We all make tradeoffs in life that help define us. For some it is tabs vs spaces, for others it is security vs convenience, still others the conflict between a wired internet connection and a wireless connection.
I’ll file this under my series “strong opinions about inane things”. Read on as I state my case.
What are the Differences Between Wired and Wireless Internet Connections?
The big differences come down to a few things:
- Speed – how fast are the upload and download speeds
- Reliability – network hiccups, consistent network connection, lag
- Convenience – difficulty to setup and use
- Price – how much does it cost
- Security – how secure are the packets being swapped around your network
Wired is usually going to be faster; however, wireless technologies have really closed the gap. Network speed isn’t as disparate as it used to be between wired and wireless. It can also depend on where your router sits and how many walls (and their thickness) are between your router and device.
Additionally, mesh routers and range extenders help alleviate a lot of speed and reliability concerns.
Any device that needs a stable connection needs to be wired. This includes servers, gaming computers, printers, and security cameras. You don’t want lag, dropped connections, or signal interference when you’re in the zone.
Please, if you choose to run wireless, please make a long password. You don’t want the neighborhood or apartment dwellers squatting on your network.
Privacy can be assumed to be better when wired too. No guarantees but better than WiFi.
This is where wireless connections really shine. You don’t need any cables running or tied to it, the device is usually smaller and lighter, and the workload you are likely to do on it is less resource intensive; therefore, wireless is the way.
If you’re in an apartment then wireless might be the obvious choice. Even if you’re in a house you have to consider if you want to drill holes through the walls and run wires across the place. In my case, I rather enjoyed a home project to run ethernet cables across 3 floors.
Growing up I still have fond memories of how i drilled through my parents floorboards to run a phone line into the basement. That 56k modem was a prized item because how else can you surf BBS? I thought my dad would be furious but I either did a better job running the cable or he got good use out of a better connection.
Also if you know what a BBS was and have used them then this shoutout is for you.
A good wireless router can run you some $$$. However, depending on the amount of wiring you need to do and how many walls you must go through it might be more expensive in money – for sure in your time. Also you will need to purchase other networking equipment like switches.
Sometimes you get lucky and can simply buy a ethernet cable and run it straight from your router into your device or switch.
A wired connection can be assumed to be more secure and private than a wireless connection. BOCTAE (but of course there are exceptions). You are choosing a strong, long, complex password – right?
Conclusion – My Verdict
So what do i think and what are my preferences?
First some caveats:
- If it is a device that sits on a desktop and doesn’t move then it must be wired.
- If it is a device that is mobile then there is no choice in the matter – it will be wireless.
- If you’re going to run wired then you must exercise good cable hygience. Bundle them nice and clean! I like those velcro cable ties to keep it organized.
Overall I’m on team wired. Every device with an ethernet RJ45 connection is getting fed a wire.
Lastly, it is tabs FTW!
Thanks for reading!