Your Home Network: Wired or Wireless?

The modern day world is becoming suitably connected with even the most common appliances having built in wireless internet connectivity. WiFi tends to be the top choice for most as it’s convenient and does away with messy wires,but does all of this wireless connectivity have an impact on our internet experience?

 

It’s a choice of speed or convenience

Essentially, it is the case that an Ethernet cable connection is just simply faster and more reliable than WiFi. WiFi, whilst convenient, is much more open to be affected by external factors in comparison to a connection that uses a physical wire to connect the internet to your devices.

LATENCY

Latency (sometimes called ping rate) is the response time or the delay between your computer and the host. For example, if you visit a website, it is the time it takes for your computer to contact the host and retrieve the data that displays to you as a website.

There will be more of a delay if using WiFi as your device has to speak to your router, but this won’t really have an impact on general internet use. It is worth considering an Ethernet cable connection for those who are into gaming though, as you will need a reaction time that is as quick as possible and Ethernet cable will give you that edge.

INTERFERENCE

WiFi is unfortunately subject to certain levels of interference from things such as other electronic devices, walls and next doors’ network. Whilst these factors will have an impact, there are things you can do to mitigate the interference, some of which are outlined in our guide here: Top WiFi Router Tips.

It is still possible for an Ethernet cable to experience interference, however it is much less likely and far easy to manage if it arises – it is often due to the quality of the cable used.

SPEED

Whilst historically Ethernet cable has been regarded as much faster than WiFi, the speed capabilities of WiFi connections have drastically improved over the last few years to be theoretically capable of 600Mbps, meaning that now, it is broadband speeds themselves which are the bottleneck!

RELIABILITY

Linked very much to the interference issues, WiFi is more unreliable than a fixed, physical Ethernet cable connection, that is both stable and consistent in delivering speeds.

The convenience that WiFi offers is most challenged by the reduced reliability that comes with it in comparison to an Ethernet cable connection. Whilst you may be able to move about your home with devices, you can find that the signal strength fluctuates as you move around, sometimes resulting in some people sticking to the same place to use their devices – kind of defeating the point!

 

So, what is really best?

In summary, it is difficult to say, and is very much dependent on your personal network and internet usage. If you use a lot of different devices or a laptop, then its no surprise that WiFi is the most convenient solution. Ethernet cable is, however, perfect if you have a rigid office or are a heavy gamer, providing the most reliable, consistent connection.

The ideal internal network, will however, be a good mix of both wired and wireless connectivity, getting the best of both worlds tailored for your usage. If you’re feeling particularly tech-savvy, check out this guide on how to set up your home network: Make Use Of’s guide here.