Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video The difference between 3G, 4G, LTE, and Wi-Fi-only, part of Setting Up Your Mobile Office to Work from Anywhere.
- View Offline
Buying any mobile device can be very confusing. So let's dive in and talk about what's the difference between a 3G, 4G, LTE, and wifi connections. The main difference is speed. The word G stands for generation. And that's the generation of technology that brings us such high speeds through cellular networks like Verizon and AT&T. The first product that really brought us into the next generation of high-speed phones, started with a 3G connection.
That stands for third generation. This was the first speed that was available when people really needed more than just texting. When people were doing heavy duty web browsing and music downloads, 3G really was the highest speed available to let people use their smart phones in ways we didn't think was possible before. After that came 4G, which stands for fourth generation. And after that we're now running at 4G LTE, which stands for fourth Generation Long Term Evolution. This is currently the fastest non WiFi connection out there, in fact if you're on a 4G LTE connection the speeds are comparable to being on a WiFi connection, it's that fast.
If you have a Wi-Fi only device that means it doesn't come with the ability to have a cellular connection. It's not always on like a smart phone, no matter where you go. You always need to be connected to some sort of Wi-Fi network, whether it's at your house or at a public network. Now each connection speed is measured in terms of how many megabits per second the device can download. Tablets with built in 4G have the ability to choose whether you want to use Wi-Fi, which doesn't incur any cellular costs or cellular.
When you're choosing a carrier, think first about price. It's going to be important. Every certain carrier has a different price for different amounts of data that you can use per month. Now when you're making that decision you also need to know how much you'll use the device in terms of how much your monthly data allowance is. So think about what you plan on doing. Do you plan on streaming movies on it? Do you plan on streaming a lot of music? Do you plan on downloading a lot of music? Or do you just want to use it to check e-mail and send text messages? Now there's price and how much data you use but, above all else, the most important factor is coverage.
What you need to do is think of the top three places that you'll be using that device and examine the coverage maps for those places on the provider's site. Now, even if you don't like the price of a certain provider, if you go with the lower price provider and have spotty coverage when you need it, it's an exercise in frustration, and will absolutely outweigh the additional cost. So, look at the coverage maps. Be sure that you'll have that connection when you need it with that coverage. After that, it's up to you to choose the device that has a 4G or a 4G LTE connection, or that's just WiFi only, once you know that you have that coverage.
- Researching purchases for your mobile office
- Getting connected to the Internet on the go
- Using separate calendars and email for personal use and business
- Setting up productivity tools like iCloud and Google Voice
- Saving email attachments to the cloud
- Managing your task list with Wunderlist
- Keeping in touch on the road
- Using TripIt to manage your trips
- Organizing apps on your phone or tablet
- Syncing devices
- Connecting to a desktop computer
- Securing accounts and devices