Wi-Fi, Ethernet or Power Outlet Broadband Connection Pros and Cons

Youve bought your computer or tablet and chosen an Internet service provider to provide high speed broadband connection. However, you still have one more major decision to make how will you connect your hardware to your broadband network. The three most common modes of connection are Ethernet cord, Wi-Fi connection and power outlet connection. Each mode has its advantages and its disadvantages. Your particular circumstances will play a large part in determining the right choice for you.

Ethernet Connections

With an Ethernet connection, your hardware device is connected directly to your modem by an Ethernet cord. An Ethernet cord looks much like a regular telephone cord, except it is noticeably thicker. The jack for an Ethernet cord is also noticeably larger than that for a regular telephone cord.

Ethernet connections have two major advantages over Wi-Fi connections speed and security. Running your laptop with an Ethernet cord connected to your modem will almost surely result in a faster broadband transmission speeds than connecting to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection. In addition, since an Ethernet connection bridges your computer directly with your modem, there is much less chance of unauthorized access by freeloading neighbors or by baddies attempting to infect your computer and network with viruses, Trojans or spyware.

However, Ethernet connections have one major drawback they sharply limit where you can use your computer. Unless you intend to run a very long Ethernet cord, you must generally connect to the Internet in the same room where your modem is located. While this may not be an issue with a desktop computer, the need to be tethered to a modem effectively eliminates many of the advantages associated with a laptop.

Wi-Fi Connections

The main selling point of Wi-Fi broadband connections is its convenience. With a properly configured Wi-Fi network, you can use your laptop or tablet to connect to the Internet anywhere in your home. In many cases, you may even venture outside your home and still maintain satisfactory connection speeds. Wi-Fi connections are a must if you want to enjoy all the portability advantages of a laptop computer or a tablet. Desktop computers that are located far away from your network modem may also be adapted to connect to the Internet through a Wi-Fi connection. If youre a thrifty sort, you may also use your home Wi-Fi network to connect to the Internet on your mobile phone, saving loads of money over the equivalent usage through a mobile data plan.

However, Wi-Fi connections have two major drawbacks slower transmission speeds than Ethernet connections and security vulnerabilities. Even the fastest Wi-Fi connection is almost certainly considerably slower than any Ethernet connection. Under less than ideal conditions, Wi-Fi signals may encounter interference or heavy traffic that slow transmission speeds to a crawl. Interference or heavy traffic may also produce erratic Wi-Fi transmission, resulting in a less than satisfying experience when youre watching streaming video or listening to music online. Security is also an issue with Wi-Fi connections. Free riders are a prevalent problem with unsecured connections. Even well-secured Wi-Fi connections are more vulnerable to malicious attacks from viruses, Trojans and spyware than Ethernet connections.

Power Line Connections

Power line broadband connections represent a compromise of sorts between the convenience of Wi-Fi broadband networks and the security of Ethernet broadband connections. Power line connections establish a broadband network by sending network signals through your home wiring system. Instead of connecting your computer to the Internet through an Ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi network connection, you simply plug your computer into the nearest outlet.

With a power line broadband connection system, your computers can be located anywhere there is an electrical outlet. You are not limited to placing your computer in the same room as the modem or running a super long Ethernet cord across the floor. At the same time, you dont encounter the problem of interference of transmission signals that plague many Wi-Fi networks

The major drawback associated with power line connections is the cost. You must purchase a starter kit to connect your modem to the nearest electrical outlet. You must also purchase additional adapters for every device which you wish to connect to the Internet through your home network. If you have a desktop, a laptop, a gaming device and an Internet television, costs can add up very quickly.

You also have some of the limitations associated with an Ethernet connection, namely, you must be able to plug your device into an electrical outlet to access Internet connection. This limitation is of little consequence with desktop computers and even Internet television devices. However, the need to plug in can place a major damper on where and whether you can connect to the Internet with your laptop or tablet.

Sam Jones the author always likes to compare with uSwitch.com when looking for fibre optic broadband deals.


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