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Ethernet vs WiFi: Which Network Connection is Best Suited for Your Needs?


Wired vs wireless image

Until recently choosing between Wi-Fi or ethernet (hardwired) to improve your home network was an easy choice. Direct hardwired cabling was faster, more reliable and ensured the fastest speeds around your house.


However there was one drawback, and that was the physical running of the cables through your property.


As such the direct wired route for most homeowners was out of the question, when compared to Wi-Fi's easy setup and connectivity across your devices.


So the decision was ultimately a trade off between having fast, reliable connectivity vs slower easier connectivity.


Here at Home Network Specialists we wanted to dispel some myths and provide you with everything you need to know when deciding between a Wi-Fi solution or a hardwired solution.

 

WiFi vs Ethernet compared


Speed & Performance

Ethernet is faster than Wi-Fi, there is no doubt or debate about this. The latest cables (Cat6a & Cat7) are rated for speeds of up to 10Gbps. Whilst the current latest Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 6e) can only reach speeds of a few gigabits per second.


Ethernet also benefits from significantly lower latency (the time between the data being transmitted and the request for that data) & interference (the risk of data being disrupted in transmit). As such if you need both reliability & speed ethernet cables are the best choice.


Wi-Fi on the other hand whilst slower is not actually as far behind as you might think.

In reality for most home users, the speeds attained via Wi-Fi are more than enough for your daily use. In fact with the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi6e, speeds got a lot faster.


With a theoretical maximum speed of 9.6Gbps (shared across all devices on the Wi-Fi network) the new Wi-Fi standards are designed to meet the needs of the modern household and user.


The difference between the two then comes down to the following factors which depending on your home / use case should be considered as the winning factor.



Ethernet

Pros

- Fastest speeds

- Lower latency (better for video calls and gaming)

- Minimal interference (does not drop out or slow down)

- Every device connected via ethernet can reach the maximum speed rated on the cable

Cons

- Requires physical wires being run around your home to the devices

- Requires more technical knowledge to achieve the best out of it

- Not every device can be hardwired


Wi-Fi

Pros

- Easy to setup

- No physical wiring required

- Majority of devices can connect and achieve good speeds

Cons

- Not as fast as hardwired

- Devices all share the same bandwidth meaning that the more devices connected the slower the overall speed achieved by each device

- Highly susceptible to physical & wireless interference

- Can be slowed and even completely blocked by walls, doors and people

 

So what do I do now?


Now you know the most important differences between wired and wireless connectivity. You can decide which is best for your use case.

At Home Network Specialists we can help you with design, implementation and optimisation of your home network.


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