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When ethernet is the best bet

Published: April 15, 2020

WiFi, or a wireless connection, is flexible, convenient and makes life easy. But have you ever wondered about using those extra sockets on your modem? You can run an ethernet cable connection that is highly reliable and even faster! Let’s explore the basics.

What does ethernet look like?

An ethernet cable looks like much a phone cable, but thicker, because it contains more wires under the skin. These cables plug into ethernet ports, which are a little bigger than phone sockets. You may have heard them called CAT5 (Category 5) and CAT6 (Category 6) – these are abbreviations used in stores – the latter can be run over a much greater distance.

How do I connect using ethernet?

First, you’ll need an ethernet cable and a device to connect to, ensuring that it is equipped with an ethernet port. Luckily, a cable is often included with a modem purchase – you just need to make sure it’s long enough for your needs. If there isn’t an ethernet cable in the box they can be purchased at electronics or computer stores.

One end of the cable should be plugged in to the ethernet port on your device, which is usually found on the back or the side of the machine. The other end of the ethernet cable should be plugged into the ethernet port on your modem. In each case, push the plug firmly into the port and it will snap into place. A green light should flash on your modem, showing that the connection is working correctly and you’re good to go.

When should I use ethernet for my connection?

  1. When your device is more or less permanent: If you have a desktop computer or smart TV that stays in one place, which happens to be near your modem, you may consider using ethernet instead of WiFi. The direct connection to your modem will be fast and reliable, which you’ll really notice when streaming 4K or HD video – plus you’ll free up your WiFi for other connected devices in the home!
  2. When you need consistency: A WiFi signal can be affected by all sorts of things – for example, did you know that nearby devices, such as old bore pumps or electric motors on the property, can put out unwelcome electromagnetic interference while running, temporarily drowning out your signal? Ethernet can offer a more dependable connection in this instance. It allows you to transfer data consistently, without interruption or interference (home office users, take note)!
  3. When latency is not an option: Latency is when data traffic is delayed during its journey from a device to its destination. There’s nothing worse than an unstable connection during gaming. Latency, or lag, can bring gamers to a frustrating standstill during a very important moment!

When shouldn’t I use ethernet for my connection?

  1. If you’re using a mobile device or super thin laptop: Smart phones and tablets don’t usually have ethernet ports, and the profile of some modern laptops is so sleek that they aren’t equipped with one either. It’s just not part of the design. You’ll depend on WiFi or Bluetooth for your usual connections – unless you own a USB network adapter that accepts an ethernet cable.
  2. When it’s not practical: The best place for your modem is in the middle of the house, often the kitchen. Depending on your home’s layout, it might be awkward to set up a computer near your modem for a cable connection. If you move your laptop around often and between different rooms, WiFi is easier and simpler.
  3. Before you’ve had professional cabling installed: Running offices cables in some places, such as across the living room carpet or hallway floor, is a safety hazard, so if you’d like to run ethernet cabling through your home, make sure you call on the services of a professional cabler. This will keep the cables tucked away neatly in the walls or ceiling enabling you to run ethernet over long distances, perhaps to a study or bedroom upstairs!

Our verdict: Ethernet provides a strong connection and is supported by all computer manufacturers worldwide. If you’re looking for rock solid stability and fast speeds, it’s worth looking into!

Do you need help troubleshooting your internet connection? Try our in-home internet assessment service, designed to help you get the most from your connection and turbocharge your internet! Did you know we’re experts in computers, tablets and all kinds of peripheral devices too? Call our tech support team. They’ll talk you through how to set up your devices for success!