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The Differences Between Ethernet and Wi-Fi

The Differences Between Ethernet and Wi-Fi

When setting up your online network, whether at your home or in your company’s office, you need to know the differences between Ethernet and Wi-Fi to make an informed decision. Each one has unique characteristics that can be ideal for your specific setup, as well as possible disadvantages that make it unsuitable for your purposes. Consider what you absolutely need when accessing the internet and what aspects of each will be detrimental to your network.


Protecting your data and your personal files is important, especially if you are dealing with information relevant to your company. Anything from private information such as bank accounts, social security numbers, or client information can be beneficial to thieves if they get their hands on them.

The Differences

Because of the hard-wired connection, Ethernet cables have the advantage of Wi-Fi connections. If a network is wired with physical cables, then outside parties need to be wired into the system to access that information.

Limits of Wi-Fi

This is in contrast to a wireless connection, where if someone wants to intercept the transfer of data, they only need to have access to your wireless network. Accessing information can be done from a distance and is far easier to accomplish than accessing a wired connection.


To connect your devices to the network, you need to consider special limitations. How far your devices are from the main connection point determines whether a Wi-Fi connection is best or a wired one.

The Differences

A wireless connection can be made as long as your device is within the Wi-Fi range of your router. This means that you can set up your computer anywhere that a connection can be made without the inconvenience of running long wires.

Limits of Ethernet

Ethernet cables do not work without a wired connection, but they also have limits to their length that you need to worry about as well. Ethernet performance suffers after a cable reaches a certain length, making it unsuitable if your cable cannot reach your devices within that limit.


In professional environments, having a reliable internet connection that will not randomly drop out is critical to productivity. Without a reliable connection, workflow can suffer and lead to frustrations with the network.

The Differences

Because it is always directly interfacing with the internet, an Ethernet cable is the more generally reliable option. This direct connection gives hard-wired cables the advantage, because Wi-Fi has to be transmitted from your router and picked up by your device.

The Limits of Wi-Fi

If your router is separated from your devices by thick walls, the connection is more likely to drop out. Wireless has a hard time penetrating solid walls to give your devices internet, making it more difficult to sustain a connection over long periods of time.

Consider Your Needs

While Ethernet is more secure and reliable, Wi-Fi offers the immense convenience of eliminating physical cables running through your house and office. Consider the differences between Ethernet and wireless, what aspects you’re willing to compromise on, and which factors are an absolute must for your network.