Are you suffering from high latency or a low WiFi signal causing lag or total loss of connection?
Then an Ethernet cable might be just the fix for your online gaming troubles. However, Ethernet cables can be a nuisance in other ways which you may have not considered.
As avid gamers ourselves, we know the struggles that come along with gaming online. And one of the biggest factors of your online gaming experience is your internet connection, so you want to make sure it’s as solid as possible.
In this article, we will be covering all the main points for and against gaming over Ethernet rather than WiFi, which type of Ethernet cable is the best, and how it will affect your performance in game.
So enough of the blah blah blah, let’s get into it!
Is Ethernet Better for Gaming?
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Ethernet Cable?
Ethernet cables offer you much higher bandwidth and lower latency than WiFi. Reaching speeds of up to 40GB/s, Ethernet speeds tower over even the best gaming modem/routers, which, theoretically, are capable of up to 6.5GB/s.
Though, in the real world, WiFi speeds are typically much lower due to factors such as distance from your modem and obstacles hindering the signal.
But it’s not all roses and sunshine when it comes to Ethernet cables either. While Ethernet cables offer high speed and lower latency, you have to take cable management into account.
If your modem is on the other side of the room, no biggie. Just run the cable along the wall and floor (or ceiling) to reach your gaming PC. But, if you have to snake a cable all the way through the house to reach your gaming room, that might not be an appealing option.
There is a solution to this. There are devices called Powerline Network Adapters which convert the Ethernet data coming out of your modem into electric pulses which can be picked up at any outlet in your house using a pair of adapters.
These are simple Plug-n-Play devices, so all you have to do is plug them into your wall outlet and insert an Ethernet cable. This is a much cheaper alternative to having Ethernet cables installed throughout your house. With these adapters, you can use as many as you want, so every room has a direct connection.
You can find these online to have a hardwired connection. However, the converters lower your bandwidth but still offer the same reliability. While they may not be as ideal as a straight connection to the modem, the converters are still a viable option over slow, intermittent WiFi connections.
What is the Fastest Ethernet Cable?
The fastest Ethernet cables as of 2022 are Cat8 cables. These Ethernet cables were designed for data centers and enterprises to transmit vast amounts of data while reducing cross talk and electromagnetic interference while still employing the standard RJ-45 interface.
If you’re looking for the fastest and most reliable Ethernet cables for gaming, then Cat8 is hands down the best. Cat8 (or Category 8) Ethernet cables are thicker and more robust than their predecessors. They also employ new techniques such as improved shielding against interferences resulting in faster, more accurate data transfer.
Cat8 cables can reach speeds of up to 40GB/s over 328 feet (100 meters) which outclasses Cat7 cables tenfold. But all that bandwidth will go untouched when used as your internet gaming pipeline. As we said, Cat8 was meant for extremely high throughput for servers and data centers.
In reality, Cat7 or Cat6a Ethernet cables are more ideal. This is due to how rigid Cat8 cables are and their overachieving nature. Thanks to the cable’s reluctance to bend and fit into tight spaces, Cat8 cables are a pain to manage.
Plus, Cat8 Ethernet cables were designed for massive amounts of throughput, which home networks are not capable of, making them overkill for gaming.
Does Gaming Require a Cat8?
No, gaming of any level doesn’t require a Cat8 cable to achieve the best possible experience. Just because something is the best of the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for ALL implementations. But if you’re one of those people who need the best, Cat8 is the newest and fastest Ethernet iteration to date.
However, other than a stronger cable that is less susceptible to breaking and a sense of superiority, gaming with a Cat8 Ethernet cable will reap no additional benefits over a Cat7.
Cat7 Ethernet cables offer speeds of up to 10GB/s and are just as reliable as Cat8 cables. Furthermore, Cat7 cables are less expensive and have plenty of headroom for technological growth, though maybe less headroom than Cat8. But for gaming, Cat8 Ethernet is just way too much, in our opinion.
