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Ethernet vs. Internet: What’s the Difference? (Explained)

When it is time to hook up to the internet in your home or office, there are a few different options that you can choose. Most will choose to work with the internet, but there are some times, such as when security is very important, where ethernet is a better option as well. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two can help you make a decision.

What is the Difference Between Ethernet vs. Internet?

Ethernet and internet will be similar in terms of helping provide a connection to the internet, but they will use different tools. For example, the internet is the WAN, or Wide Access Network, while ethernet is a LAN, or Local Area Network.

Another difference is how they will connect online. The internet is going to be a global connection of different devices that you can access. On the other hand, ethernet is a method to establish a connection between devices that are close to one another.


What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is a local area connection that will require you to have a hardwired connection to the internet. There are several varieties to choose including 10-gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and Fast Ethernet based on the speeds that you need.

While many companies like to use Ethernet because it is more secure and stable compared to Wi-Fi, it is often more expensive to set up. And the computer system will need to be hooked up via wires, which can restrict a lot of movement around the company.

Using Ethernet to Connect to the Internet

You will be able to connect to the Ethernet through a wired connection. This makes for a more secure connection compared to wireless, but will mean you must do the work in one location, rather than having a chance to move around and do the work where you would like. Businesses may have to choose between security or portability.

What is the Internet?

A Brief History of the Internet

The internet was originally started in the 1960s as a way for government researchers to share information with one another. The computers in the 60’s were large and couldn’t be moved. For someone to get information off one computer, they had to either travel to the computer site or have magnetic computer tapes sent through the mail. This could be difficult to accomplish. The invention of the internet helped to solve that problem, giving these government researchers a way to share the information in an easy manner.

range extender vs wifi access point

What The Internet Can Be Used For

There are many things that consumers can use the internet for to help them make life easier, entertainment and more. Some of the most common things that consumers will use the internet for includes:

  • Search for information and browse the web
  • News
  • Social networking
  • Entertainment
  • File and data transfer
  • Communicating
  • Business promotion
  • Earning online
  • Online shopping
  • Remote work
  • Education
  • Dating

It is possible that the consumer will spend many hours online based on their work or how they spend their time being entertained.

Ways to Connect to the Internet

There are different ways that we are able to connect to the internet. The two most common options are wired and wireless. With a wired connection, the user will need to have a physical connection to their modem or router in order to receive the internet, such as what we see with an Ethernet connection.

Most users will rely on a wireless connection when they go online. This connection allows them to move around and still maintain a connection to the internet, which can be beneficial in our modern world, though it may be less secure.


What is Wi-Fi?

While many consumers enjoy Wi-Fi in their homes, many are not sure what this even means. Wi-Fi is simply a wireless networking protocol that a device can use to communicate with one another, without any direct cable connections. It is a type of LAN protocol that is based on the 802.11 IEEE network standard. Those who use Wi-Fi will not need to hook into a modem or router, which means it is not a wired, or ethernet, type of connection.

How Should You Connect to the Internet? Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi

There are many arguments for both directions and deciding which one is right for you can be a challenge. Understanding the benefits of each can make this easier.

The Differences Between Ethernet and Wi-Fi

The main difference between Ethernet and Wi-Fi is that the Ethernet connection will be wired, or will have the device hooked into a modem or router to receive internet, and Wi-Fi will be wireless, which allows the user to walk around or go to different locations and still get the connection they need. Ethernet is often seen as more secure than Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi is more convenient for most people.

Internet Factors That Affect Speeds

  • Consumers may notice that there are different internet factors that can determine the speed they can get. Some of these include:
  • The connection type: The type of connection you have will determine the speed you get.
  • Hardware: The network equipment you use can affect the speed. Ethernet is often faster than Wi-Fi for example.
  • How many users: The more people trying to get onto the network, the slower the speed.
  • The software you run: If you have many apps running, then it can slow down the internet speed.
  • Your plan: You may have an internet plan that does not allow for very fast internet speeds.
  • Location of the router: Ethernet often wins here because the computer is closer to the router than it would be with Wi-Fi.
  • Web browser: The web browser that you choose will often determine the response time.
  • Host server: When you browse the internet on more than one site, you will log onto a host server. This could influence the speed.

How Much Faster is Ethernet?

Ethernet is able to handle data speeds faster than a wireless connection. Because the computer or device is actually hooked up into the router, it can transfer and handle data faster than you can with a wireless connection, which can take more time to connect.

Benefits of Connecting with Ethernet

There are a number of benefits for connecting your computer via Ethernet. These benefits include:

  • Consistent speed that will not lag or get stuck.
  • Security that is much higher than Wi-Fi.
  • Less latency so you get things up and running in no time.
  • Easier to use and fewer complications.

Benefits of Connecting with Wi-Fi

There are some benefits that come with choosing Wi-Fi over Ethernet, which is why many homes choose to do this. Some of the benefits include:

  • It is convenient to not have to use wires or cords to get online.
  • You can get access to the internet without needing to be close to the router.
  • There is no need for a port on the device to get the internet.

Can I Use Ethernet and Wi-Fi?

It is possible to connect the device to Wi-Fi and Ethernet at the same time, but you will need to make modifications to the settings on your computer to allow this to happen. It will take some configuration and can be difficult. This will not help improve the speed of your internet and in most cases, it makes the most sense to stick with one connection instead of multiple.

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