For those of us old enough to remember an era before WiFi, there is still something magical about it. The Internet! In the air! Can you believe it?
We have reduced the number of cables and can now access the Internet anywhere in our home (sometimes with a little help), and the signal strength is usually enough to stream HD video and play online video games for people from all over the world.
Except when it’s not.
You see, cable Internet still exists and it continues to be strong. You should probably always use it when you can. Convenience does not always produce the best results, and it’s quite true when it comes to Internet speeds. Ethernet cables may be out of date, but you should always use them as much as possible.
What makes Ethernet better than WiFi?
The WiFi is great. This has changed our lives, allowing an unprecedented degree of flexibility with Internet-enabled devices. Home Wi-Fi is even sufficient in large parts of the United States to make people feel comfortable using it for everything from work to games to streaming.
Nevertheless, the fact is that a wired connection is always objectively better for just about anything that requires an internet connection. Sometimes the benefits are subtle, but sometimes they change lives.
For example, WiFi is notoriously unstable. Thick walls and metal objects can reject the signal emanating from your router and turn what should be a perfectly connected home into a depressing dead zone. An entire industry is dedicated to selling devices to combat this problem.
Wireless connections are also more prone to low signal and high latency. If you’re just browsing the web, you may not notice it, but people who play video games online will certainly do it. Last but not least, the connection speed will almost always be slower with a wireless connection. My home Wi-Fi is very good and my connection speed is still multiplied by two or three when I plug in an Ethernet cable.
When should I use Ethernet?
As I mentioned earlier, there are times when the benefits of a difficult connection will not be as visible. If you just browse a web browser and work while occasionally launching a YouTube video, WiFi will serve you perfectly. Its disadvantages will probably not affect your experience.
The same goes for most streaming services. If you look at things on Netflix in the default 1080p configuration (which means you do not pay more for 4K streaming), there is probably no reason to connect an Ethernet cable. Once 4K streaming becomes more ubiquitous, I would recommend using a wired connection for. this.
The same goes for anyone who is used to downloading large files, whatever they are. More importantly, anyone playing video games on the Internet should be connected if they can. Things like latency and interference stand in a gaming environment and a wired connection will reduce them considerably.
The worst is that WiFi games do not only make your experience worse. This can also lead to other people down. Please do not be the one who ruins it for the rest of us.
In general, I recommend that you connect any device that stays still and leave anything moving, such as a laptop, connected to WiFi.
Why are not more devices supporting it?
One of the reasons I can not blame too many people for relying on WiFi is that several popular devices do not offer them alternatives. Streaming sticks, which are inexpensive and common, usually do not come with Ethernet ports. You can usually get an adapter for around $ 15, but if there is enough WiFi, most people will not bother.
Why do not these devices have ready-to-use Ethernet support? Most likely as a cost-saving measure. The appeal of Fire TV Stick or Roku Stick is that you can get one for less than $ 50 and use it to watch high-quality streams of what you want by simply plugging it into an HDMI port. High-end decoders usually have Ethernet ports, but they are more expensive.
Besides, the Ethernet ports are certainly big enough and would not hold anyway with a small stick of streaming. Congratulations to Google Chromecast Ultra for supporting default Ethernet users.
Will the 5G Internet not solve this problem?
The elephant in the room is that the 5G revolution is slowly coming to the United States, which means that wireless internet will end up being much, much faster than today. There is video evidence for this.
Unfortunately, that does not mean much when it comes to investing in Ethernet cables or not. At present, 5G Internet access in the United States is rather uneven. It is only available in certain cities and towns, sometimes only in certain neighborhoods. Moreover, just because a city has a mobile 5G coverage does not mean that the home of 5G is accessible.
It will take a long time before the 5G is the default. Even when we do, there is no guarantee that the wired Internet will become obsolete. It could still suffer from range issues and interference issues like the current WiFi.
It is probably best to get by on the old fashioned way.