Life Hack 2: Reducing Cell Data Usage (Part 1)

Cell BarsIn an earlier post, I mentioned that I was using Ting, an MVNO that has a low monthly price but meters your usage, for my family’s cell phone service. When using Ting or any other carrier that limits or meters your data usage, keeping it as low as possible is super helpful.

WiFiThe most obvious fix is WiFi. If you are on WiFi, you aren’t using your cellular data. Most everyone knows this and hooks up to their in home WiFi. Also, most know that many work places have WiFi. Make sure you have your work WiFi in your connected networks.

Public WiFi can be iffy. It is often super slow, but worse, it is usually unprotected. That means malicious users could be “sniffing” the network to read any or all un-encrypted traffic running over it. Sometimes, a bad guy might even setup an open wireless network in public just to try and catch people’s data who connect to it!

WiFi networks that require credentials (usually a name and password) to connect to are somewhat safer. Many home internet providers such as Comcast and AT&T provide wireless hot spots that you can use at no cost using your account name and password. I have my cell phone automatically pickup Comcast’s hot spots while I am out, and very frequently I find I am on WiFi! One of the ways Comcast is doing this is by using any cable modem that they setup in homes and businesses and enabling it as a WiFi hot spot for other Comcast subscribers to use. While there is some controversy around this practice, and many people disable this functionality, I am happy to use it when I find it!

It’s easy on many smart phones to disable WiFi. I have found on more than one occasion I was using cellular data at home or at work because I accidentally toggled it off. You can usually remove this toggle from your drop down or quick menus so you don’t accidentally turn it off.

Making sure I am religious about using WiFi at home, work, traveling to convention centers, or hotels, and while near a Comcast hot spot I have been able to drastically reduce my cellular data consumption, without very much thought or impact to my regular use of my smart phone.

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