What is the Difference Between Wi-Fi and Data?


Not sure what the difference is between Wi-Fi and Data? If these terms sound confusing to you, do not worry – you are not alone. In this article, we explain the differences between Wi-Fi and Data as well as give you useful tips to make the most out of your Smartphone plan.

It is important to note that Wi-Fi and Data have a common purpose: to allow your smartphone or tablet to connect to the internet. You can browse the web, check your emails and use your favourite social media apps from your smartphone or tablet.


Wi-Fi is a technology that provides a network access to the internet, provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP), through an Internet modem. It is accessible from smartphones, tablets or laptops without the need for a physical wired connection.

Where: At home, the Internet is a service you subscribed to from a telecommunications company, usually a company similar to your cable or home phone provider. Wi-Fi is available in your home and in a very limited area around your house. Wi-Fi is also available in public locations, such as a library and businesses such as coffee shops or restaurants, which often offer free Wi-Fi to their patrons.

Cost: At home, there is no additional cost to connecting your cell phone to your home Wi-Fi if you have an Internet connection as part of your home services. Public Wi-Fi networks are usually free to access. However, some coffee shops may require their customers to enter a password and some airports charge to access the Internet.

Usage: Home Internet packages generally have a much higher amount of Data than cell phone plans. Therefore, your cell phone is not likely to use all your Internet allowance for basic needs such as emails and browsing Internet. That being said, if you use your mobile device to watch videos or stream music, you will use your home Internet Data as you would with your computer.

Useful tip: Turn your Android device Wi-Fi on/off:

How to turn your Android phone Wi-Fi on/off


Data is also called mobile internet and is provided by your cell phone service provider when you subscribe to a Smartphone plan or a Data plan – it requires a SIM card.

Where:  You can use Data on-the-go, so long as you have cell service, as it relies on your cell phone provider’s network coverage. Whether you need directions to get somewhere, to send an email while you are out or to browse the internet, mobile Data allows you to access the internet from wherever you are.

Cost: If you don’t already have Data on your cell phone plan along with calls and texts messaging, you can subscribe to a Smartphone plan. Another option is to subscribe to a Data only plan for tablets. Costs will range depending on the plan you are on. Check out Zoomer Wireless smartphone plans here.

Usage: Data is measured in MB (Megabytes) and GB (Gigabytes) as plans can include anything from 100 MB, 500 MB to 1 GB or more (1024 MB = 1 GB). Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets let you see how much Data you have used, set usage alerts, and usage limit so you never have to go over your plan. Just like Wi-Fi, it is easy to turn on and off.

Useful tip: To turn your Data on/off and check your usage:

How to turn your Android phone Data on/off

What can you do with Wi-Fi and Data?

Wi-Fi and Data typically offers the same internet experience. You should be able to use your smartphone the same whether you are connected to a Wi-Fi network or using your mobile Data. Keep in mind that certain apps can only be used on Wi-Fi because they use a large amount of Data, so that you can avoid using all your smartphone plan Data by downloading large files or software updates.

On the other hand, some services are only available if you have Data, such as receiving or sending picture and video messages (also known as MMS). Data allows you to conveniently open Google Maps or check your emails on-the-go which can be useful when there is no Wi-Fi network available.

If you travel outside of Canada, connect worry-free to the Wi-Fi network of the local coffee shop or your resort’s Wi-Fi network to stay up-to-date. While travelling, it is always recommended to keep your Data turned off if you do not have a roaming Data plan. If you do expect to want to use Data while you are travelling, don’t forget to call your cell phone service provider to add a Travel Pack that includes Data that fits your needs.

Comparison table

So, what’s better, Wi-Fi or Data? We can’t really say what’s best between Wi-Fi and Data because it depends on the availability of Wi-Fi networks you have access to and how much Data you have on your plan. We can say that both are very important to your Internet experience on a smartphone.

Here is a summary table that shows the main differences between Wi-Fi and Data:

Table comparing the main differences between Wi-Fi and Data

Any questions?
Zoomer Wireless provides affordable cell phones with voice, text and Data plans, as well as home phone and tablet solutions to Zoomers across Canada.

Our friendly and Canadian customer service team is just a free phone call away should you have any questions. If you want to inquire about our cell phones or plans, Zoomer Wireless has a large selection of devices and plans for all your wireless needs. Call our dedicated live agents today at 1.888.655.1252 or visit www.zoomerwireless.ca.