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Wireless or Wired Internet: Which Is Faster?


Expert Author David S Phillips
It used to be that work and home networks were generally set up using a wired connection. However, with the exponential growth in internet usage in recent years, internet companies are now doing everything in their power to compete and have an edge. They are offering options to go wireless, and are dishing out hardware that will allow you to connect from virtually anywhere. They promise more convenience and reliability to go online wirelessly, connecting you to broadband and 3G mobile networks through USB ports. If you are considering getting or changing your current internet connection and speed is one of your top priorities then before committing to a plan, you will need to ask, wireless or wired internet: which is faster?
While wireless internet is extremely convenient and hassle free, the speed you get from it is less than optimal compared to wired internet. Many people are willing to override this factor because they believe that the advantages of surfing the web wirelessly outweigh its lack of speed. However for many others this could be an issue. Although, wireless internet is here to stay, it is worth remembering that at least for now, wired connections are faster than wireless ones. Here is the breakdown as to why this is.
One of the reasons that wired internet is faster than wireless is that the Ethernet hubs, switches and cables and other equipment are very reliable and sturdy. The only hurdle you might have of course is tripping over a running cable that provides your internet, other than that your wired connection has almost nothing that could impeded from reaching maximal speeds. Wireless internet on the other hand is very vulnerable to interferences. For example many household appliances such as microwaves, cordless phones that use the same radio frequencies can interrupt the transmission being sent from the wireless router. Also the signal strength depends on how close you are to the router and you have more risks with the connection being dropped for other reasons.
In terms of performance, the type of connection that a wired network has to the router and higher bandwidth makes it faster than wireless internet. Wireless networks work on half-duplex mode, meaning that it can't send and receive at the same time and that no two devices can send data at the same time. Also the more users you have on the network, the slower the internet. On the other hand a wired connection has a full-duplex connection to the router and can send and receive data in parallel. Bandwidth also plays a big role in how fast your internet is. If you have a high speed but not enough bandwidth you can't really take advantage of it and most wireless networks have less bandwidth than wired networks.
Finally, the speeds themselves vary greatly between wired and wireless networks. A wired LAN can boast speeds up to 100Mbps or even more; however wireless internet has not yet been able to reach more than 54 Mbps.
So it really comes down to convenience, because when it comes to speed it's a no brainer. Wired networks are not only much faster, but they are also more cheap and reliable. Wireless however has the major advantage of allowing you to move while enjoying your internet experience.
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