We often feel stranded while choosing between Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Both of these connections have their own advantages and disadvantages. These advantages and disadvantages are induced by different factors like interference, protocol standards, medium standards, latency etc. We are going to discuss all these factors in details below:
In the war of Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet, there are many plot elements which form the deciding factors in choosing one over the another. Some of the conditional factors are interference, medium type/standard, device type, convenience etc.
WiFi vs Ethernet: Speed vs standards
If you are someone who loves downloading torrents or watching online movies, then Ethernet is the technology you might want to consider. Until now, you might be merrier with your Wi-Fi but here are some of the technical facts about Wi-Fi and Ethernet you might to have a look at:
- Wi-Fi that we use is technically a standard protocol which is defined as 802.11 a/b/c/g/n where ‘a’ to ‘n’ are the latest versions.
- Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ac and 802.11n offer maximum speeds of 866.7 Mb/s and 150 Mb/s, respectively.
- But you would hardly be knowing that a significant part of this bandwidth is also used for other purposes by our Wi-Fi router. So, likely you won’t get anywhere near close to these speeds.
- Similarly, there are standards for Ethernet cables like cat-5, cat-5e, cat-6 cables etc. Theoretically, a wired Ethernet connection can offer up to 10 Gb/s if you have cat-6 cable. However, the most common cat-5e cable supports up to 1 Gb/s.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet: Latency
If you are a gamer, you must be knowing how irritating lags are in the online gaming. And, obviously in the war of Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet, Ethernet offers the advantage of much lower latency. This is known as “ping” in online gaming circles.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet: Interference
One of the most disadvantageous things that Wi-Fi faces is the interference. With the technology taking over the world, we have so many wireless interferences in our house from Wi-Fi router, TV, oven, smartphone, setup box, game consoles etc. These interferences do not let your Wi-Fi signal stay isolated from the other signals affecting your Wi-Fi. However, there are no such effects in Ethernet cables.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet: LAN
If you are a geek and you have to set up your entire home on Wi-Fi and you are proud to call it a networker’s home, then conduct this experiment:
- Try transferring a large file between two computers while they’re both connected to Ethernet. You should see a difference between those.
Wi-Fi vs Ethernet: Security
It is easier to hack into a Wi-Fi network than getting a physical access to the physical cable. Besides, setting up the Wi-Fi needs additional settings like beacon packets management, broadcast, WPA types security etc. You do not have to be prolific in setting up these things, still, it needs a bit of technical knowledge.
Well, these individual factors are perceived individually by the individual users. Some users love speed, some like to have mobility in their apartment, some always look out for the latest technology.
These all circumstantial factors contribute significantly in deciding which one suits you best out of Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet.