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AC Wifi versus ethernet cable.

So I hear a lot about how ethernet cables outright beats net speeds for wifi.The question is, is it worth the connection?

For example if i'm going to expect maybe 5-10% increase speed boost then I wouldn't think I should relocate my entire computer into another room so I can hook it up via ethernet.


My speed as of now (with wifi) is http://www.speedtest.net/result/7039113592 and I use the AC wifi built in the motherboard https://www.amazon.com/Optimization-ROG-STRIX-X99-GAMING/dp/B01F854U8E

For ethernet I have a CAT 6 and CAT 7 on standby.

Should I switch to ethernet and if so does it matter which ethernet cable I used (CAT 7 is an extra cable given to me, so if I can afford not opening it if the difference isn't too big then I rather not).


p.s I do regularly download / upload large files and participate in gaming from time to time.
Thanks for the help folks.
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More about wifi versus ethernet cable
  1. holmesc said:
    So I hear a lot about how ethernet cables outright beats net speeds for wifi.The question is, is it worth the connection?

    For example if i'm going to expect maybe 5-10% increase speed boost then I wouldn't think I should relocate my entire computer into another room so I can hook it up via ethernet.


    My speed as of now (with wifi) is http://www.speedtest.net/result/7039113592 and I use the AC wifi built in the motherboard https://www.amazon.com/Optimization-ROG-STRIX-X99-GAMING/dp/B01F854U8E

    For ethernet I have a CAT 6 and CAT 7 on standby.

    Should I switch to ethernet and if so does it matter which ethernet cable I used (CAT 7 is an extra cable given to me, so if I can afford not opening it if the difference isn't too big then I rather not).


    p.s I do regularly download / upload large files and participate in gaming from time to time.
    Thanks for the help folks.


    Cat 7 over Cat 6 is useless in a home PC environment - even Cat 5E can cut it for a gigabit Ethernet network provided you don't run it along power lines. Also note that Ethernet cables are normally designed to run up to 100 meters, so you don't actually have to relocate your PC. Gigabit Ethernet requires your box, switch and computer to all be gigabit-capable - some cheapo switches are still capped at 100M so be careful.

    When it comes to wi-fi, potential debit is halved compared to Ethernet, in practice it can be 10 times slower. If your internet access is over optical fiber, go Gigabit Ethernet - period. If you're stuck to DSL, you're so bottlenecked already you don't care anyway. At one time, Wi-fi added noticeable latency, but not anymore (gaming inpact is thus greatly reduced) - so, whatever works.
  2. Best answer
    Using something like speed test to measure your local network speed is usually pointless, as you're almost certainly limited by the bandwidth you are getting from your ISP rather than bandwidth between your machine and the router. This also means that changing your LAN connection won't have any effect on downloads/uploads to the web (only transfers between machines on your network).

    Even if the speed difference isn't great, there can be an advantage for reliability and possibly latency by switching to a wired connection.

    CAT 6 vs 7 will not make any difference.
  3. It really depends on your use-case, along with proximity to your router.

    For example., if you're using the 5GHz signal and you're a couple of rooms/walls away from the router - chances are your speeds will improve by more than 5-10%. Even 2.4GHz should see gains, but more likely in the 'nominal' range.

    For gaming, the more stable 'ping' of a wired connection would likely be more beneficial than any 'speed' increase.

    As for your up/download of large files.....
    Where are they going/where are they coming from? It might not matter at all, if the servers being downloaded from/uploaded to don't actually have any more bandwidth available to your down/upload.

    With those kinds of speeds, you're not likely to see any benefit from anything >CAT5e anyway. 5e or 6 cable will be fine.


    No harm in testing it out before making the move 'permanent' though. Get a feel for what you can expect in your environment and for your use-case.
  4. while the AC band may be closing the gap in transfer rates versus a wired Ethernet connection the Ethernet will still be more reliable. you have to remember that the AC 5ghz band broadcasts at a shorter range so depending on where you are in your home you might get an unstable connection but even with a full signal a wireless connection is still more susceptible to interference that may also make you internet connection unstable when doing file transfers or in the middle of an online game
  5. Your wireless is faster than your DSL...I'm assuming it's DSL based on that speed.

    However, wireless networking tends to be choppier. Plus it can be prone to interference from nearby networks. For gaming this can be an issue. There's different ways to do this...longer net cables aren't that expensive.

