Wireless Internet is undoubtedly easy, convenient, and ubiquitous. When it comes to checking email on the go, or watching Netflix from any room in your house, Wi-Fi is your best bet. Connection speeds are faster than ever, and more and more places offer hotspots around the globe.
But that doesn’t mean that the network Ethernet cable is dead and gone. Wi-Fi might be easy, but there’s still a time and a place for the fast, instant and safe promises of Ethernet. If you find yourself frequently in need of a high-speed data transfer, zero-latency connectivity, or ultra-secure network, then you might think about plugging into a sturdy network Ethernet cable instead of hooking up to wireless. Still not sure when to use cables and when to roam with Wi-Fi? Here are three common scenarios where it’s better to stick to Ethernet.
It’s not necessarily true anymore that Ethernet cables actually provide faster Internet speed than Wi-Fi — that has more to do with the bandwidth of your Internet service provider than your wireless or cable system. However, what Ethernet cables do still provide over Wi-Fi is the power to transfer large amounts of data directly between computer systems without having to float up through the Wi-Fi and back. Remember that the quality and capacity of your cables can make a difference. Cat6a cables have the highest maximum frequencies and transmission abilities: 500 MHz and 10Gbps. Cat6 cables can be used for networks and multi-line phone systems, with 250 MHz frequency and 10/100/1000Mbps. A cat5e Ethernet cable will also give you 10/100/1000Mbps with a 100 MHz maximum frequency.
When you’re just streaming movies or surfing the web, the latency or ping of your Internet connection isn’t a huge deal. But when you’re working with a special ops force or fighting dragons — OK, even if it’s just simulated ones — that small lag might make a huge difference. You need your response time to be as instantaneous as possible, which is why it’s best to go with cat6 or cat5e cables. Another pro tip: Always go with a cable a bit longer than you think you’ll need. Better to invest in a 75-foot Ethernet cable and have some extra length than to find yourself running short.
Wi-Fi connections easily provide access to a lot of people, but networks can be hacked and passwords stolen. If you’re doing business with highly sensitive information, a network Ethernet cable is going to provide you with better security than any open-air wireless connection could. Don’t take chances; just go with Ethernet.
While Ethernet is still a great option for anyone who prefers working at a desktop or stationary workplace, it’s not for everyone. Now we want to hear from you. When do you take a seat and plug in, and when do you just opt for Wi-Fi? Let us know in the comments section below!