Advantages of Wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi

June 6th, 2017
Advantages of Wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi

Advantages of Wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi

I get this question a lot. “In today’s world, why isn’t every device in my business wireless?” Wi-Fi is obviously more convenient than wired Ethernet cables, but wired Ethernet still offers significant advantages. There are several advantages of wired Ethernet over wi-fi.

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 to your business. Like Servers, Printers, VOIP Phones, Backup Devices, and streaming devices.

This article will look at the three main advantages of wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi—faster speeds, lower latency, and reliable connections.

How much faster is Wired Ethernet?

Wired Ethernet is faster than wireless, period. Wi-fi has gotten significantly faster over the last few years with 802.11n standard delivering up to 450Mbps. However, that is the maximum best speed without distance considered. In addition, all devices connecting to that wireless access point SHARE that speed. If you have 5 phones or tablets that is around 90Mbps per device.

On the other hand, a wired Ethernet connections can go as high as 10Gpbs (10,000Mbps) if you had more expensive networking equipment. But most offices have 1Gbps (1000Mbps). Unlike wireless, that speed is consistent (not affected by distance) and NOT SHARED! Every device gets its own line.

How do I get Faster Internet?

Unfortunately, wired or wireless won’t make much difference to your internet. Wireless top speed is around 450Mbps, wired Ethernet speed is typically around 1000mbps, and standard business Ethernet is around 50mbps. It’s like you have an average garden hose supplying water to your entire house, and to get more water you install 6in diameter PVC pipe throughout your house, it still won't change how much water you are getting.

However, if you want to transfer files within your office, CT scans, X-rays, Patient data, wired Ethernet will be MUCH faster and more consistent than wireless.

Latency, the lower the better.

Latency is one of the advantages of wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi. Connection speed isn't always about raw bandwidth. Latency is a big factor, especially in VOIP, Streaming audio/video, any kind of data where small delays are hugely annoying.

Latency is the delay in how long it takes for traffic to get from a device to its destination. It is typically measured in ms.

Latency on a wired Ethernet is typically 2-3ms and extremely steady. Latency on a wireless connection can vary depending on distance and traffic but can be as high as 20ms locally, and tends to jump around a lot.

Wireless Interference and Connection Reliability

Wired Ethernet is simply a more reliable connection than Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is subject to all kinds of interference, the layout of your office, neighbor’s wireless networks, and electrical devices. All these types of interference can result in higher latency, dropped signals, and lower speeds.

When to use wireless and wired Ethernet

Wireless is certainly convenient and in recent years has made huge strides. It works well for most everyday tasks. Wi-fi is about convenience, if a device moves around a lot or you don’t want to run a cable to it.

But when its mission critical, when it’s your business and your client, nothing but wired Ethernet will do. It is a minor annoyance when you can’t connect to the Wi-Fi at Starbucks to surf Facebook, but a huge irritation when you can't take x-rays on a patient in the chair.

After reviewing the advantages of wired Ethernet over Wi-Fi, your decision should be based on the type of data you are working with. So, like the old FedEx advertisement "When it absolutely, positively has to be there..." then you use wired Ethernet.

About DPC Technology

For more than two decades, DPC Technology has been providing computer support, outsourced IT and network implementation solutions to businesses throughout Florida and Georgia.