In most homes and offices, you either use the Wi-Fi internet or the Ethernet to connect to the internet, but many people often wonder if the two can be combined to improve performance. The truth is that both Ethernet and Wi-Fi will rely on the same router, which means they come from the same source, and data will be transmitted from the same device, even if you have both ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. Most internet service providers will provide either the Wi-or the Ethernet service.
So, Can I Use both Wi-Fi and Ethernet at the Same Time?
Yes, but the connection wouldn’t be faster than using either connection type.
Differences Between Wi-Fi and Ethernet- Which Should I Use?
As the world embraces wireless technologies, we now have more convenience of connecting to the internet from anywhere. Wi-Fi has become the top choice for anyone who wants to connect to the internet. Advancements in information technology mean we will have more devices that will connect to the internet and work wirelessly in the future.
Ethernet is the traditional wired cable connection, and even though many people think their time is over, the trust is far from such belief. Simply put, Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that connects devices to the internet without the need for wired connectivity. It was launched in 1999, and it is more popular than Ethernet today.
The Ethernet, on the other hand is older as it was introduced in 1973, and it connects devices within a LAN (Local Area Network). Ethernet relies on components like a hub, router, and cross-over cable. The Ethernet allows devices to transmit data over the cable network.
Despite providing more convenience, wireless Wi-Fi is slightly slower than Ethernet. Wi-Fi can be compared to Ethernet in the following ways;
Wi-Fi was initially based on the standard 802.11g, while the maximum speed it attained was 54Mbps. Smart devices like laptops and mobile phones can be connected to this type of connection, but it cant be compared with Ethernet speed that can reach between 100 Mbps and 1Gbps. Wi-Fi has evolved over the years, and a new standard of 802.11ac can deliver up to 3.2Gbps making modern Wi-Fi faster than the traditional Ethernet.
2. How Reliable are They?
While speeds of Wi-Fi and Ethernet are theoretical comparisons, it is essential to know that Ethernet can deliver higher consistencies in speed. You can download heavier files faster and more stable over the Ethernet. For this reason, the Ethernet could be your better option in streaming and downloading 4k and HD videos.
Wi-Fi, on the other hand can be subjected to some interferences; hence the speed may occasionally drop or for a while. Most interferences that affect Wi-Fi speed are environmental in nature; this is the reason why you see sporadic changes in internet speeds as you move from one place to another.
Another issue that may arise is speed throttling from Wi-Fi service providers. This can also cause a sharp drop in the internet speed for Wi-Fi users. To deal with the environmental issues causing fluctuations in speed, you can strategically position your Wi-Fi router to avoid environmental issues.
3. Security of Internet
Your internet security is another major factor in differentiating between Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Files or data sent over Ethernet can be accessed by the devices connected only; hence the chances of data loss or external hacking can be extremely low. The Ethernet may use the firewall as its paramount security; most Wi-Fi internet services, on the other hand, can be accessed by your ISP, but data can be encrypted to secure your data from hackers.
The free public Wi-Fi internet is the most unsecure internet connectivity you can use. Since these public internet facilities are deployed for everyone to use, they may have little to no security and encryption.
4. Latency as a Factor
Security and connection speeds are not the only factors to consider when choosing between Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Latency can be described as the delay in traveling data traffic from a device to its destination. Gamers often refer to latency as ping, and it can be an essential issue when handling heavy applications like games.
The reaction times or speed of moving data from one end to the other is very important; Ethernet can be the ideal option to avoid lag or delay in data transmission over the internet. Wired connectivity like Ethernet offers lower latency when compared to Wi-Fi.
Which Connection Will Be More Suitable For You?
Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi come with their advantages and disadvantages. If you want an internet service for everyday use, perhaps a well-configured and well-secured Wi-Fi will be a great option. If you are a heavy gamer or video editor or any other activity that requires a more stable connection, you will require more stable ethernet connectivity.
Similarly, Wi-Fi does best when very few devices are connected to the router, but if you want to connect numerous devices to one router, Ethernet will be a better option. You can also configure your Ethernet ports separately for different devices connected, which means you can allocate more bandwidth to some devices and fewer bandwidths to others depending on your needs. Bandwidth allocations are not possible from your end, with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Answers To Common Wi-Fi And Ethernet Questions
There are certain questions you should ask yourself when it comes to combining Ethernet with Wi-Fi; these include the following;
1. Why Will a Combination of Ethernet with W-Fi Not Increase Your Internet Speed?
Combining Wi-Fi with Ethernet will not speed up your Wi-Fi, and the reason is that your internet speed will be limited by your router’s data speed alongside the upstream connectivity speed. For this reason, the flow rate of data from your router will remain the same irrespective of whether you choose one or both connectivity options.
Your router has a definite or maximum speed limit that it cannot exceed no matter the number of devices or type of internet connection you use. There is a maximum upstream and downstream data speeds.
2. How Can Your Connection to Both Wi-Fi and Ethernet Can Slow Down Your Data Speed?
While the connection to both Wi-Fi and Ethernet does not improve the speed of the internet, it can, however, slow it down. The reason for this possible speed-reduction is that the data packets being transported through the router can become mixed-up or become duplicated and then received in an incorrect order on your device such as the computer or smartphone.
Your computer may be unable to correctly process the information being set in the form of data packets from the router, leading to a significant decrease in internet speed.
To optimize your internet speed, you have to stay with either the Ethernet or the Wi-Fi connection. If you still rely on old computers with the old router or old W-Fi chip, you may be unable to send and receive data at the full network speed, unlike when you have a modern device with a modern router or Wi-Fi chip.
Getting the fastest internet connection involves plugging the ethernet cable because data is transferred at a much faster rate through ethernet cables than Wi-Fi connection.
3. Can You Use Some Software to Connect Both Wi-Fi and Ethernet?
It is possible to connect to both Wi-Fi and Ethernet at the same time while avoiding some of the issues associated with such connectivity. Unfortunately, software that allows you to connect both Ethernet and Wi-Fi will require that you use separate routers for the two connections. With different routers, you should be able to see a faster speed than when you use the same router for both connections.
This software works like a VPN and all your data must pass through it before they reach their destination. The passage of your data through the software may slightly slow your internet speed but it wouldn’t be as slow as using one router in place of one.
4. Can You Deploy Two Different Wi-Fi Networks to Boost Internet Speed?
Using two different Wi-Fi networks, especially from different ISPs, doesn’t make sense, and wouldn’t boost your internet speed in any way. If the different Wi-Fi networks operate at different speeds and different packages, your device will take up the speed of the faster Wi-Fi instead of the slower one, which is still an advantage.
It has been established that it is possible to use a Wi-Fi with Ethernet to connect to the internet, but it doesn’t make any logical sense to have this combination when you wouldn’t gain an increment in speed or get any other advantage. In most cases, you will have to switch between your Wi-Fi or ethernet and mobile data when going in and out of your home or office since cable ethernet and Wi-Fi also have limited coverage distance.
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