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Ethernet is the term used for a wired network. This is when you physically connect your computer to your router via an Ethernet cable (sometimes called a Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable) to connect to the network. This requires very little customization on the part of the computer owner, simply connecting the LAN cable to your computer and the router and you good to go. However, the physical connection limits the ability to move their system away from the wired network.
Wi-Fi is wireless networking technology. Wi-Fi is more convenient than cable. There is no need to connect your computer to the network using a long Ethernet cable. This is great for flexibility and provides a lot of network configuration options. But WiFi does require a little more effort and customization for the end-user. Before anything works, you must “search” for the network and usually enter a password to connect to it.
Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet For Gaming- Which Is Better?
This is a highly debated issue for most of us. While no one would argue that Wi-Fi is more convenient any day than using an Ethernet cable, does this apply to every scenario? You will most likely not be connecting an Ethernet cable to your smartphone. But you can’t do without Ethernet when connecting gaming PCs, multimedia PCs, backup devices, and set-top boxes. You may prefer to use Wi-Fi when using your laptop for general purposes. What if you have a desktop or laptop that has never moved? Let’s take a look at some parameters to see which one is better.
Wi-Fi has become pretty fast over the years, thanks to standards like 802.11ac and 802.11n. Which delivers 866.7 Mbps and 150 Mbps respectively. It’s pretty fast and meets most of our needs, especially when it comes to using the internet.
How about the capabilities of an Ethernet cable? Ethernet is faster than Wi-Fi. The maximum speed depends on which cable you are using, but the most common cables are around 1Gbps and can go up to 10Gbps if you have Cat6 cable.
However, this speed is only useful if you are transferring data between two computers that are physically connected using a cable. As we all know, ISP speeds are always below these speeds and will probably never hit the maximum limit. If you are using multiple devices – for example, a server that stores all of your data, or for playing games on your local network – The Ethernet is the best choice.
It’s easy to see why Wi-Fi is the less reliable of the two. A wide variety of factors can affect the reliability of a wireless signal, from other wireless devices to physical objects and walls. This interference can cause dropouts, high latency and even slower speed. While it doesn’t really matter when all you have to do is stream content over the Internet. If you play online games or for any other purpose, Ethernet takes the prize.
Security is another important factor to consider when comparing Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet.
In the case of Ethernet, devices have to be physically (wired) connected to this network in order to be able to access data. It is difficult for an intruder to tamper with anything when the computer or laptop is connected directly to the router via cable. So the attack has to come from outside. Luckily in most cases, the firewall of the router and the ISP protect against this.
In the case of Wi-Fi, data literally travels over the air. If you use an open network (for example, in a coffee shop), all information that you send and receive can be intercepted, including personal data, logins, and passwords.
Most Wi-Fi networks are secure as wireless routers must use an encryption protocol Wi-Fi Protected Access. But the strength of the encryption depends on the method used. WEP is the least secure encryption and should be avoided if possible. WPA2 is a more secure option and must be the minimum encryption used. However, since 2018 the even more secure WPA3 protocol is the standard in new devices.
To enhance security, you should change the default password and username for the wireless router’s admin panel. Factory settings can be easily found on the Internet. It allows third parties to access the network without your knowledge.
Connection speed and quality also depend on latency. We often refer to latency as “ping” in online games. It is important for you to reduce latency as much as possible, for example, if you are playing online games and need a fast response, you are better off using a wired Ethernet connection.
On the other hand, if you’re just watching streaming video, listening to music, or surfing the internet, latency won’t matter much to you.
The latency of the wired connection is lower because there are small delays in the movement of the Wi-Fi signal from transmitter to receiver.
You can test latency using the “ping” command in the terminal using the router’s IP addresses.
Ethernet provides high reliability of the connection, while Wi-Fi is subject to more interference from electrical devices and objects in the signal path.
Ethernet offers better speed, increased reliability, and lower latency, but Wi-Fi is more user-friendly.
So when should you choose Ethernet over Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is great. It is fast enough, convenient, and suitable for most tasks. Wi-Fi is essential if you have mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and simply cannot use Ethernet. It may be too difficult for you to route the cable to the right place.
For daily use, a properly configured wireless router will provide nearly the same speed as Ethernet.
If you want to improve your streaming quality or if you are serious about gaming, and your console or PC is not provided with a sufficiently fast WiFi connection, consider a special gaming router or use an Ethernet connection.