Wireless Networking

Has Wireless Router Killed Ethernet Cable in Home Network?

As home networks have increased in popularity, so has the wireless router. The lack of clutter and the convenience of being able to connect to the Internet almost anywhere means WiFi is the first choice for anyone who is looking to go online. The blistering connection speeds offered by today’s WiFi standards do cause the downfall of wired Ethernet cable and make it appear a bit of a relic, but has wireless router really killed Ethernet cable in home network yet? Read the following text, and you can get the detailed information.

What Is Wireless Router?

Wireless router as shown below is an electronic device that works as a router, meaning it sends data from the Internet cable to a device, and as a wireless access point, so this data can be shared through radio signals instead of another cable. It can function in a wired local area network (LAN), in a wireles-only LAN, or in a mixed wired/wireless network, depending on the manufacturer and model.

wireless-router infrastructure

What Is Ethernet Cable?

An Ethernet cable is one of the most popular forms of network cable used on wired home networks to connect devices on local area network (LAN), such as PCs, routers, and switches. Ethernet cable is physically manufacturer in two basic forms called solid and stranded. Solid Ethernet cable offers slightly better performance plus improved protection against electrical interference, which is more commonly used on business networks, wiring inside office walls or under lab floors to fixed locations, while stranded Ethernet cable is less prone to physical cracks and breaks making them more suitable for home networking. Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 with rj45 plug are commonly used Ethernet cable types in home network. The following image shows different color-coded Ethernet cables.

different color-coded Ethernet cable

Wireless Router VS. Ethernet Cable

WiFi-vs-Ethernet

Transmission Speed

When wireless router first moved into the mainstream, it was mostly based on the 802.11g standard, which offers maximum theoretical speeds of 54Mbps, and far less in practice. Thanks to new standards, like 802.11ac and 802.11n, which offer maximum speeds of 866.7Mbps and 150Mbps, respectively, but this still falls well short of the performance offered by Ethernet cable, which can produce speeds anywhere from 100Mbps to 1G and even 10G, depending on different Ethernet cable types. For example, a Cat6 cable can support the transmission distance up to 100 meters at the data rate of 1G, and when crosstalk is in an ideal solution, it can support 55 meters at the data rate of 10Gbps.

Latency

Connection quality just isn’t about raw bandwidth. Latency is also a big factor. Low latency becomes so important since the adoption of private cloud applications increases. It’s beneficial for ensuring fast responses time and reducing CPU (center processing units) idle cycles so that improves efficiency. This is also known as “ping” in online game circles. If you’re playing online games and need reaction time to be as quick as possible, you’re probably better off with a wired Ethernet cable, since it offers the advantage of much lower latency.

Security

Security is another big factor when comparing wireless router and Ethernet cable. The data on an Ethernet cable can only be accessed by devices physically attached to the network. These devices, including laptop at one end and router at the other end, need firewall to protect them to make your wired home network safe. However, with WiFi, the data is in the air. If you’re using an open network, such as in a coffee shop, then all the data you send and receive can be intercepted, including personal information and login details, which could be easily stolen by hackers or identity thief.

Interference

WiFi is susceptible to countless environmental factors. Radio waves can be blocked by walls and floors. Other wireless devices can interfere with the signal, including things you wouldn’t think of, like microwaves and cordless phones, as well as nearby routers using the same channel. These inferences result in inconsistent performance. As you move around your home, you can see the strength of your WiFi network connection falls and rises, affecting speed accordingly. Ethernet Cable can also experience signal degradation, but it’s easier to manage and avoid. And, once you’ve got things set up properly, they should just continue to work without experiencing seemingly random signal degradation.

Conclusion

Although wireless router has gained much popularity with its convenience, Ethernet cable which takes some unique advantages still cannot be replaced. This post does not mean that you should ditch one over the other. A good home network will often have both wireless and wired components. Ethernet cable is great for high-speed transfers on desktop or other devices that do not move. Your smart phone, tablet, or laptop will benefit from a wireless router that has been properly configured to ensure a secure browsing experience.

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