There are two ways that your network can be connected to exchange information — either "wired" using Ethernet cables or "wirelessly" using radio waves, known as WiFi. Many people use a combination of wired and wireless technology to meet all of their networking needs. Let's look at a side-by-side summary of both technologies, their pros and cons, and recommendations to help you determine which best suits your needs.
Many users find themselves using a combination of wired and wireless technologies to extend their networks throughout their homes or business premises.
If you find that you need connectivity in certain areas of your home or business which are either not receiving a WiFi signal or are not wired for it, I can either install WiFi Access points or 'hard-wire' one or more ethernet outlet sockets. Another method is to use 'Powerline Adaptors' to extend the range of your broadband signal using your electricity circuit. There are however, limitations with using this method.
Wired networks use Ethernet cables to connect the router and Internet-capable devices. This method is simple and straightforward, typically requiring little in the way of configuration.
Wired networks are also secure, reliable and fast. Every device capable of networking has a standard or Gigabit Ethernet port, making the device ready for instant connectivity.
- Can be an inexpensive networking method.
- Best option if your home is already pre-wired with Ethernet cable, or for equipment that is close to the router.
- Allows for faster data transfers.
- More reliable, not as vulnerable to interference and fluctuations in speed as wireless.
- Less vulnerable to intrusions and eavesdropping.
- Lack of mobility — your devices are tethered, and you can't move devices through the house.
- Cables can be cumbersome or messy if not hidden in walls or cable concealment trunking.
Wireless networks use radio waves to connect Internet-capable devices to a router or access point. This wireless connection allows laptops and other Wi-Fi devices (like gaming consoles, printers and SMART TV's with a wireless adapter) to connect to each other and the Internet from almost anywhere in your home. To set up a wireless network, you'll need a wireless enabled router and Wi-Fi devices.
- Access the Internet from anywhere in the house within range of the wireless router or access-point.
- No need to buy extra cables.
- Set up does not require additional wiring or installations.
- Peripherals don't need to be near the computer.
- Not always as reliable as wired networks — can suffer signal problems or speed fluctuations.
- Need to enable the security features within your wireless devices.
- Subject to possible radio interference.