If you’re a gamer who plays multiplayer games often, it’s sure that you will encounter network issues while gaming. Choosing between playing over an ethernet (wired connection) or a Wi-Fi (wireless) connection is a common struggle for gamers. If it were a decade ago, the choice would be a no-brainer, but the Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi gaming problem is severe now.
Depending on the kind of game that you play, the importance of latency varies. If you’re playing FPS or Battle Royale games, you will need the least latency possible. There are a lot of variables in the equation, and choosing the right one depends on you.
Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi: Key differences
The primary difference between ethernet and Wi-Fi gaming is that one requires tethered to the router. A wired connection makes your gaming setup less portable but is equally fruitful, on the other hand.
In modern scenarios, most people prefer convenience. Wi-Fi connections are volatile. It’s either perfect or always running into issues. Moreover, a common mistake that most users make is assuming that having high speeds means having a stable gaming experience. While games require an internet connection with constant speeds, a high-speed internet connection isn’t all you need.
Apart from download and upload speeds, latency, ping, and jitter are some variables that matter while gaming. Usually, most gamers tend to experience ping or latency-related problems while gaming over Wi-Fi.
Performance and Reliability
Wi-Fi standards have improved significantly over the past few years. With the introduction of the 802.11ac wireless standard, wireless connections have become more reliable. Portable consoles like the Nintendo Switch are wireless-only, meaning you can’t play on the Switch over the ethernet.
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However, there are still some problems with Wi-Fi that gamers have to deal with. Most gamers use modems or routers provided by their ISP (Internet Service Providers). These routers contain a QoS or Quality of Service feature, which prioritizes traffic automatically. Hence, a generic router may not give your game the highest precedence, resulting in a poor connection.
Gaming routers prioritize games and latency-sensitive applications resulting in improved performance. However, they do make a large hole in your pockets.
Walls, doors, and other interferences are the enemy of a gamer playing over Wi-Fi. Any interference in a wireless connection can result in an unstable connection. To put a cherry on top, there also exist bandwidth issues. If you have a generic router and multiple devices connected to the Wi-Fi, you are prone to poor performance during online gaming.
Above all, if you’re willing to be physically hooked to the router at all times, ethernet is the ideal way to play online games. You’ll get perfect latency, ping, and constant speeds at all times. Ethernet offers significantly fewer reliability issues when compared to Wi-Fi.
So what should you opt for in the Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi gaming battle? Looking at the differences, compromises, and performance issues, ethernet takes the win. However, this is just the technical part. In the end, it depends on the kind of games that you play and how much convenience matters to you. If you’re just playing Minecraft on Wi-Fi, there isn’t really an issue, right? You’re the one who makes the final choice.