Using multiple networks simultaneously can provide benefits like expanded coverage and increased bandwidth, but also introduces potential connectivity issues. This article explores when and how to utilize two networks at once.The feasibility of using multiple networks
Modern devices with wifi and cellular connectivity have the ability to use both connections simultaneously through a process called multihoming. However, compatibility depends on hardware, software, and network limitations.
Reasons to use multiple networks
There are some key reasons you may want to configure your device to leverage two connections:
- Increased bandwidth – Combining the bandwidth of separate networks can enable faster speeds for high data activities like HD streaming or video calls. This depends on the throughput limits of each connection.
- Expanded coverage – Switching between cellular and wifi networks can maintain better connectivity across different locations. This helps avoid coverage gaps as you move about.
- Redundancy – In case one network connection drops, having a secondary network means connectivity is preserved. This provides more reliable access with less disruption.
How network connection priority works
When two active networks are available, devices determine priority using preset rules or user settings:
- Cellular preferred – Cell networks are set as the default. This guarantees access to cellular voice functions. Devices typically switch from wifi to cellular if the wifi signal is lost.
- Wifi preferred – Wifi networks take priority when available. Devices utilize cellular only when wifi connectivity drops or for functions like calls/texts.
- Speed-based – Network selection dynamically changes to use the fastest available connection. This means devices choose wifi or cellular, whichever has better throughput at a given time.
Key connectivity considerations
Using multiple networks has some limitations to keep in mind:
- Limited control – User control over connection management varies across devices and platforms. Options may be restricted, especially on iOS.
- Battery & data usage – Actively utilizing multiple radios often drains battery faster and incurs more data usage. Attention is needed to avoid unwanted impacts.
- Bandwidth caps – Cellular networks typically have data limits, meaning multi-network bandwidth gains only persist until monthly limits are reached. Combine judiciously.
- Potential connection issues – There are scenarios where having two connections disrupts connectivity and defeats redundancy aims. Testing is advisable.
Let’s explore best practices for setup and getting the most out of multihoming…
Recommended setup for utilizing two networks
The steps below represent an optimal configuration for taking advantage of connectivity across two networks:
- Assess device & OS compatibility – Ensure mobile OS and hardware supports using multiple connections simultaneously. Key settings may also need to be enabled.
- Prioritize wifi availability – Set wifi networks to take precedence whenever available for best performance, while keeping cellular active for redundancy.
- Designate data-intensive tasks – Streaming, large file downloads, and video chat data should use the wifi connection to avoid caps. General browsing can remain on cellular as a backup if needed.
- Adjust connectivity monitoring – Mobile OS settings allow ongoing checks that wifi meets basic performance thresholds. Disable this to prevent unnecessary cellular switching.
- Choose appropriate locations – Test multi-network usage in stationary spots where wifi & cellular signals are reliably available to validate effectiveness for your use case.
- Monitor data consumption – Keep an eye on cellular data usage to manage monthly limits now that background usage may occur more often. Enable cell data limit notifications if available.
- Refine preferences over time – Connection priority can be manually adapted for specific apps or use cases. Make iterative changes to match connectivity behavior to your needs.
- Modern devices can utilize wifi and cellular data simultaneously through multihoming, which provides benefits like added bandwidth and redundancy.
- There are also some limitations, so a sound setup is required for robust connectivity. Follow best practices to maximize gains.
- Confirm platform compatibility, prioritize wifi availability, designate data tasks appropriately between networks, adjust connectivity settings, choose locations carefully, monitor usage, and refine preferences over time.
Using two networks concurrently is viable strategy to increase connectivity performance and reduce coverage gaps for today’s mobile devices. Implementing deliberate network priority choices, monitoring data consumption, and customizing options for specific use cases allows users to maximize gains from multi-network connectivity while minimizing disruptions. Test to validate effectiveness for your scenarios.
- What are the benefits of using multiple internet connections at once?
The main benefits are increased bandwidth, expanded coverage range, and connection redundancy. Combining two connections provides faster speeds, less dead zones, and automatic failover if one network drops.
