Why Is Your Internet Faster on Your Phone?

Why Is Your Internet Faster on Your Phone?

Surfing the internet is a great way to pass the time, learn new things, and stay updated on recent trends. It can be frustrating, though, when the internet is slow. You may be wondering why it’s faster on your phone than on your desktop or laptop. 

Your internet is faster on your phone’s cellular network sometimes because of your Internet Service Provider’s poor performance, weak WiFi router, or an overcrowded network. However, your phone’s 4G or 5G connection doesn’t have the same issues, so it’s faster to use.

So, let’s learn the difference between internet speed and your phone. We will give you all the details, explaining internet connection on different devices, 5G vs. WiFi, and how to boost your internet speed.  

Faster Internet Connection on Phone Than on a Computer

Faster Internet Connection on Phone Than on a Computer
Faster Internet Connection on Phone Than on a Computer

At first, it doesn’t seem like your phone’s internet connection should be different from what’s on your computer, but they can be very separate issues. The recent influx of remote working conditions and remote learning necessities have likely opened your eyes to the differences between the speeds on your phone and your laptop or desktop computer.

A difference in connectivity can be a result of insufficient broadband infrastructure. When using your home or office WiFi, you’re paying an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to deliver internet to you and then using a router to fill your house with WiFi. 

Sometimes the ISP signal is weak because too many people are trying to connect to it, and if you don’t have sufficient broadband infrastructure in your area, this can lead to slow speeds and a poor connection. 

Internet Speed Slowdown Causes

Internet Speed Slowdown Causes
Woman frustrated with her internet speed on her tablet while working outdoors.

If you’re in a rural area where the broadband infrastructure is too spread out across a vast area or an urban area with a high population, you could see similar decreased speed issues. 

You may not think Internet Service providers throttle your network data, but they do. They slow it down at peak usage times on their networks to facilitate more users depending on traffic. You can usually find this information in the fine print of unlimited plans. So your plan is really not unlimited.

The connection can be overcrowded if many people in your home, office, or neighborhood are trying to connect to the same network. If the network is congested, you’ll notice that your computer speeds take a long time to load pages, download items, etc. 

Another potential issue creating lag on your computer is poor router performance. The router’s job is to distribute WiFi throughout your home or office. It can slow your computer’s speed if it’s not up-to-date or can’t broadcast the WiFi signal successfully.

Cellular Network Infrastructure Effect

Cellular Network Infrastructure Effect
Tech worker installing 5G antenna to cellular network tower.

Your phone likely uses 4G or 5G data and has a built-in cellular antenna to transmit and receive data. In addition, there are generally many cellular towers and adequate coverage from major cellular service providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile unless you are in a rural or remote area. 

That isn’t to say that 4G and 5G phones are never slow because sometimes they can be, but they tend to be much faster because they don’t rely on an external router or ISP to connect.

Today, you can bring the speed of a 5G cellular connection to your laptop through Verizon’s 5G home internet. Learn more about this in this article from Digital Trends. 

3G Networks Shutdown

3G Network Shutdown
Cellular network generations 3G, 4G, and 5G.

3G is now outdated and is being shut down by all major carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.  This may affect your phone, tablet, smartwatch, your vehicle, home IoT, alarm system, or even your medical devices. 

There are also issues like the 3G shutdown affecting 911 call processes for cell phone users, so we need to be aware of the ramifications of the mobile network cessation.

Here are some links to the carrier’s 2022 3G Shutdown phone effects, what you can expect after the 3G retirement, and what will work.

All iPhones from the iPhone 6 and up support 4G/LTE.

Differences Between 5G and WiFi

Differences Between 5G and WiFi
Seeing the differences Between 5G and WiFi.

Technology can be complex and confusing, especially with continuous updates and new devices on the horizon. We live in a very modern world, always on the cusp of some new technology. It can be frustrating when the internet connection is slow or dysfunctional. 

