Why Is My Mobile Data Faster Than My WiFi?

By: Jake Mellor
Updated: October 5, 2021
A man using WiFi and mobile internet on laptop

Not all forms of internet access provide the same connection strength. Many people have noticed that their LTE or 4G mobile data delivers faster internet than a home WiFi system.

Despite being farther from the 4G tower than your WiFi router, you might have faster phone internet than WiFi. Most UK homes do not experience this issue, but countless individuals do. So, why is my WiFi slower than 4G?

Why Is WiFi Sometimes Slower Than Mobile Data Speed?

Internet speed from 4G LTE and WiFi depends on a few factors, including:

  • Coverage

  • Client Usage

  • Infrastructure

  • Interferences

Nearby cell towers and WiFi routers will determine the coverage provided. Being closer to these spots should increase your internet strength and speed.

If you have many people connected to the same tower or hotspot, you may experience delays or slower internet. Also, moving the device during use can interrupt your connection.

Having an out-of-date cell tower or local broadband infrastructure could also impact your internet speeds. The infrastructure needs maintenance to support new technologies.

Lastly, having walls, buildings, and equipment in the way can affect your internet connection.

For the most part, WiFi cannot handle as many devices as 4G LTE cell towers. If you have many flatmates who have multiple devices connected to the WiFi, you might have to switch to 4G LTE to improve the speeds.

I Pay for Fast Broadband - Why Is My WiFi Slower Than My Phone 4G?

If the local broadband infrastructure is up-to-date, well-maintained, and usually provides fast speeds, you might have encountered other issues.

Even the highest quality local broadband can have trouble on the home scale.

The more people connected to your WiFi, the slower the speeds will be. Everybody needs to share a small portion of the broadband, so you do not get the maximum connection.

Also, ageing routers may not be compatible with upcoming technologies. After several years of use, they wear down and cannot provide the same speeds as before.

Finally, the local infrastructure might supply WiFi to most of the households in your neighbourhood. Since you share some of the same broadband, peak periods of internet use in the area will negatively impact speeds.

What Else Can I Do to Get Faster WiFi?

You can improve your WiFi speeds by reducing the number of people on the internet at once. If you have an idle device, disconnect it from the WiFi. Also, try to schedule your internet usage around the peak periods to minimize interference.

If you have an older router, look into purchasing a replacement. Getting a new router can boost your WiFi speeds without having to sacrifice your internet use.

For those on lower-grade plans, try to upgrade to a higher-quality one. 

Look into some of the best broadband providers in the UK to see if they cover your area. If they do, switch to one if possible. These companies likely have better infrastructure to meet the area’s demands.

Some of the best internet providers include:

  • Zen Internet

  • Virgin Media Broadband

  • Plusnet

  • Sky Broadband

  • EE Broadband

  • BT Broadband

If you have a decent provider, see if you can upgrade to one of their newer service plans. Many older plans deliver slower speeds than the new ones, so you might not need to switch ISPs.

You could also call your provider directly. If you have an updated plan, the problem might lie on their end. They can teach you how to boost internet speeds and provide the necessary technology and services to improve your WiFi.

If you have an issue with interference, experiment with moving your router to different areas in your home. Look for a centralized location that provides similar internet strengths to everyone in the household.

Another technique you can try is plugging an Ethernet cable into your router. Wiring into the system can improve speeds at the cost of mobility.

If you want portable broadband, you could also opt for a dongle. 

These pint-sized devices plug into your computer’s USB port to provide mobile internet. While not as fast as a functioning fixed-line broadband, they help if you consistently experience slow internet.

If you need to connect multiple devices, you can look for a MiFi device. MiFi acts as a modem and router, so all of your devices get internet access at once.

Fixed-line broadband will give you a more stable connection than 4G LTE if it functions correctly. Do whatever you can to strengthen your WiFi to improve your household internet use.

Can I Use My Phone Internet All the Time?

Smartphones come with mobile hotspots that let you connect other devices to your phone internet. You might feel that this solution fixes the issue and provides fast internet whenever you need it. 

While you can use your 4G LTE all the time, you might run into some problems.

Mobile data can experience interruptions during storms and weather events. You could test the strength of the connection before linking your laptop to ensure the connection is stable. 

Tools like Ping Plotter can tell you if you are facing an internet dropout.

Also, not all phone companies give you unlimited data. While most new plans have no data limitations, yours might have a monthly cap. Others have rolling data, which can boost your monthly allowance. 

However, any form of limited data will trouble your phone internet.

You could upgrade to an unlimited mobile data plan to counteract this problem. That way, you can run a hotspot constantly to link to your other devices.

Final Thoughts

You came here asking, “Why is my WiFi slower than 4G?” It turns out that the answer depends on a few factors.

If you want to boost your WiFi speeds, ensure you are on an updated plan from a high-quality ISP. Get a new router if necessary and limit the number of devices on the network.

By following these simple tasks, you can increase your WiFi speeds and stop relying on your mobile data.