    And hey, if it is a DSL modem...you can get a long RJ45 to go from the phone jack to wherever you need it to go. Depends, of course, on your home's layout.

    CAT 7 is apparently for VERY high speed connections on long runs.
  6. In addition to what everyone else has already said, there is an option of not relocating your computer or running long cable lengths along your house. Look in to Ethernet over Powerline adapters. The current and last generation of adapters are a fantastic alternative to wireless for a desktop. Depending on the kit and your internal electrical wiring you can get close to, if not the same speed you get straight out of the router via a Cat5e(6, 7). I personally use a Zyxel PLA5456KIT to run a media server in my living room and I get near the same speeds as my desktop thats plugged in to the router. I also have a roommate who streams/casts/games on the same kit and gets no noticeable lag or slowdown.

    Obviously your mileage may vary based off of your ISP connection, internal wiring, yada yada, but it's something I'd highly recommend.
  7. Thanks guys. I'll get a longer ethernet and test it out.
  8. Personally, I much prefer wire due to speed AND security. Can't hack a Cat5e.
    In my house, the only things that are WiFi are those items which cannot have cable.
    Phone, Kindle, tablets...other than that, if it has an RJ-45 jack, it has a wire.
  9. azaran said:
    In addition to what everyone else has already said, there is an option of not relocating your computer or running long cable lengths along your house. Look in to Ethernet over Powerline adapters.[...]

    Having tested several powerline adapters (from first gen to next-to-last, the latter I'm still using), it does have one big improvement over Wifi: latency. When it comes to data rate, they are highly sensitive to power use in your house - leading to unbearable bitrate variations. As they are not exactly cheap, I would recommend against it except if you can get a pair for free.
    Truth be told though, if you can make it so that your box and computer's adapters are on the same fuse and your power installation is quite new, then bitrate can be very satisfactory.
  10. mitch074 said:
    azaran said:
    In addition to what everyone else has already said, there is an option of not relocating your computer or running long cable lengths along your house. Look in to Ethernet over Powerline adapters.[...]

    Having tested several powerline adapters (from first gen to next-to-last, the latter I'm still using), it does have one big improvement over Wifi: latency. When it comes to data rate, they are highly sensitive to power use in your house - leading to unbearable bitrate variations. As they are not exactly cheap, I would recommend against it except if you can get a pair for free.
    Truth be told though, if you can make it so that your box and computer's adapters are on the same fuse and your power installation is quite new, then bitrate can be very satisfactory.


    The variations can be bad depending on the wiring in the home, so everyones experience is going to be fairly unique. But I would say the cost on them has come down enough that if you're really serious about your connection, they're worth it over buying a wifi setup (provided it's not built in to the computer). When the kits were over $100 for moderate speed it wasn't worth it. But sub $100 and not having to deal with the inherent issues with wireless or the clutter of cables strewn through a house, and getting the full speed of your internet connection makes it worthwhile in my opinion. I'm also incredibly picky about my speeds and not wanting to string cable through the house to get the speeds I'm paying my ISP for. So high price/low price is admittedly fairly subjective in this case.

    The current generation, thankfully, deals with jumping across circuits in a home much better. As I said, and again this is my personal experience, I have adapters in 3 rooms in my home, each one on a different circuit, and I get the same internet speeds and ping on those computers as I do on the computer hooked directly to the router. Jitter can be an issue sometimes with some kits and wiring, but I've had very good experiences with Zyxel in that regard. I've gotten similar results in clients homes, and I've dealt with old homes and new.

    The big downside to EoP is really finding out if the wiring in the house is up to the task and then playing with electrical outlets to find the best option. It takes time, effort and a bit education to sort it all out sometimes and some people don't want to get that deep in to their network. And thats fair, not everyone wants to or can spend the time to deal with that. But if you can spend an half an hour reading up on it, and maybe another hour playing with the adapters in your environment, it's worth it.

    Ideally the best solution is what USAFRet said, go with a cat5e cable. Better speeds, better security, less cost and way less trouble shooting than WiFi or EoP. But most of the time people who are on WiFi are on it because cabling isn't an option. Not everyone has cable runs built in their walls/floors/ceilings, or a roommate/parent/spouse who is willing to put up with Ethernet cable strewn throughout the home. In those instances EoP is a much better option in my opinion than WiFi, provided of course that the environment conditions are right for it.
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