We know everyone has experienced a long loading time and wanted to throw the whole computer away at some point. Still, before you do that, it’s worth learning more about the internet connections we have access to through 4G and 5G mobile phones versus WiFi. 

5G is an industry-specific term for “fifth-generation” cellular network technology. This network refers to several technological elements, including carrier networks, spectrum bands, and coverage. 

Carrier Networks

Carrier networks are entities that purchase spectrum bands. Carrier networks include businesses like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. 

Carriers and organizations use radio frequency signals for communication like TV, radio, aircraft transmission, and mobile devices. 

These carriers build a network of bands to have sustainable and wide-ranging coverage for their customers. Therefore, the larger the carrier, the more they can purchase, and the better coverage they can provide. 

WiFi

WiFi
A businessman using his cellphone with WiFi stands at the bottom of a long flight of stairs in a commercial building.

WiFi and its role in internet access are on the other side of the discussion. Most of us use WiFi in public, at work, or at home, which is crucial in many day-to-day activities. 

WiFi relies on an unlicensed spectrum free for anyone to use, but it has a weaker signal than the spectrum purchased by mobile carriers. So instead, consumers pay an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to deliver the internet to us, and then we buy a separate router to help fill our space with internet connectivity. 

That is where issues like insufficient routers, weak broadband, insufficient infrastructure, and overcrowding can become significant barriers to high-speed internet on laptops or computers that rely on WiFi. 

When the internet connection is slow, getting work done successfully and accomplishing daily tasks in an increasingly technologically dependent world can be difficult. To combat the issues listed above, you should read the following section for some troubleshooting tips and tricks.

How To Boost Internet Speed

Best Speed Tests – A network Administrator weighs in.

When internet speeds are slow, it’s incredibly frustrating and can be damaging if you’re working on time-sensitive projects. Below are some easy and basic ways that you can try to increase your internet speed. 

The first thing to do is to test your internet speed. There are several options for how to do this. I would recommend starting by using this video as a guide: 

Testing your internet speed connection before attempting to fix anything is helpful since you can use your results as a reference point later as you try to speed things up.

  • Restart All of Your Devices
    • The next thing we recommend to boost the internet speed is an oldie but a goodie – turn your devices off and then back on again. Unplug your modem, wait about 30 seconds to one minute, and plug it in again.
  • Be sure to wait at least 30 seconds to allow the modem time to restart. Your modem is like the intermediary between your WiFi and your ISP, so restarting it can be an excellent place to start troubleshooting connection problems. 
  • Restarting your router will also help refresh your system. Like your modem, the router plays a vital role in translating the connection between the WiFi and the ISP. 
  • Finally, turn off the WiFi on the device that you’re using. Wait at least 30 seconds, and then turn it back on. Allow it to reconnect and see if these steps improve the speed. 
  • Move Your Router
    • If turning things off and back on again does not help the speed, try moving your router to a better location. Sometimes routers have difficulty connecting devices through walls or large spaces, so if you have it in a remote corner or area of your home, moving it closer to the device you’re using can help the internet speeds. 
  • Extend Your WiFi Range
    • You can also try changing your WiFi frequency channels or getting a WiFi extender. These are a little more complicated than simply turning off and on devices. To learn how to do these and more troubleshooting, check out this article from High-Speed Internet. 
  • Try Using Ethernet
    • Ethernet is a wired connection that delivers internet to your devices without a wireless signal. Since you won’t have to deal with range and interference, using a cable to get the internet is usually the best way to speed up your connection and get the best speeds. 

Conclusion 

Why Is Your Internet Faster on Your Phone Conclusion

Essentially, the network connection on your phone is usually faster because most people do not have a strong internet plan or their internet service provider is weak. However, the WiFi router could also be the culprit behind long loading times or an overcrowded network. 

Using your 5G or 4G phone tends to be faster than a crowded or weak home or office WiFi. However, if you have a good internet connection, a powerful router, and very few people on the network, then the speeds on your phone and computer should be similar. 

References:

John Mortensen

I am a project manager, tech writer, and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, comedy, quantum computers, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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