Ethernet or Wi-Fi: What Does Your Network Need?...

DSL, Wi-fi, 3G, 4G: it seems like our recent advances in Internet and communications technology are all about freeing us from wires. When an inexpensive wi-fi connection can cover every corner of your house and the hammock in the back yard, who needs a wired network? However, in this age of streaming movies and downloadable video games, wired networks, (also referred to as Ethernet connections or Local Area Networks,) are making a comeback. Is wi-fi all you need, or should you be extending your wired connections? Wired or Wireless? Wireless Internet is certainly convenient, and improving rapidly, but the truth is wireless networks just can’t compete with the transfer speed of an Ethernet connection. The very best wireless routers clock in at around 450 Mbps (megabits per second, the standard measure of transfer speed). Even a run of the mill Ethernet connection can process one gigabit per second, over twice as fast. Wireless networks also slow down with more devices connected, and as you move away from the router. They’re vulnerable to interference, like physical blockage, or even microwaves and cellphones. A wireless network will serve you fine for checking email and catching up on the news, but if you’re looking to get a bit more of a bang for your buck when it comes to your internet, you’ll want to explore the power of an Ethernet connection. For streaming video, playing games, or downloading big files, you’re better off with Ethernet. Extending Your Network Of course, there’s a reason the convenience of Wi-Fi is so popular. Most homes, especially older ones, have a limited number of Ethernet access ports. If a computer is occupying one, you’re stuck with Wi-Fi for the Xbox, or that new smart-TV. Fortunately, there are easy options for extending...