|mobile and 3G-4G data plans price comparison|
|4G data price||Extras|
|Telstra 4G XL 2 years contract||50||$70||$1.4 $/Gb||$15-$24 /month for USB dongle or WiFi modem|
|Optus 4G 1year contract||100||$80||0.8 $/Gb||0 - 3$ /month for 150Mbs modem|
|TPG 6 month deal||20||$25||1.25 $/Gb|
|retrieved on 18 June 2018|
Both WiFi and Mobile 3G-4G are wireless technologies transmit data over the air. But 3G-4G connects directly to the internet while WiFi connects to your home or business internet router which in turn connects to the internet via the modem. More often, modems are built into the router. Such WiFi routers and modems in one device are confusingly called WiFi modems or WiFi routers while a WiFi router is a different device with no modem in it.
|WiFi via 3G or 4G internet|
|WiFi||3G or 4G|
|Distance to a transmitter||1-30 meters||up to a few kilometres|
|Transmitter||WiFi router owned by you||Tower owned by mobile network provider|
|Maximum speed||900 Mb/s||1-150Mb/s|
It seems like WiFi provides a better connection speed. But WiFi connects only from your computer/iPad to the router. The overall speed is limited by the link to the internet provider. In the case of ADSL connections, the internet and speed is limited by the phone line, not the router. A typical ADSL speed is only 10Mb/s. NBN speeds are around 20-50Mb/s. That is why even brand new expensive WiFi routers do not improve internet speed much.
Depending on the type of connection to the internet there are a few types of modems; fixed ADSL, Cable and mobile 3G or 4G. Again they call mobile 3G-4G network - just “wireless network“, which is true but not precise because a local WiFi network is wireless as well. So the router with a WiFi connection to a computer and mobile 3G-4G connection to the internet can be called a Mobile 3G-4G WiFi router. Mobile 3G-4G WiFi routers can be fixed and connected to the main power or movable and work on battery. The former ones Big Pond calls “Pocket WiFi Modems” because you can have them in your pocket. Optus calls Mobile 3G-4G WiFi routers “Mini WiFi Modem“. Regular WiFi routers can connect up to 255 WiFi devices, but Telstra´s and Optus mobile 3G-4G WiFi routers are limited to 10 - 20 simultaneous devices.
Not everyone knows that they can use their smartphone as a mobile 3G-4G WiFi router - no additional internet account is necessary. I´ve seen people purchase more expensive iPads with 4G and pay monthly fees for an additional mobile 4G internet account while all they had to do is turn on tethering setting in their iPhone / Android phones or tablets to share internet connection with an iPad or laptop via WiFi. And on the other hand, if you have iPad with 3G already you can use it as a mobile 3G-4G WiFi router too. One thing to remember when tethering a device to your phone is the data limit. Most mobile accounts come with at least 1Gb of data which is enough for internet browsing and e-mails but may be run out fast if you download a lot. A movie download can exceed 4Gb.