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Wifi vs. ethernet speed

People use a variety of devices every day to access the internet, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even refrigerators. However, internet speed can vary when connected over a wireless connection due to a number of factors. That’s where an ethernet cable comes in handy. Learn what the difference is between a wired and wireless connection and how it can impact your internet speed. 

What is an ethernet connection?​

What is ethernet?

An ethernet connection requires an ethernet cable, also referred to as a network cable, which connects to the router or modem to give a device internet access. Ethernet cables are available in a variety of lengths so you can essentially run the wire from one room to another, depending on where your router is located. Both sides of the cord are the same, allowing you to plug both into your router and device.

While many consider a wired ethernet connection clunky and inconvenient, it provides more reliable speeds than wifi because there is no outside interference. Without having to worry about walls or other objects interfering with the connection, your speeds will be more stable.

How much faster is ethernet than wifi?​

Woman using wifi devices

When it comes to wifi vs ethernet connections, an ethernet cable will provide more consistent speeds. However, with the constant advancement in wifi technology, the difference in speed is getting smaller. An ethernet connection can support speeds up to 10 Gbps, depending on the cable you use, and the speeds offered on your plan. New wifi standards can offer speeds up to 866.7 Mbps.

It’s important to note that speeds will not exceed the amount offered on your plan, regardless of whether you’re using wifi or an ethernet connection. For example, if you’re paying for 150 Mbps, that’s the maximum speed you’ll get on an ethernet cable or wifi connection. The difference is that an ethernet connection isn’t interrupted by outside interferences and can consistently offer the speeds available on your router.

While today’s wifi technology can support most of your daily tasks, here are a few examples of when you can benefit from an ethernet connection for a more reliable connection:

  • Backing up your devices to a server or shared hard drive
  • Downloading large files
  • Transferring files between two devices
  • Streaming videos
  • Gaming online

Does ethernet affect wifi?

Connecting a device to an ethernet cable won’t slow down the rest of the devices using wifi. Actually this can help pick up your wifi speeds because you have one less device connected to your home’s wifi. It should improve the internet speed and reliability of the devices connected without slowing down your wifi connection.

However, it all depends on the bandwidth capabilities of your home network and how many devices are connected at any given time. Multiple users all trying to access the internet at one time for varying reasons can impact your bandwidth and slow down your speeds.

Every household can benefit from using a combination of both a wired and wireless connection. Devices that require more bandwidth, such as a gaming console or smart TV, should be plugged directly into the router for faster speeds. This will help devices that require more mobility or are located far from the router, like a tablet or mobile phone, to have more bandwidth on a wireless connection.

If you have a smart home or you don’t want to run an ethernet cable throughout your house, upgrade your internet plan to whole home wifi. Providers like Cox offer Panoramic Wifi – providing reliable coverage in every room. Moreover, the dual-band router, referred to as Panoramic Wifi gateway, automatically chooses the best wifi frequencies for your devices to give them the bandwidth they need to run smoothly. Both a wired and wireless connection are only as good are your internet. Get the best internet plan for the fastest speeds. 

Explore gigabit internet, our fastest speed service.

Explore gigabit internet, our fastest speed service.

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