Wired vs. Wireless Networks

Published 7 May 2019

Let’s consider the differences between these two forms of network connection systems. Doing so may help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Wired (LAN – Local Area Network)

The most common type of LAN network uses Ethernet cables to connect one or more devices to a network Access Point. The benefits of wired networks are:

•More consistent connection -less dropped signals

•Lower latency

•Higher speed capabilities (Cat6 cables are theoretically able to handle a max of 10GB/s)

•You can send both power and data over LAN cables (PoE), which means you save space for your power outlets.

•No interference from other wireless network devices.

•More secure than wireless networks

Overall, a wired network can prove to be much more reliable. But there is the added consideration of installing and running cables to desired points throughout your home or office.

Looking at the points above, you would probably benefit from using a LAN network if:

•You have multiple desktop devices (computers, printers, VoIP phones) that require a consistent network connection,

•You have multiple desktop devices that need to share data frequently or in large quantities,

•You have or plan to install surveillance systems in your home or office,

•You have concerns about using wireless devices (for health, safety, etc),

•You’re a gamer

Wireless (WLAN)

Best known for the ‘Wi-Fi’ brand, wireless LAN uses radio or microwaves to wirelessly connect devices to a network or directly to the internet. The benefits of wireless networks are:

•Convenience and ease of movement – which you’ll probably want if you like moving around with your laptop, tablet, etc.

•You save on cable and trunking installation costs.

Wireless networks are capable of decent speeds, although this depends on your data plan with your ISP, as well as your location, and proximity to other wireless networks (which may cause interference). Wi-fi may also be subject to dropping connections every now and then.

You probably already use Wi-fi in your home/office, and would be fine continuing to do so if all you need is to do basic admin work, browse the internet, or watch videos. You also most certainly need a wireless connection if you plan on connecting your mobile phone to the network.

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