WiFi or Ethernet: Which One is Better?
If you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to look up what can negatively affect internet speed, you probably came across the Ethernet, a hardwired connection, as a solution to slow speeds. Among WiFi alternatives, it’s the fastest, safest, and most reliable connection. But which one is better – WiFi or Ethernet?
In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between WiFi and Ethernet in terms of speed, reliability, convenience, and more. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Choosing one over the other will ultimately depend on what your priorities are when it comes to managing your home network.
Keep reading and learn everything you should know about the WiFi vs Ethernet debate.
WiFi vs. Hardwired Connection: What’s the Difference?
Ethernet is a cable-based LAN technology that with the right equipment can support up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) speeds. You can connect to a personal computer or multiple devices to Ethernet to create a wired home network. The most popular Ethernet cables are Cat 6, Cat 7, and Cat 8.
On the other hand, WiFi is a wireless technology that uses radio frequencies. It’s currently the most common type of home network and how most people use the internet. WiFi requires no cables past your home router. Data doesn’t travel through a cable but rather through the air, using the radio frequencies of 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz.
Below, we’ll compare WiFi and Ethernet across categories that matter most for the internet, including speed, security, convenience, and management. Let’s see which one wins each section.
Internet Speed: Ethernet
Ethernet is one of the best ways to boost slow internet speeds. It also makes the internet signal more stable and consistent. By plugging the Ethernet cable into your computer, you can reach the top speed advertised by your ISPs. For example, if you signed up for 1 Gigabit internet and want to see what 1 Gbps looks like in action, plug in your Ethernet cable. Similarly, hardwired connections mean less latency, also known as ping. As a result, data moves faster and there’s less congestion on the network. Because of this, Ethernet is particularly popular among gamers who want to experience as little lag as possible.
WiFi, on the other hand, is not necessarily going to reach the top speeds in your internet package as the connection quality also depends on many variables. Some of the variables include the router model, position of the router, frequency, and interference. So, if you’re on a 1 Gbps plan, you might reach approximately 850 Mbps on WiFi.
While Ethernet is more secure, WiFi is the more convenient option. With Ethernet, you’ll need to run cables from your router to each device for them to connect. This can be inconvenient if you have a lot of devices that need Internet access. It can also be a nuisance if you like to move around a lot. Once the Ethernet cable is plugged into your computer, you won’t be able to switch places easily.
Additionally, smartphones, tablets, and smart home devices don’t have Ethernet ports. So if you want to connect them to the Ethernet, you first need to invest in a USB adapter.
In the matter of online safety and security, Ethernet takes the cake. With a hardwired connection, data travels directly through the cable. So you can rest assured that strangers can’t simply hop onto your network.
Unlike Ethernet, when using WiFi, data travels through the air. This makes data vulnerable to interception and cyberattacks. Anyone can connect to a WiFi network. But don’t worry. If you use a secure password on your network and anti-virus software, WiFi is also safe.
IoT Device Management: WiFi
The number of connected devices in our homes is increasing every year. For example, smart home devices are growing more popular and affordable. In addition, it’s far easier to manage them wirelessly than it would be with cables.
With WiFi, it’s possible to connect with more than 100 devices depending on your network. Now, imagine how many cables and switch boxes that would be with Ethernet. It’s far easier to manage your home with WiFi – especially if it comes with an app that helps you manage the entirety of your home network.
WiFi or Ethernet: Closing Thoughts
Hopefully, you now know which type of connection you should choose for your home network: WiFi or ethernet. Of course, the answer depends on your priorities and use case. Let’s recap the benefits of both WiFi and Ethernet below.
A hardwired connection has the following strengths:
- You can reach higher internet speeds
- Your internet connection is more stable and secure
- Lower latency, which is great for gamers
These are the main benefits of WiFi:
- A wireless connection that doesn’t require any cables or switch boxes
- More convenient if you want to move around with your laptop
- It’s compatible with all devices, including IoT devices
- You can use it to connect more devices simultaneously
If you want more security and speed but don’t mind sacrificing convenience, then Ethernet is your best choice. But if you value convenience above all, then Wi-Fi could be a better option. Especially if you already use wireless devices like smartphones, IoT devices, and other devices without the Ethernet port.
But remember, WiFi or ethernet, the quality of your internet connection ultimately depends on your internet plan. If you choose an internet service provider that offers a high-speed reliable connection, your online experience will be exceptional on WiFi and Ethernet.