Does Ethernet Slow Down Your WiFi? Let’s Find Out


does Ethernet slow down wifi

The Internet plays a vital role in our lives today. Whether we like it or not, we are always in contact with the internet. In order for you to succeed in the professional world, you must understand how Ethernet and WiFi work, and if Ethernet is better than WiFi or if one has an impact on the other. 

Does Ethernet slow WiFi? The short answer is that Ethernet does not slow down the WiFi of your router when in non-strenuous situations. Those strenuous situations include having more than 4 or 5 devices, all downloading or streaming HD videos at the same time, which slows down your entire internet connection together. But, for other situations, Ethernet does not slow down your WiFi. 

Having a basic understanding of Ethernet and WiFi and how, potentially, Ethernet could slow down WiFi gives you an advantage in everyday life. The article will give you this edge-up on your peers, children, or parents who have very little knowledge of the internet and make you sound highly intelligent when having a casual conversation.

Ethernet and WiFi

It is vital for you to understand the two main ways to obtain a connection to the internet today, Ethernet, and WiFi. Typically, people use these terms interchangeably, which has led to some people being very confused about the most basic terms of the internet. 

If you want to have an edge up on your peers, parents, or children, you must be able to comprehend these common terms of the internet. You will be considered very tech-savvy when you can tell people the difference between Ethernet and WiFi and how they impact each other. 

The difference between the two lies in how your device is able to connect to the internet through the use of a WiFi signal or Ethernet cable. 

Typically, Ethernet is much faster than WiFi since it uses a direct connection to the router, so it is able to transfer more data at faster speeds. WiFi is preferable because you do not need a direct connection to the router itself, making it very easy to access the internet at all times. 

Your router can only send and receive a certain amount of data per second (bandwidth) typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps). You use this finite amount of allotted data when you:

In all instances, Ethernet is able to support a greater bandwidth than WiFi at current technological standards. An average Cat 7 Ethernet cable is able to transfer 10 gigabits per second or roughly an entire full-length HD movie every second of data. While the average WiFi signal can get up to 1000 megabits per second or over ten times slower than Ethernet. 

Your router is able to support a greater Ethernet speed than your WiFi speed and set an allotted amount of data, based on its maximum performance, to each type of connection. This ensures that you can have both Ethernet and WiFi connections and have them not slow down or interfere with each other. 

Ethernet

ethernet hooked up into server internet speed

If your device has an Ethernet cable that is connected to your router directly to an Ethernet port, typically in the back of your computer or device, then you are using an Ethernet connection to connect to the internet. Your device is directly connected to the router in your home that receives the internet signal, in one form or another, through the use of a cable. Common types of devices that use Ethernet cables or have Ethernet ports are:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Xbox
  • Wii
  • PlayStation
  • Cameras 
  • Anything that has an Ethernet port!

Ethernet is almost always faster than WiFi in all circumstances. You are easily able to transfer the data from your device to the router, which then sends it to the internet and receives information back and communicates it back to the device in a much quicker fashion than a WiFi connection. 

Ethernet is also much more reliable than WiFi. Ethernet does not rely on signals to function, so the possibility for the signals to become interrupted by random interference is impossible. Also, during storms, the weather and rain can easily interfere with your WiFi connection and slow it down. We have not had this happen recently, but WiFi is extremely prone to becoming disrupted when we are impacted by solar radiation from the sun. 

Ethernet is vastly more secure than any WiFi signal because you need physical access to the cord, router, or direct network access in order to access the network. WiFi signals are easily able to be picked up by anyone and are always prone to be hacked. Having an Ethernet connection is vastly more secure than having a WiFi connection. 

This begs the question: why do most people use WiFi instead of Ethernet when Ethernet clearly has so many benefits that WiFi does not offer? The very plain answer: convenience. WiFi is an infinitely more convenient way to access the internet than Ethernet.

WiFi

A WiFi connection does not need you to have a cable connecting your device to the router of your home. The device has a built-in communicator that makes it able to send and receive the WiFi signal from the router and communicate information in a non-cable form. WiFi uses radio waves to communicate this information and can do so without having to have a direct connection to the router itself. Things that can use WiFi are:

“With WiFi, users can move freely throughout a property, untethered to a desk or workstation by an Ethernet cable.”

Source: From Spectrum Enterprise


The sense of freedom gained with WiFi makes it widely more desired for non-working matters in our lives. Unless we are sitting at a desk or workstation, WiFi is the way to connect to the internet for people today.

When Internet Slows Down

gaming internet speeds

In certain situations, you can use too much bandwidth of the router and slow down both your WiFi and Ethernet signal. This happens when you:

  • Stream a lot of videos at the same time.
  • Gaming that requires online usage (including single player titles) 
  • Download a significant amount of large items at the same time. 
  • Having a massive amount of internet browsers open at the same time over multiple devices. 

Anything that utilizes a significant amount of internet to do, mostly downloading large items, will slow down your allotted bandwidth that your router can give to other devices. When you have a finite amount of data that your router can possibly communicate and you are using a lot of the data, the connection will be slowed for anyone else trying to access the internet and use data as well. 

Your router is programmed to be able to communicate as fast as possible to the internet and give you access to what you want almost instantly. It will slow down other devices that try and draw data after you have already initiated the process. This causes a problem since your router cannot give more bandwidth to others so it just slows them down. 

Ultimately, as new technologies and advances with current technology have been allowing routers to be able to provide quick access to the internet for both Ethernet devices and WiFi devices without slowing down other devices.

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