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Cellular Networks vs Wi-Fi – Which Is More Secure?

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


Over the last few years, the number of users connecting to the internet through Wi-Fi has gone up exponentially. Thanks to the free Wi-Fi hotspots available at schools, universities, malls, airports, coffee shops, libraries, book shops and public parks; people can now connect to the internet from almost anywhere. Wi-Fi is also considered a lot cheaper, faster and easier to use which has further enhanced its popularity. But what about security? Are Wi-Fi networks as secure as their cellular counterparts? In this informative article, we will compare the security aspects of these two technologies and reveal which technology offers more security for your online activities.

The Wi-Fi technology is designed to transmit data at 2.4 – 5 GHz frequency which is actually better than 1.8 – 2.5 GHz frequency used by 3G networks. However, a lot of Telecom providers now offer 4G plans that transmit data at 2 – 8 GHz making them as secure as or even better than most Wi-Fi networks. So as far as networking technology is concerned, the next generation cellular networks offer better security than their Wi-Fi counterparts.

As far as network access is concerned, open Wi-Fi networks can be accessed by anyone while closed networks are available only to those who supply the correct credentials. In contrast, cellular networks can only be accessed by those who have purchased a data plan from one of the Telecom providers operating in the area. This makes Wi-Fi networks more vulnerable to security attacks simply because they are far more accessible. In fact, Wi-Fi hotspots at public places have become a hotbed of criminal activity allowing hackers and data sniffing programs to steal data from others who are connected to the same network.

The data flowing through cellular networks is encrypted by default. On the other hand, public Wi-Fi networks usually do not encrypt data so it can be intercepted by anyone who is using the network. Even in case of home and private Wi-Fi networks, the data is not encrypted unless encryption is enabled by the person who has set up the network. However, data transfer on Wi-Fi is considered to be more reliable whereas cellular network users have to deal with packet loss due to network interference, bad weather and connection loss.

Wi-Fi security can be breached from any computer or mobile device by using tools that are freely available on the internet. This means that anyone with a laptop (or Smartphone) can snoop on others provided he is using the right tools. In contrast, sniffing data from cellular networks requires specialized hardware and software programs which makes them a lot more secure against security attacks.

To conclude, cellular networks offer far more security than most Wi-Fi networks (especially public networks). And while it is not impossible to breach into cellular networks, it requires far more effort and access to sophisticated tools. So if data security is your prime concern, make sure to connect to the internet through a cellular network. Another option is to use a VPN regardless of whether you are using a Wi-Fi or cellular network since it provides total security against security threats and surveillance.


November 12, 2014
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