Wired vs. Wireless Video Game Networks

Which option is ideal for your gaming needs?

Person with headphones playing video games

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Nearly all modern video games feature some online functionality whether it be multiplayer modes, scoreboards, or downloadable content. To access this content, you need either a wired or wireless internet connection, but which is the better option for online gaming? The answer depends on your budget and personal preferences.

Information in this article applies broadly to video game consoles and PC gaming.

Overall Findings

Wired
  • Faster and more reliable connection.

  • Cables restrict mobility and add clutter.

Wireless
  • Connect and play from anywhere in your home.

  • Unreliable connections can cause lag and game interruptions.

Choosing between a wired and wireless network depends mainly on how serious you are as a gamer. If you require speed and consistent, reliable connections, then you will almost certainly need a wired broadband connection. If you prefer convenience and would like to minimize clutter, or if you want to be able to play from anywhere within your home, then a decent wireless connection will do fine.

Wired Video Game Networks

Advantages
  • Faster and more reliable connection.

  • Cheaper than high-speed wireless.

  • No need to set up a router.

Disadvantages
  • Cables restrict mobility and flexibility.

  • More cables means more clutter.

  • Wiring the whole house can get complicated and expensive.

Although most homes have wireless internet networks, wireless networks aren't as reliable as traditional wired setups. Therefore, if you're used to playing MMO games that require a persistent connection, then plugging your PC or console into your modem with an Ethernet cable is the best way to go.

Play Video Games on a Wireless Network

Advantages
  • Play games online from anywhere inside or outside the home.

  • Fewer cables mean less clutter.

Disadvantages
  • Unreliable connections can cause lag and game interruptions.

  • High speed wireless plans are expensive in some areas.

Wireless internet connections make online gaming more convenient, but they come at a cost—namely, a reliable connection that does not lag. Moreover, high-speed wireless subscriptions can be expensive.

Wired vs. Wireless Gaming: Which Is Right for You?

If you regularly play online games over a Wi-Fi connection, you may be able to improve your experience by connecting the console or PC directly to the modem. If you only periodically use online features in games, then a wireless connection should suffice. When downloading large game files, switch to a wired connection to prevent interruptions.