Does WiFi consume more power than 3G or LTE - here's what you should know

Ever since the advent of WiFi, 3G, or 4G/LTE in mobile devices, people have been arguing about which consumes more battery power. Some experts say that Wi-Fi is the best choice and the only solution. Others say it’s better to turn off WiFi and connect to a 3G or 4G/LTE wireless network. However, regardless of these arguments, WiFi, 3G, and 4G/LTE work differently on various smartphone models and depending on the situation.

Most devices will automatically disable 3G and 4G when connected via WiFi. The device will consume significantly less battery power when connected via WiFi. This is especially true for 4G because 4G is a technology that consumes a lot of power.

How much battery power do 3G and 4G/LTE drain

The 3G and 4G/LTE modules are the main power consumers in the smartphone. Of course, the screen consumes even more power, but it is turned on only occasionally, while the 3G and 4G/LTE modules are always on. 

The power consumption of the LTE module is of course higher than that of the 3G module because it operates at a higher frequency. But the difference is not big.

However, in real life, the LTE module significantly reduces the battery life of the mobile device. And here’s why. The fact is that with weak mobile network coverage, the mobile device uses much more energy to maintain the radio signal than with high-quality coverage. And since LTE coverage is still much inferior to 3G coverage, the LTE module drains your smartphone quickly.

In addition, wireless providers configure their 4G/LTE-enabled devices to connect to 3G and 4G networks at the same time. This means that your phone works twice as hard to maintain the connection, and therefore consumes twice as much power to keep it connected. Whenever you make calls or send and receive text messages, the 3G module is forced to pause. This change in the radio module causes an increased load on the battery.

How much battery power does WiFi drain

If your WiFi module is always on, it will constantly look for all available wireless networks so that you can try to connect to them in the future. Of course, this consumes a lot of your smartphone’s power. Therefore, it is recommended that you turn off the WiFi module on your smartphone when you are not connected to a wireless network. After all, you have a cellular network module running along with the wi-fi module. Accordingly, the phone discharges faster.

If your device is out of Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G range, it’s best to put your phone into airplane mode until there is coverage. Constantly searching for a signal is what consumes the most energy.

Featured image credit: internet-access-guide

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