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Ethernet vs WiFi: What’s Better for Gaming?

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Online gaming is something that requires a fast and stable internet connection. Read on to find out if you should use Ethernet or WiFi for gaming.

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Online gaming is only fun when you have a fast, stable internet connection. Facing lag mid-match can be extremely frustrating, not just for you but also for the ones playing with you.

There are a few ways you can connect to the internet, but they all lead back to the inevitable debate between gaming on WiFi vs. Ethernet. So, here is a comparison between Ethernet and WiFi connection.

Why Is Ethernet Better for Online Gaming?

Using Ethernet for the internet isn't as convenient as using WiFi. However, a wired connection is always more secure and has consistent speeds and low latency, which makes it perfect for use when gaming and streaming.


Let’s take a look at the benefits of using Ethernet for online gaming.

Pros Cons
Consistent Speed Means a Smooth Experience Wires Can Cause a Lot of Clutter
Low Latency Provides Instant Response Times Multiple Devices Can Be Expensive to Connect
High Security Less Convenience

Consistent Speed

Ethernet has more range than a wired connection and can provide consistent speeds over more distances. WiFi connections tend to fluctuate even if there is a single wall between the device and the router.

Imagine this, you're playing a game like Counter-Strike 2, where a lag of a few milliseconds can mean a lost match. In this scenario, if your speed tanks suddenly, you might see an enemy late, which can cause you to lose the fight.

In gaming, stable internet speeds are always better than fast speeds. I found this out the hard way when I thought there was something wrong with my internet connection when I used to play Hearthstone on my laptop.

I use Spectrum Internetlink outside website, so I called their customer support. They told me that I should try using an Ethernet connection for online gaming. Since then, my Hearthstone sessions have been smooth like butter.

Better Range and Security

Ethernet cables have a better range compared to a WiFi connection. A Cat6 cable can support 1Gbpslink outside website speed over 100 Meters, whereas a WiFi connection only has a range of 45 meters. Physical obstructions like walls or cabinets can reduce the range of WiFi significantly.

Ethernet also creates a direct connection to the modem, which means that no one will be able to intercept your connection and eavesdrop on your transmitted data. Ethernet is also much easier to connect as you can just plug in the cable to your computer, whereas a WiFi connection requires you to enter the password.

Less Latency

Latency is the time data takes to reach a server and come back to you. Less latency means a much more responsive connection.

When playing online games, half of the battle is about who has the better internet. Going back to the Counter-Strike example. Let's say you and your enemy shoot at each other at the same time. There isn't even a millisecond difference in the shot time.

But your enemy has a 20ms latency, whereas your internet has a latency of 60ms. So, who do you think will get shot first? It's going to be you.

Having an Ethernet connection almost always has a lower latency, meaning there are fewer chances of you being the one who gets shot.

Why Is WiFi Better for Online Gaming?

WiFi is always going to be more convenient than a wired connection. Who wants to lug around a laptop with a wire around the house when you can have a wireless connection, right?


A WiFi connection is almost always more convenient when compared to a wired connection. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of using a WiFi connection for gaming.

Pros Cons
No Need for Wires Means Less Clutter Dropped Connections
Allows Connection From Anywhere in the House Speed Can Be Slow and Inconsistent
Most Devices Support WiFi Latency Issues

Convenience and Compatibility

Compatibility is one factor where WiFi trumps Ethernet. Nowadays, most devices have WiFi support but don’t support Ethernet. After all, when was the last time you saw a smartphone with an Ethernet port?

Thankfully, you can use an Ethernet adapterlink outside website, which can be used to connect Ethernet cables to mobile devices. But is it something you want to do? Instead, you can connect to WiFi and enjoy almost the same speeds as an Ethernet connection.

Multiple Connections

Most WiFi routers only have 4-8 Ethernet ports for physical connections. On the other hand, you can connect more than 20 wireless devices to a router at the same time.

To have multiple connections to the same internet device, you will need to get an Ethernet switch. So, if you’re someone who often hosts local multiplayer gaming sessions at their house, using WiFi instead of Ethernet can be a smart choice.

Less Clutter

WiFi doesn’t have any cables or switch boxes, which means there’s no clutter. In ancient times, desks used to be an “electronic jungle” with wires coming out and into WiFi devices and computers.

With WiFi, you can have dozens of connections from different parts of the house without the need for a single wire.

So, Which One Is Better for Gaming?

There isn't one answer for everyone. The preferred method of connection can change based on your needs. However, I recommend using an Ethernet wired connection for gaming as it provides full speeds, lag-free connection, and less latency.

The Ethernet wire you choose dependslink outside website on the internet connection you have. For 100Mbps or less, I recommend using a Cat5 cable. Try using a Cat6 cable if you have internet speeds higher than 100Mbps.

Wrapping Up

By now, we know that an Ethernet connection is generally the better option for gaming. However, connecting your computer to a router can be impractical if your router is in another room.

So, if you’re a gamer who needs the best stable internet speeds, consider moving your router or investing in a longer Ethernet connection from your router to the PC.