Play over Ethernet Vs. Wifi

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Back when video games were just beginning to become a serious form of home entertainment, companies were scrambling to provide gamers with the best possible hardware to enjoy the latest games. The idea of ​​online gambling wasn’t even on the radar, especially with the internet also in its infancy. Fast forward to today, and internet connectivity and gaming go hand in hand, thanks to a wide range of things like multiplayer capabilities, DRM services, and streaming.

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Modern-day gamers have the freedom to instantly jump into multiplayer sessions with friends and like-minded gamers from around the world. Services like Amazon LUNA, GeForce NOW, and Stadia give gamers access to huge libraries of playable games that they can just stream live without downloading (as long as their connection can handle it). There are also games that require an internet connection just to start, even though it is a single-player experience, which means players will need a stable connection if they want to venture through these. securities.

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But gamers in 2022 have the choice of playing their games online via wireless or wired connection. Unfortunately, with all the options available, it’s not so clear which method to use. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of wireless connections versus wired Ethernet gaming, and which one is better in the long run.

Wireless Benefits

The biggest sell for wireless gaming is, well, the “wireless aspects” of it all. Modern consoles and laptops have instant access to wireless connections, allowing gamers to take their games with them and enjoy them from a variety of locations as long as they have access to a wireless hotspot. Wireless gaming is so convenient that gamers are even able to turn their tower computers into wireless-enabled devices by purchasing inexpensive USB connectors that add instant wireless access to their devices, and many modern motherboards come with built-in wireless antennas.


Gamers won’t have to worry about tripping over wires or providing a connection directly to a router, which can give them the freedom to roam around a room or take their devices with them when they travel . This is a major selling point for consoles like the Nintendo Switch, which can quickly connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot to give players an instant connection to multiplayer games, as well as a way to download and update their favorite games.

Convenience is paramount when it comes to using and playing from a wireless connection, but there are some distinct downsides for gamers who want to run on Wi-Fi only.


Ethernet Benefits

Although Ethernet adds an “extra wire” into the mix, Ethernet-connected gaming is arguably the king of Internet gaming. A wired connection allows gamers access to the maximum possible speeds, which will reduce the time it takes to download updates, new games, and perform other tasks (depending on the gamer’s chosen ISP and available internet speeds in his region). It’s usually cheaper for gamers to get all the speed possible from a wired connection, since Ethernet cables aren’t inherently expensive in the modern era, even at longer lengths.

While it’s possible (in some situations) to get speed comparable to an Ethernet-connected device from a wireless connection, this often requires much more expensive equipment, as well as a host of other devices. other variables such as location, modem proximity, and device capability. Gamers who connect their Ethernet directly to their modem or internet access point can still guarantee that they will get the “best possible speeds” for their console or PC, as long as they have a compatible cable.

Ethernet is very “plug and play”, allowing gamers to access a stable internet connection without having to go through any specific settings or ensure their device is Wi-Fi enabled. It’s usually much easier to just plug a cable into the appropriate port on a device or console.

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Disadvantages of wireless

There are a few distinct downsides to going wireless when deciding which connection to use for gaming. On the one hand, players run the risk of “losing their connection” due to drops and malfunctions. While new-era wireless devices are quite stable, they aren’t immune to signal drop, which can create headaches for gamers who are on their knees in a competitive or jam-packed multiplayer session. of action.

Luckily, connecting most devices to a Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t inherently difficult. That said, gamers will still need to make sure they have the correct password for the network they want. login (should it be password protected), and it’s a bit more “involved” than just plugging in a cable and having instant access to the internet. For the most part, new age gamers shouldn’t have any issues accessing over Wi-Fi, but it’s something to consider when comparing.


The biggest downside to wireless gaming is the loss of speed. Although this is not always the case, depending on the device, most wireless connections operate at a fraction of the internet speeds provided by the Ethernet connection. Gamers who choose to connect wirelessly not only run the risk of signal loss and hiccups, but are also likely to experience lags, longer load times, and slower speeds when updating and downloading. downloading game files. It is possible for gamers to increase their speed (depending on the amount allocated to them by their internet service provider), but this generally requires more expensive equipment, ranging from better modems and routers Internet to better hardware for their PCs. Console gamers will have a harder time getting more speed from a wireless connection due to the limitations of certain antennas and wireless connectors built into each console.

Ethernet Disadvantages

Ethernet is easily superior (at the moment) when it comes to getting the best speeds and most stable connection when gaming online, but it has its own downsides. For one, players will actually need to have access to the Internet modem or router when connecting directly via Ethernet. This may not be possible for players who live in buildings or areas where the main internet access point is far from their setup or in an inaccessible location.

Players also risk losing internet speed, connectivity, or overall signal if the cable they are using fails for some reason. Ethernet cables are not excluded from random failures and some cables can be easily pinched or bent, damaging their internal components. These aren’t issues gamers should worry about when playing wirelessly, but that doesn’t mean wireless connections are immune to failure or mechanical error.

The biggest problem plaguing Ethernet connections is “cable management”. Players will need to ensure their Ethernet cable is long enough to connect their device to a modem or router, and will also need multiple connections if they have multiple PCs or consoles they wish to connect via Ethernet. This can be a huge headache for those with a thirst for organization, or for those with setups far from a given access point, as it requires them to go the extra mile to efficiently route their cables through their homes, which sometimes requires bypassing. walls and other obstacles.


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Which method is best for gaming?

While wireless gaming is often “easier” for gamers, as they don’t have to worry about running cables or hard-wiring their devices into an internet hotspot, it’s hard not to suggest Ethernet over wireless in the current generation of games. Developers are making a lot of progress when it comes to upgrading wireless capabilities, but Ethernet is still king when it comes to “getting the highest internet speed” from a given provider. Most gamers will download their games faster, access lobbies faster, and have a better time overall when playing from a wired connection.

On top of that, they won’t have to worry about expensive wireless add-ons to help boost speeds, and there’s much less chance of signal dropouts, ping issues, or other issues centering on the wireless. Gamers who have the ability to connect their devices via an Ethernet cable should definitely try to prioritize running wireless, although there are some things that can be used to help increase the stability and speed of wireless connections during games. games.

Those worried about cable management have an array of options available in the modern era that can make things easier, such as various types of cables that can be used in an array of applications, and even cables put upgraded that are protected against common problems such as fraying and bending.

MORE: Which Type of Ethernet Cable Is Best for Gaming?

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