Using Wi-Fi to avoid reaching your cellular data cap.

Using Wi-Fi to avoid reaching your cellular data cap.

“Do you guys have any data caps?”

Attention, everyone. NO. Stephouse Networks does not have any data caps.

I think it would be fair to say that data caps on service plans in 2013 are the texting caps on service plans of 2003. I remember constantly cutting it close if I was lucky and getting stuck paying overage charges every other month if I wasn’t. The internet is a fun thing. That said, it can be challenging to avoid reaching your cellular data cap if your cell phone is your primary connection to the web.

avoid mobile data caps

If reaching your cellular data cap is an issue for you, I’ve got the solution: be much more mindful of the Wi-Fi around you. This advice can be of help if your mission is to avoid reaching your cellular data cap.

This post will give you some tips on how to avoid potential overages.

Fortunately, we likely have all the resources that you need to prevent those overages from ever happening, like an internet connection at home and a Wi-Fi router. We just need to know where to look and how to make full use of these resources.

What it boils down to is being mindful of your data usage, location, and availability of Wi-Fi in your area. I would liken it to budgeting your finances in that when you are actively thinking about your purchases and your budget you tend to spend less and save more.

Optimizing the Wi-Fi at Home

When you’re in the comforts of your own home, and you have Wi-Fi and a solid internet connection, you’ll definitely want to connect your device to Wi-Fi if it has the ability. That way, you’re sending and receiving data over your home internet connection, rather than on your cellular plan.

Typical Internet Router


That said, ensure that your home Wi-Fi performs optimally. You can take some of our advice to ensure that you’ve got as much coverage in the living room as you have in the kitchen or the bedroom. Taking a moment to optimize the Wi-Fi signal in house can go a long way toward cutting down on your cellular data usage.

Once your home Wi-Fi is all set up and covering all of the areas that you want it to, be sure to set up all of your mobile devices to connect to this network and that your Wi-Fi settings are set to “ON.”

Many devices will have a “Preferred Networks” kind of setting. Be sure that your home network is NUMBER ONE on that list. That way, the device will default into connecting to that network if it’s available. This means more data transfers over your home network, rather than your cellular plan!

Taking Advantage of Free Wi-Fi Around Town

Being mindful of your location and Wi-Fi availability is a great skill to have to keep your cellular data usage below your cap.

Let’s say that you are on a jog downtown and you bump into a close friend. You want to show them that video of your dog sleepwalking that you posted on Facebook last night, so you pull out your phone and get ready to pull up the video.

This is the point at which you should consider where you are and what kind of Wi-Fi access you have available to you. A video will require pulling a decent amount of data to your phone which could really hike your data usage for the day.

If there’s a coffee shop a couple blocks away that you could both take a stroll to, hop on the WiFi there and proceed to let the sleepwalking canine hilarity ensue. If you’re in the Portland area, there are plenty of places that have Stephouse Mobile, our Wi-Fi hotspot. You can hop onto our Free Trial or purchase a subscription to get some personal, blazing fast Wi-Fi.

Here’s another example. Streaming music is a great way to enjoy your favorite tunes without having to carry every single hit single you love with you everywhere you go. If you’re anything like me, you are always streaming music and that hurt the data plan.

Do you really need that Final Countdown song to be playing while you wait for the bus? Well, maybe that’s a bad example, obviously you do but you get my point.

By showing a little bit of restraint with what you do and when you do it on your data plan you can always come in under the bar. Recognizing that web searches and email are typically lower on the usage meter than streaming or downloading apps means that you can fine tune what you do, and when and where you do it to make sure that that budget we were talking about earlier doesn’t get slammed by your carrier.

Your Milelage May Vary

We’re all different when it comes to what we do on the web. But we can all use these tips to take advantage of Wi-Fi that we have access to in order to keep a closer eye on our internet use and avoid reaching your cellular data cap.

Please let me know if these tips help in the comments below.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’d love to use Wi-Fi everywhere in my house, but it’s a rather large 2-story house and the router’s on the second story. Suffice it to say, the signal doesn’t penetrate far enough into the kitchen and living room for my relatively weak mobile devices to be able to transmit back. They can see the signal just fine. It’s the return path that’s lacking. I’m thinking I’ll need to invest in a decent repeater on the ground floor.

    1. Thanks for commenting PacoBell!

      WiFi extenders can be a great addition to your network for fixing just such problems. Be wary when configuring your new extender that you aren’t creating wireless interference with your home router. This is of particular concern if your router and your extender both use the 2.4Ghz band to transmit their signal as there is very little wiggle room in that band for frequencies that don’t interfere with each other. If your are using a combination of (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) or two 5Ghz devices the chances of them interfering with each other are greatly diminished. Still, it would not be a bad idea to double check to make sure that they aren’t providing interference if they are both on the 5Ghz band.

      Any more questions or comments, please let me know!

      Have a remarkable day!

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