If you’re looking for a reliable connection with killer bandwidth, you will be just as happy with a Cat7 cable. We would even recommend Cat6a cables for gaming as there is virtually no difference between the two. Both offer more bandwidth than most home networks can even produce and are much more wallet-friendly when compared to Cat8 Ethernet cables.
Do Ethernet Cables Increase FPS?
No, ethernet cables do not increase your FPS, not even a little bit. FPS is tied to your machine and its internal components and not the bandwidth of your home network. However, this doesn’t mean switching to Ethernet won’t improve your game.
Wifi loses strength, speed, and suffers packet loss the farther away you are from the modem/router. This is due to signal loss as it travels through your home to reach your computer or console.
Upgrading to an Ethernet cable can greatly reduce your latency and packet loss resulting in a much smoother online experience. If you are wanting to game like the pros, then we recommend getting a gaming modem/router and using a wired Ethernet connection for the smoothest possible gameplay.
There are a few ways to increase FPS if you are struggling, however. The easiest way is by lowering the in-game graphics settings. Just try reducing the settings a little at a time until you find an acceptable frame rate.
The second way is by upgrading your GPU. This is an expensive option, but it’s the most efficient way to drastically increase your frame rate permanently. If you’ve lowered your settings and are either unhappy with the graphics or can’t achieve frame rates fast enough to be bearable and you can’t afford a new GPU, you can try overclocking your CPU and GPU.
This is an advanced method and not for the faint of heart. Overclocking incorrectly can permanently damage your components, effectively turning them into very expensive paperweights.
Why is My Ethernet Slower Than WiFi?
If you are experiencing slower Ethernet speeds, this can be due to factors such as a damaged cable, outdated firmware or drivers, or you’re using outdated or faulty equipment.
The first thing we would recommend is checking your Ethernet cable for damage. This is the most likely culprit for reduced speeds.
If you’ve checked your cable, or you know it’s new, we suggest making sure the firmware of your modem is up to date. You can do this by logging into the modem on a computer that is connected via Ethernet. Type your modem’s IP address in your browser’s address bar. You can find the IP address on the modem itself along with all the login information, like username and password, if they haven’t been changed already.
Due to the fact that each modem manufacturer has a different user interface, you may need to research further on the process for your particular modem. But there is an update firmware option in all of them somewhere, sometimes it’s just hidden in the “Advanced” tab.
Lastly, we suggest you check your network drivers on your PC to ensure they are up to date. If you are on Windows 10, right-click the start menu and select Device manager.
Next, you need to select the network adapters tab and find your driver. Right-click on the driver for your device and choose the update driver option. This will automatically scan the driver to check if it’s out of date and begin the update process if there is a new version available.
If all of these options have failed you, then it’s likely a problem with your equipment. At this point, it’s probably a faulty RJ-45 connector at either your machine or the router. Try plugging in a laptop or game console to the router. If it works fine, then it’s more than likely your computer’s Ethernet port.
If your second device shows the same results, then your modem’s to blame. Try plugging your cable into a different port on the router. If the problem persists, contact your ISP for help if the modem/router is on loan. If you own your own, bad news, you might need to buy a new one.
When it comes to gaming, we all want the fastest connection available. And the fastest, most reliable way to game is a direct connection to the internet via Ethernet. The answer to the looming question “Is Ethernet better for gaming than WiFi?” is an overwhelming yes.
Using an Ethernet cable is vastly superior to WiFi in all aspects except for one–versatility. With WiFi, there are no cables, and you can be as mobile as you want within its sphere of influence. But due to the nature of wireless internet, WiFi is less reliable and is limited to a lower bandwidth when compared to Ethernet.
This concludes our article, we hope this explanation helps you understand how to improve your online gaming adventures. In our experience, switching from WiFi to Ethernet provides a difference akin to going from a 60Hz monitor to a 144Hz monitor, basically night and day.
If you have any comments, or questions, or need help choosing a cable that’s right for you, please feel free to leave a comment, and a member of our team will be more than happy to assist you.