Wi-Fi is obviously more convenient than wired Ethernet cables, but Ethernet still offers significant advantages. Join us as we take a look at the pros and cons of wired and wireless connections.
You probably won’t be connecting an Ethernet cable to your smartphone any time soon. But it’s usually worth running Ethernet cables to the devices that matter, if you can—gaming and media PCs (or consoles), backup devices, and set-top boxes being just a few examples. To help you make the decision, we’re going to take a look at the three main advantages of using Ethernet over Wi-Fi—faster speeds, lower latency, and reliable connections.
Ethernet is just plain faster than Wi-Fi—there’s no getting around that fact. But the real-world differences are smaller than you might think. Wi-Fi has gotten significantly faster over the last few years, thanks to new standards like 802.11ac and 802.11n, which offer maximum speeds of 866.7 Mb/s and 150 Mb/s, respectively. Even though this is a maximum speed for all your wireless devices to share (and you likely won’t get those speeds in the real world), Wi-Fi has become good enough to handle most of our daily tasks.
On the other hand, a wired Ethernet connection can theoretically offer up to 10 Gb/s, if you have a Cat6 cable. The exact maximum speed of your Ethernet cable depends on the type of Ethernet cable you’re using. However, even the Cat5e cable in common use supports up to 1 Gb/s. And, unlike with Wi-Fi, that speed is consistent.
While all that speed is great, the thing to keep in mind is that the speed of your Internet connection is the bottleneck for activities involving the Internet. If your Internet speed is significantly lower than whatever type of connection you’re using, upping the speed of that connection won’t matter much.
Ethernet will, however, affect the speed between devices on your network. For example, if you want to transfer files as fast as possible between two computers in the house, Ethernet will be faster than Wi-Fi. Your Internet connection isn’t involved in this, so it’s all up to the maximum speeds your local network hardware can provide.
Here are just a couple of good examples of when this local speed might be important:
If you’re curious about the difference in local file transfer speed, try transferring a large file between two computers while they’re both connected to Ethernet and while they’re both connected to Wi-Fi. You should see a speed difference there.Read More...
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