Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly common across the globe. Today, almost every device we use has Wi-Fi capabilities, including smartphones, laptops, computers, smartwatches, and IoT devices. It offers the ease and convenience of connecting to the Internet from anywhere at any time.
Developments have also improved wireless connectivity thanks to upgrades like Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 technologies. Moreover, with the introduction of 5G, wireless connectivity promises some incredible speeds and stability.
However, not everyone likes Wi-Fi, especially professionals, who prefer to use traditional Ethernet connectivity because of its reliability and consistency.
Let’s compare Wi-Fi and Ethernet in various categories to give you a comprehensive look at the battle between Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet.
Before we dive into the topic, please remember to consult experts like Communications Solutions Inc. in Jacksonville for the best network connectivity and telecommunication solutions in Florida.
Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet
Ethernet is the traditional wired connectivity option that uses a LAN or Ethernet cable to transmit data over a network. It is commonly used in businesses and organizations as a means to connect to the Internet. Wi-Fi is a more recent technology that utilizes radio frequencies to and from a central modem to connect devices to the Internet.
This, of course, means that Wi-Fi has the modern benefit of wireless connectivity, but this isn’t the only factor to consider. Here we will look at various aspects of connectivity like latency, speeds, and security, to determine a winner for each category. Let’s see which connectivity method wins the most categories.
· Security and Data Loss
Security is perhaps one of the biggest concerns when it comes to Internet connectivity, especially for businesses. Wireless connectivity is vulnerable to data loss, signal interception, breaches, and hacking. Typically, Wi-Fi uses end-to-end encryption to protect data transmission across devices and networks.
The most commonly used encryption method for Wi-Fi technology is WPA2, and the latest one is WPA3, which is considered more secure than the former.
However, these technologies pale in comparison to the security provided by an Ethernet connection. This is simply because an Ethernet connection cannot be breached or hacked. After all, the data transmission occurs physically through the cable connections between various devices and networks.
Moreover, access to data is also physical, which means data loss is extremely rare and improbable with Ethernet connectivity. This means that Ethernet is much safer than any Wi-Fi.
Security and Data Loss Winner: Ethernet
When it comes to speed, a couple of factors matter with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet. For Wi-Fi, speed depends on the latency and bandwidth, whereas it depends on the type of cable you use for Ethernet.
There are some common types of Ethernet cables, like Cat5, which supports up to 100Mbps speeds, Cat5e, which supports up to 1Gbps, and Cat6, which supports up to a whopping 10 Gbps. The latest, most advanced Wi-Fi can support up to 6.9 Gbps speeds in a controlled setting.
However, in real-life use, this plays out to only about 1 Gbps of Internet speeds at the best of times. Speed is a category that wireless options have yet to master. While Wi-Fi is suitable for lower bandwidth needs, Ethernet is the way to go if you are a business that needs gigabit speeds consistently.
Cat6 Ethernet cables allow smooth and consistent speeds up to 10 Gbps. Given similar bandwidth, Ethernet is typically faster than any Wi-Fi.
Speed Winner: Ethernet
Latency is the delay in how long it takes to send data from one device or network to another. The lower the latency, the better the connection because lower latency means a lower delay in data transmission.
Most gamers are well aware of latency because their games rely on low latency to deliver a better online gaming experience through improved reaction times. Every millisecond of latency counts when it comes to in-game action.
Wireless connectivity does not offer stable or consistent latency, and your Wi-Fi may experience delays from time to time. On the other hand, an Ethernet connection is far more stable, consistent, and reliable when it comes to latency.
LAN and Ethernet connections offer lower latency and have fewer latency problems compared to a Wi-Fi connection. This is why most gamers prefer Ethernet for high-intensity gaming that requires consistent Internet speeds and low latency for excellent reaction times.
Latency Winner: Ethernet
Interference, or electromagnetic (EMF) interference, is a common connectivity issue. EMF emits from most electrical devices, lighting, and other equipment. Since Wi-Fi relies on radio frequencies for data transmission, it is more susceptible to electromagnetic interference.
EMF can lead to all sorts of problems with a Wi-Fi connection, including high latency, low data transmission speeds, and recurring signal drops.
The LAN and Ethernet cables used in an Ethernet connection are typically shielded (STP) cables that prevent low to medium EMF. However, this does not mean that these cables are completely immune to interference.
There will be some interference if your cable is not shielded, coated, or experiences heavy EMF. Still, Ethernet is far better than Wi-Fi when it comes to preventing interference.
Interference Winner: Ethernet
· Multiple Devices
If your Wi-Fi connects to ten or more devices simultaneously, you will experience a significant drop in data transmission speeds and an increase in latency and interference. Moreover, Wi-Fi modems and routers typically have a limited number of devices they can support at a given time.
Whereas Ethernet connections use cables to distribute bandwidth, which means no matter how many devices you connect, you will still be able to utilize your entire bandwidth, low latency, and minimal interference.
Multiple Devices Winner: Ethernet
Final Verdict: Ethernet Wins!
The winner of all our categories is Ethernet, while Wi-Fi has lost across the board. However, this doesn’t mean that wireless connectivity is completely pointless; there must be a reason why Wi-Fi is so common and popular worldwide.
The fact is that Wi-Fi offers mobility, ease, and convenience of connectivity, which is something that Ethernet does not have. However, current Wi-Fi technology lacks in most other things, including the mentioned categories.
Hopefully, modern innovations in wireless technology will change that someday. For now, Ethernet is better in ways that matter, which is why most businesses across the globe rely on Ethernet connectivity.
We highly recommend Communications Solutions Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida, for all your business Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity solutions.
If you want to learn more about Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet or connectivity solutions for your business, Contact Us Today.