Ethernet vs Wifi for Gaming, Streaming and Everything Else

If you’ve ever read anything about the online gaming industry, then you’ll know one thing – it’s a cardinal sin to use a wireless connection. Although WiFi connection has improved greatly over the years, it’s still looked down upon by many as they’re reminded of the time in 2012 that they lost their connection causing them to lose (no, I’m not still bitter about it..).

But with consoles like the Nintendo Switch making the console intentionally for wireless play – you can’t even connect the docked Switch to an ethernet cable without an adapter – it seems like WiFi might be becoming the more popular option. But, is there really a dramatic difference between an ethernet connection and a WiFi connection, or has tech advanced enough that the connection times are relatively similar now? Well, here’s some of the things that we’ll have to consider.

Ethernet vs Wifi for Gaming, Streaming and Everything Else

Is you’re trying to decide between ethernet or Wifi, then it’s a fairly easy decision to make. The fact of the matter is that although WiFi connection has improved, it’s still preferable to use an ethernet cable. This is especially true for gaming and desktop use, as a wired connection will give you more reliability and less lag as a result. However, many people play over a Wifi connection with no issies, so don’t worry if you don’t have the choice.

Why is ethernet better?

The main issue for WiFi is completely down to one thing – the atmosphere surrounding it. Although in the past WiFi connections could only reach 50 mb/s, nowadays the potential WiFi speed is so good that the connection is as good as ethernet – however, this isn’t actually the reality. Whilst WiFi can maintain speeds an fast as an ethernet connection, this isn’t often the case due to the interference between the router and your device.

You’ll notice this even now, just by walking around your home. The difference in the quality of signal can be quite dramatic even as you’re walking around your house and distancing yourself from your router, which is understandable as the distance and potential objects in between interfere with the radio waves.

Another key thing to think about when you’re considering the battle between ethernet and WiFi is the privacy issue. With an ethernet cable, you don’t need to worry about your data being compromised as a connection can only be made by the device that you’re using. However, with a WiFi connection you essentially have an open network, which makes your device much more susceptible to hackers. Depending on the type of wifi connection that you’re using, you’ll get varying degrees of security.

As well as the security of your data and the possible interruptions in your connection, another thing to consider is the latency. You’ve probably heard gamers talk about ‘lagging’, which refers to a delay between your actions – e.g. your controller, mouse or keyboard – and the resulting effect. This is another thing that makes an ethernet connection a better choice than using WiFi. Ethernet cables are pretty cheap too, so there’s no reason not to pick one up.

So, when is WiFi a good choice?

Hey, I’m not a WiFi hater by any means, and it’s an amazing part of new technology. WiFi has it’s place in society, primarily due to it’s convenience and ease of use. You can easily connect to WiFi no matter where you are, which makes it great for it’s simplicity. If you imagine having to connect your mobile phone through a wire every time you go to a restaurant, this sums up the importance of WiFi very easily.

However, bear in mind that a wireless connection will always have a worse connection than a wired ethernet connection. You’ll get lower latency when using ethernet.

What about for streaming?

The only time that you’re really going to be bothered about a Wifi connection is when you’re gaming, and you need as low latency as you can possibly get. For streaming, Wifi connection should work perfectly well, and it’s much less of an issue.


So whilst WiFi is great, for the best connection you’re still going to have to opt for an ethernet connection. For gamers, an ethernet cable is pretty much an essential if you’re taking things seriously. However, if you’re a little more relaxed about it, then a WiFi connection will prove to be perfectly fine for gaming as well.

For everything else, a Wifi connection is perfectly fine to use as your main connection at home. Of course, you’ll get people that say WiFi is bad because it can apparently cause cancer, but there’s little research to support such theories. So in conclusion, if you want a great connection opt for WiFi, if you need a perfect connection then an ethernet is the better choice.

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