HomeMiFi vs WiFi – Understanding the Difference Between Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi

MiFi vs WiFi – Understanding the Difference Between Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi

Two of the most commonly used terms today are Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi. They may seem similar to us, but they’re really not at all as they have their own differences. In order for us to be able to distinguish them from each other, we need to first know what those differences are. For those who don’t already know, here’s a quick guide on how you can distinguish one from another:

What is WI-FI?


Wi-Fi is a technology that allows electronic devices to connect to the internet via radio waves. The term Wi-Fi comes from the trademark name “Wireless Fidelity“, which was originally coined by the company that developed the technology, called the WiFi Alliance.

The technology was created with the intention of being used in home networks or local area networks (LAN). However, due to its popularity, it has evolved into using Wi-Fi for mediums such as hotspots and wireless access points (APs) used in public places like cafes, airports, restaurants, etc. Businesses also use the Wi-Fi option on their websites where customers can create an account or subscribe to become members with no additional costs needed to be able to view the contents on their website.

What is Mi-Fi?

Mi Fi
Mi Fi

Mi-Fi refers to the brand name of a mobile wireless router device that allows consumers to access 3G, 4G or 5G internet on multiple devices (e.g., laptops, smartphones, tablets) simultaneously. Unlike Wi-Fi which only works within one area or building, so does Mi-Fi work in one area or building. Mi-Fi is usually a mobile hotspot, which means you can carry it around wherever you go, so long as you have a wireless internet connection from your service provider for the Mi-Fi to use.

What are the differences between Wi-Fi and Mi-Fi?

  • Wi-Fi technology was intended solely for local area networking (LAN), while Mi-Fi is a device that enables users to establish a broadband connection even outside of their homes or offices.
  • A Wi-Fi router needs an internet source either wirelessly or with a LAN cable attached, while a Mi-Fi device already has its own SIM card where members receive their monthly data allocation via SMS. A user must subscribe to an internet plan or add money to his or her prepaid account in order to be able to use the internet from the Mi-Fi device.
  • Wi-Fi is more economical as no monthly fee is required, while a Mi-Fi device requires you to subscribe with your telecommunication company.
  • Having a Wi-Fi router at home allows all of your connected devices like computers, game consoles, and television to access the internet wirelessly.
  • On the other hand, using a cellular data connection via Mi-Fi allows one wireless device at a time, so it’s not made for sharing among different users. It works even indoors unlike Wi-Fi which sometimes does not work well inside buildings without an external antenna attached.
  • Although both are designed for mobility, they have different features that make them quite similar yet different when it comes to the way they are used.
  • One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to Mi-Fi is that users often think that Wi-Fi and Mi-Fi devices provide the same service: using a mobile hotspot on their laptop or smartphone, but this is not true. They both perform different functions and not every internet connection works for each device. Some smartphones may allow you to share your phone’s 3G or 4G connection with other devices via Wi-Fi, but others do not feature such an option.
  • As far as capabilities, networking experts agree that Mi-fi is technically superior to Wi-Fi because of its speed and efficiency.
  • A router only provides a limited range, while a Mi-Fi device moves around with its user, which means it has great range and operates at the speed of the 3G or 4G LTE.
  • Moreover, Wi-Fi routers provide lower speed than Mi-Fi devices because they use 802.11b (the slowest maybe) maybe while Mi-Fi devices are equipped with newer operating standards such as 802.11n and ac.
  • However, there are also limitations to be considered when using Mi-Fi devices. Depending on the policy of your mobile phone company, you may not be able to use all the data kWh you want; for example, some telecommunication companies set a monthly data allowance or “data cap” which can limit browsing time to just one month.

What are the Similarities Between WI-FI and MI-FI?

  • A Mi-Fi device is often compared to a portable Wi-Fi router because they both enable users to share their phone’s internet connection with other devices; however, this similarity stops there.
  • The way these two devices perform their function is completely different. A Mi-Fi device can be likened to a USB modem because you need to connect it to your laptop via the USB port in order for you to get online.
  • On the other hand, Wi-Fi routers are more like hubs or range extenders that use radio frequencies (RF) or infrared signals (IR). wi-fi routers also offer better functionality than Mifi because not only can they create wireless networks but also wired ones.
  • Wi-fi and Mifi service providers differ in terms of plans and prices. Mi-fi plans are more expensive because they have monthly fees assuming that Mi-Fi users need this kind of connection all the time. On the other hand, wifi service providers offer free access to their customers, although some will require you to buy a modem at your expense.
  • Wi-Fi devices are also called wireless networking devices because they use radio frequencies to connect. Mi-Fi devices are made primarily for mobility purposes, unlike Wi-Fi routers which are designed for stationary purposes only.
  • Wi-Fi Router is connected by cable to the internet provider while Mifi can be operated through a 3G or 4G LTE connection.
  • Mi-Fi devices have better portability but are slower than Wi-Fi routers. Moreover, Mifi devices have interchangeable batteries, which means you can carry extra batteries with you to charge your device whenever it runs out of power.

Which one is Better MiFi or Wi-Fi?

The debate between Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi devices is a never-ending topic for many internet users. They have some similarities, but they also have their differences as well. Each one has its pros and cons depending on the particular situation of the user.

For example, if you are a traveller who wants to stay connected wherever you go, you might want to use a Mi-Fi device. However, when you are in one place for so long, without the need to move around much, it would be better to use Wi-Fi in order to save money.

Is MiFi good for Streaming?

Yes, Mi-Fi is good for streaming because it has faster speeds compared to Wi-Fi. It also has a long-range coverage which means you can enjoy your favourite movies or TV shows without interruptions or lags.

Is Mifi Faster than WIFI?

Mi-Fi is faster because it uses 3G and 4G LTE connections which are faster compared to 802.11b,g,n standards used in Wi-Fi devices. Moreover, Mi-Fi has better coverage because it uses cell phone signals while Wi-Fi routers connect through Wi-Fi hotspots only.

Which WIFI is Better 2.4 or 5GHZ?

It depends on what you are using it for. Some home appliances use 2.4 GHz while others use 5 GHz. Usually, the devices that are used for entertainment purposes such as gaming consoles and smart TVs need 5 GHz in order to function properly. Cell phones usually work on both frequencies, which means they can connect to 2.4 or 5GHz signals depending on what is available in the area.

Final Thought

Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi devices are equally good in some ways. However, there are also some limitations depending on the situation. Moreover, comparing these two technologies is difficult because it is really subjective to the user’s needs. The best option for you would be to use both of them so that you can avail all its benefits.

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About Author

Samuel Afolabi is a lazy tech-savvy that loves writing almost all tech-related kinds of stuff. He is the Editor-in-Chief of TechVaz. You can connect with him socially :)