Hardwired ethernet connection with fiber internet may be better than connecting via Wi-Fi for volume data users who need high amounts of bandwidth for internet surfing. Wi-Fi or wireless internet is still a fine connection option for users who do casual searching, streaming or gaming.
Do You Have to Pick One or the Other?
Fiber internet and Wi-Fi are not mutually exclusive connection options. Most businesses and households connect the internet that comes into their home (whether it’s fiber, DSL, satellite or cable) to a Wi-Fi router that then provides Wi-Fi connectivity to anyone within the router’s range. You can use both fiber internet and Wi-Fi, but you can also plug a computer or smart television directly into a router with an ethernet cable for the fastest possible connection.
Fiber internet and Wi-Fi (or home wireless connections), have several key differences. The most important thing that sets them apart is the way they transmit data.
Fiber internet utilizes fiber optic cables that are filled with small glass or plastic wires. Pulses of light are sent through those wires to transfer data, resulting in optimal data transfer speeds, high bandwidth and low latency internet connections.
Wi-Fi utilizes radio signals from a wireless router that are sent to individual devices on the network. The signal is then returned to the router, which creates the pathway to the internet for each connected device.
Wi-Fi is far more convenient than physically plugging into a router with ethernet since you aren’t tethered to a specific spot, but using ethernet connections isn’t at all cumbersome for televisions or desktops that are, by their nature, relatively static. Most mobile devices, whether it’s a tablet or a smart phone, don’t have ethernet ports and must connect to Wi-Fi or a cellular network to access the internet.
Whether or not plugging into a router or using Wi-Fi is better depends largely on the device and how you’re using it.
Is Fiber Internet Faster?
Some may consider fiber internet connected to a computer with ethernet the best internet option because it is faster than Wi-Fi. Fiber internet is the fastest data connection available on the market currently, which makes it the ideal choice for streaming content and gamers who need lag-free connections. It’s worth noting that fiber internet connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network offers more than enough bandwidth to stream high definition or even 4K content but may require buffering if multiple people are using the same network to download large files, video conference or game.
Fiber internet can deliver data at faster speeds to your router, which results in faster Wi-Fi overall. It can maintain strong connections even during peak hours and does not falter even when multiple users are accessing the network.
Wi-Fi networks are at a disadvantage when it comes to speed because too many users accessing the network can cause delays. You may even experience impacted browsing speeds in your Wi-Fi service because there’s only a fixed amount of bandwidth.
Fixed bandwidth is shared between each user, so if a certain user is doing higher bandwidth tasks, such as using cloud-sharing apps or taking Zoom calls, it will slow down the network speed for everyone connected.
Fiber optic bandwidth allows data to travel at nearly the speed of light without attenuation. This means data transfer is continuously processed without the reduction of its speed or quality.
Fiber can reach speeds of up to 6000 megabits per second (Mbps.) Compare this to other internet connectivity types including:
- Cable: up to 1.5Gbps
- 5G: up to 1Gbps
- Fixed Wireless: average of 1000 Mbps
- DSL: Up to 100 Mbps
Fiber Internet with Wi-Fi: Best for Multi-Device Households and Businesses
Fiber with Wi-Fi is the perfect blend of speed, bandwidth and the quality with the flexibility to connect anywhere within the router’s range. If you have fiber internet, any limits you experience will usually be due to the quality of your Wi-Fi router and specific building characteristics that interfere with its signal strength.
For households that have several devices connecting to the network at one time, fiber is a great choice. With fiber optic internet, you won’t experience speed and lagging that may happen with several devices tuned in simultaneously.
For businesses that rely on cloud software apps like Zoom, fiber optic internet connections with ethernet connections may be a better choice, at least for desktops or conference room displays that aren’t moved often. Because of their ability to have virtually unlimited bandwidth, having multiple Zoom meetings going at one time would not restrict a fiber optic connection.
Fiber internet with a direct connection from a router to a computer via an ethernet cable is also good for gamers who want to eliminate latency as much as possible or are downloading large files.
Switch to Fiber Internet with Hunter Communications
Want the fastest internet for your home and Wi-Fi? With Hunter Communications, we can help you select the best residential internet package for you, including high-speed fiber and fixed wireless plans. If you’re located in Oregon or parts of Northern California, connect with us online to see if we service your address.