- Does using 2 Wi-Fis increase speed?
It can. Combining the bandwidth of separate wifi networks together via multihoming results in higher cumulative throughput, allowing faster speeds than from just one alone. Performance boosts depend on the limiting speeds of each individual wifi network.
- Why does my phone switch between wifi and data?
Phones automatically switch between wifi and cellular data based on system rules that determine which connection is better at any given time. This helps maintain connectivity but can use more battery and data. Settings can adjust rules influencing network switching behavior.
- Is it OK to use wifi and cellular data at the same time?
Yes, modern devices are capable of utilizing wifi and cellular simultaneously thanks to multihoming capabilities. This works to provide extra bandwidth or redundancy. There are some settings required for the best connectivity. Monitoring usage patterns can avoid excessive mobile data consumption.
- Can two SIM cards be used together in one phone?
Dual SIM phones have hardware allowing two physical SIMs to operate concurrently within a single device. This enables connecting to two carriers. Both cannot actively send/receive voice data simultaneously, but can otherwise enable better connectivity when properly configured.
- How can I bond my wifi and LTE networks together?
Combining wifi and 4G/5G networks require client devices and networks to support multipath TCP protocols that enable the bonding of connections together into a unified faster pipeline. There are software tools and hardware available facilitating pooled bandwidth. Carrier participation is also necessary.
- What happens when wifi and mobile data are on at the same time?
The device will route traffic across the faster available connection when both wifi and cellular data are simultaneously active. Background app data may start consuming mobile data while wifi is used forefront. Some connectivity issues can occasionally occur depending on device/network compatibility.
- Will my SIM card disconnect if I enable wifi?
No, enabling wifi internet on a device does not inherently cause a mobile network SIM card to disconnect or go offline. Cellular voice/text functionality persists independently. Data routing adjusts according to user settings that govern network priority between available wifi and mobile data connections.
- Can I use unlimited data while connected to wifi?
Yes, devices that utilize wifi while also maintaining an active cellular connection have the ability to use unlimited data over wifi while keeping cellular connectivity for redundancy/fallback purposes. Traffic routing manages use of each, though background data should be monitored as cellular may incur charges.
- What determines which network my traffic goes through?
Mobile OS and user settings dictate switching rules governing network priority. Cellular preferred means mobile data remains active. Wifi preferred modes only use cellular when wifi is unavailable. Speed/performance based modes dynamically select the fastest available network – whether wifi or cellular.
- How can I lock one SIM to one network type?
Dual SIM settings provide options to set a preferred network type per each physical SIM card. This allows explicitly designating SIM 1 for cellular only and locking SIM 2 to handle wifi traffic. Not all devices have this capability. Custom routing apps can also facilitate splitting usage.
- Can I use a VPN while also using mobile data?
Yes, Virtual Private Networks encrypt traffic which does not inherently interfere with simultaneous utilization of mobile data or wifi networks. Ensure the VPN service maintains robust performance for HD streaming, video calls and other high-bandwidth activities combined across all active connections.
- How do I keep mobile data on when connected to wifi?
Go into network settings and locate the Advanced Calling Options for mobile networks. Ensure data access over cellular is toggled to remain on always. Other toggles also persist LTE for HD calls and cellular connectivity when wifi conditions degrade. These keep cellular active as a wifi backup.
- Can you use hotspot while using mobile data at the same time?
Yes, it is possible to use a mobile hotspot to share a device’s cellular data connection over wifi while simultaneously maintaining conventional mobile data access on that same device. However, performance is often slower given bandwidth splitting across hotspot usage and native device traffic.
- Is it bad to use wifi and Bluetooth at the same time?
No, using Bluetooth accessories simultaneously while connected to wifi does not inherently compromise or harm connectivity performance for either form of wireless. Both can operate concurrently without interference using different frequencies. That said, combinations of 2.4GHz wifi, Bluetooth, microwaves and more in very dense environments can create occasional interference.