Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet
IoT Case Studies

Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet: Which Connection to Use?

No doubt the world is moving towards the wireless technologies.

Such technologies provide the convenience to connect to the internet anywhere.

Thus WiFi is the first choice for anyone who intends to connect to the internet and go online.

The development of more and more IoT apps means that we shall have a large number of smart devices in our homes and offices very soon that connect to the internet and work wirelessly.

You can also use ethernet from WiFi. For this, you must know how to convert WiFi signal to an ethernet connection.

Does this all development of IoT applications and the advancements in the wireless technologies mean that the use of Ethernet is now finished?

Or do you think that that traditional wired cable connection will still be used to go online in this modern time?

In this article, you will explore some of the points that differentiate between these two connections. You will also know which connection is better for you.

Some of the main points covered in this article are:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. Definition of an ethernet connection
  3. Ethernet vs. WiFi
  4. Speed
  5. Reliability
  6. Security
  7. Latency
  8. Interference
  9. Portable devices

1. What is WiFi?

It’s a wireless technology that connects devices to the internet without using any physical wired connection.

  • The term WiFi was introduced in 1999.
  • It is the most popular type of connection in the market today.

2. Definition of Ethernet Connection:

It is a way of connecting devices in a LAN.


3. Ethernet vs. WiFi:

If the question was asked some time ago, the answer was a bit different than what we expect now.

Ethernet was a bit faster than the wireless connection. This is because it uses cables.

Wireless connection was a bit slower, but it provides the convenience of using it within the range.

WiFi hotspots could be easily found in many places.

Thus the choice was between the speed and the convenience.


4. Speed:

WiFi was initially based on the 802.11g standard.

The maximum theoretical speed was 54Mbps.

Mobile phones could be connected to the internet with this connection, but this speed was much slower as compared to the ethernet that could easily provide 100Mbps-1000Mbps and much beyond that too.

802.11ac is the latest WiFi standard which offers speed up to 3200Mbps.

Thus with this WiFi standard the, significant benefit of ethernet is pushed down.


5. Reliability:

The speeds discussed above are theoretical.

  • An ethernet connection delivers a consistent speed. You will notice this fast and stable speed if you download large files.
  • Ethernet connection is also suitable for streaming HD videos.
  • WiFi suffers from signal interference due to many environmental factors. The atmosphere can cause issues with the wireless internet too.
  • WiFi results in inconsistent performance too. You will witness a poor performance if you move from one place to another in your home.

Thus wifi strengths weaken.

Well, this issue can be minimized too. For this, you need to put your router at an optimum position in your home or office, but it’s still quite challenging to achieve the stable performance with WiFi as compared to the ethernet.


6. Security:

This is another primary factor.

The data sent while using the ethernet connection can be accessed by the devices only that are physically attached to that network, and thus there is no the chance of data loss or hacking.

These devices need to use a firewall for their security.

  • WiFi is an open network, and thus its data is not safe.
  • That WiFi network where the data is encrypted is secured.
  • The most secure encryption method is the WPA2-PSK.
  • While WEP is the least secure one.

Free public WiFi is the most unsecured one. To know more about it visit here.


7. Latency:

Connection speed and the quality are not the only things. Latency matters too.

  • Latency means the delay for the traffic to travel from a device to its destination.
  • Latency is also referred to as a ping in the online gaming world.
  • While playing games, reducing latency is entirely necessary. The reaction time needs to quick, and the same is true in the IoT data world,
  • But while browsing online lag doesn’t matter a lot.

If you intend to avoid irritating lags or delay while posting data, then ethernet connection is best for you.

Wired connection offers lower latency.


8. Interference:

We have many devices in our home or offices that can interfere with the WiFi signal.

The interference in WiFi causes many problems.

Some such problems are:

  • Dropped signals
  • Greater latency
  • Lowered speed

Thus ethernet is more reliable.


9. Portable Devices:

Well, you won’t love connecting your smartphones to an ethernet conception.

For this, you will get the WiFi connection. Thus for portable or remote device WiFi is the first and obvious choice.


Which Connection to Choose?

  • If you intend to have a connection for day-to-day use then adequately configured WiFi router will be able to give you a suitable connection.
  • But if you are a gamer and can’t afford to have an unstable connection, then ethernet is what you need to use.
  • Similarly, if you need to stream HD videos without any issue or have may device connect to your network, then you will undoubtedly witness a better performance with the ethernet connection.

Wireless routers also have ethernet ports so you can configure device by device too without any issue.

Final Words:

Both WiFi and ethernet have their merit and demerits.

This depends on several factors like interference, medium standard, protocol standard, latency, etc.

WiFi is more popular these days, but still, wired conception offers some significant benefit.

Thus both the connection have their pros and cons.


About the Author