What are the pros and cons of Ethernet?
Wireless internet has become so established that we collectively lose sight of the Ethernet cable, called an ethernetkabel in Dutch. Yet most laptops and just about all computers still have an Ethernet port. Will those gates soon be turned into memories so that we can tell the next generation about those "good old days when the internet was still wired"?
Hopefully not, because connections via Ethernet still have many advantages. However, the cables scare a lot of people off, and for good reason. Running a cable takes time and effort, and it's not always possible to keep things accessible yet out of sight. Below you will find two pros and two cons of Ethernet.
A connection with an Ethernet cable is not only cheaper, it is also more stable. After all, Ethernet is not subject to interference. The cable runs from the device you want to connect to the router, while the internet signal remains at full strength. In addition, an Ethernet cable is a lot faster than a classic wireless b/g or n connection. Gigabit Ethernet, which is the standard today, as the name suggests, can handle speeds of up to 1000 megabits or 125 megabytes per second. The most widespread Wi-Fi standard is wireless n. In ideal situations, such a Wi-Fi network can achieve transfer speeds of 300 megabits or 37.5 megabytes per second, which is much slower than Gigabit Ethernet.
The biggest disadvantage of Ethernet cables is the compatibility with other devices. Laptops, desktops, digiboxes and even TVs usually have a network port, but tablets and smartphones do not. The only way to connect those devices to your home network is via Wi-Fi. However, that does not mean that you can write off Ethernet. In practice, a combined solution is often the most economical. Devices that you don't move, such as desktop computers or television sets, are best connected to your router via an Ethernet cable. This way you can be sure of optimal performance without malfunctions.
Ethernet cables are not only cheap and fast, they are also more secure. A wireless network, even when it is secured, can be hacked by someone in range. The old WEP encryption is as leaky as a sieve, and you should by no means use it, but the WPA2 security standard that you currently find on most wireless networks is not watertight either. Wi-Fi transmits and receives rays over a wide range, which is an inherent security risk.
The main disadvantage of cabling is the initial work associated with it. You have to physically run Ethernet cables from the device you want to connect to your router, which isn't necessarily around the corner. That is, you can get on your knees to put the wiring under the carpet, or bring out the drill to drill the necessary holes through the wall. Fortunately, you are not hindered by the cost of a cable: for ten euros you can buy a cable of 50 meters long. Ideally, you will already be pulling the cabling through the walls of your new building, but for 99 percent of people reading this, that is no longer possible.