modern devices.

If you want to check to see how fast your Internet connection is, several sites can help you with that. Here are two options to serve as examples: 

These websites can help you check the speed of your Internet and then compare it to your internet package. 

This way, you will find out if there is a problem with the internet connection or you simply have an inappropriate internet package.

The main advantage to having a fixed internet is connection stability, speed, and lower latency, which is important if you are a fan of online games. 

We connect to the fixed Internet via a pair, optics, or coaxial cable, and this is exactly what enables us to have stability and speed.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks of such a connection method is the unavailability of infrastructure. 

As its name suggests, it is fixed. So the farthest it can “throw” is as much as the Wi-Fi signal or network cables allow.

So Why Is My LTE Faster Than Wi-Fi?

Have you ever got the impression that your mobile data connection runs much faster compared to your home internet? It is quite common. 

Woman relaxing on couch while using her phone.

Actually, many people find their LTE to be more stable than Wi-Fi. But how is that even possible when your home internet is on a fixed-line broadband connection?

Reasons for that could be quite simple, but also quite complicated.

Poor Local Infrastructure

This one may be a pill that’s hard to swallow, but if you live in a rural area with very poor broadband speeds, there’s not much that you can do to improve your fixed-line connection. 

If you are one of the lucky ones, and that’s not your case, keep reading because you might find out other reasons for your slow Wi-Fi connection.

Lots of People in the Same Area

All wireless devices in the same zone share bandwidth equally. Therefore, if only one device connects in an auditorium, it gets 100% of the bandwidth. 

If 10 devices connect, they each have 10% of the bandwidth. However, when 200 devices connect, an insignificant portion of the bandwidth corresponding to 0.5% is allocated to them. This poses a problem: 

What is the point of connecting 200 devices to a single access point if the user experience is terribly slow?

When providers tell you how many devices can connect to each access point, ask them how many people can connect while still maintaining a good user experience. 

The answer will depend on the activities of your users, which brings us to the next point.

Choice of Apps That You Use

The performance depends not only on the number of connected devices but also on the applications used. 

A Wi-Fi network that works great when 200 users tweet and check their emails may see its performance plummet if 20 users stream high-definition videos.

Outdated Router

Sometimes a problem with your Wi-Fi or internet connection is simply due to outdated firmware on your router. 

Check if there is a newer version and update it. It also has the benefit of making your network more secure since updates typically include all security fixes.

Interference From Other Devices

Some electronic equipment produces interference that can affect Wi-Fi performance. 

These include Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, microwave ovens, other wireless access points, and even your neighbors’ networks.

What If I Switch to Mobile Data All the Time?

Before doing so, make sure your plan is upgraded and that you have enough data. 

Video loading on slow internet.

Some plans may cover you for regular day-to-day activities on your smartphone, but what about watching Netflix? 

Streaming HD videos? 

Countless online meetings? 

Those things eat up your megabytes!

Don’t rely only on your mobile data. Yes, it may be faster compared to your home Wi-Fi. 

Yes, the download and upload speed may be significantly better. But remember that your connection is not fixed! 

You might face a situation where your Internet drops out sometimes, such as during thunderstorms.