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Is the iPhone 3G Network Faster or Slower Than a Wi-Fi Connection?

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 2/17/2010

Have you wondered if using a WiFi connection is faster than AT&T's 3G network? A recent finding has found that 43% of iPhone users use a WiFi network to surf the web. Here's a look why using a WiFi connection is better and faster than AT&T's 3G network.

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    Hype Over AT&T's 3G Network

    There has been quite of bit of hype language associated with the AT&T’s 3G network, somehow developing a kinship between this addition and other major developments in communication technology. It is neither as innovative as satellite technology nor as prolific and reliable as fiber optics was in their early expansions. Even now, we have people hacking their iPhones to use the 3G mechanism as a portable modem or buying wireless cards that allow for direct connection to this “ultra fast” network. At this point users can finally acknowledge that the 3G network is not stable or quick and just about any other internet connection would be preferred.

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    Comparison of Load Times on 3G vs. WiFi

    iPhone 3G As it stands now, the load times for an average website are on average ten times what they would be for a WiFi internet connection on the iPhone. It does stand to reason that a phone is not going to be quite up to snuff on these levels simply because of its technological limitations. This, however, begs the question as to why AT&T and Apple have positioned the 3G network to be not only a useful solution for the phone but for mobile internet connectivity in general.

    Few advertisements mention the Wi-Fi connection, and we are forced to pay much more in monthly fees for this service. The limitations are huge, especially when we are forced to plug into our computer to download large applications. This is again a device limitation, but it reflects on the actual benefits of the 3G network as a product.

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    Popularity of Using Wi-Fi Networks on the iPhone

    The marketing company AdMob has stated that forty-three percent of internet connections from the iPhone have come from Wi-Fi. Since forty-three percent of the iPhone world is not blanketed with accessible Wi-Fi networks it is reasonable to assume that this is extraordinarily high for users. This means that most people do the majority of their iPhone internet work when they do not have to rely solely on the slow 3G network.

    These normal internet connections are so much faster, especially with downloads, that it makes it a fool’s errand to even attempt using the 3G for more than just checking your email. This is evidence that regular internet service providers are not going to be hurt much by this mobile technology, and that Apple and AT&T both need to step up their wireless departments and provide users with something they can count on.