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Mea­sur­ing speed in a Wi-Fi con­text is dif­fi­cult, as through­put and lag are of­ten de­pen­dent on which spe­cific de­vices are at ei­ther end of the ar­gu­ment. Get a MU-MIMO router and a wire­less card that sup­ports mul­ti­ple chan­nels, keep them free of ob­struc­tions, and there’s no rea­son you can’t achieve through­put way be­yond the max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of your broad­band con­nec­tion. Mesh might not be quite as easy, be­cause there needs to be a back­haul chan­nel man­ag­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the nodes. If, like Linksys’s Velop, there’s no ded­i­cated wire­less ra­dio for this pur­pose, you may find in­ter-de­vice com­mu­ni­ca­tion slightly slower in busy pe­ri­ods. Un­less, that is, you choose to do your haul­ing via Eth­er­net, at which point, the ar­gu­ment turns on a dime.

Eth­er­net, even if your home is strung up with drilled-through last­cen­tury Cat 5, should be able to sup­port Gi­ga­bit net­work­ing. It’s faster than even wire­less. Max­i­mum through­put de­pends on the qual­ity of ca­bling as well as rat­ing, and if you’re in­stalling to­day, you’d be a fool not to string up some 10G-com­pat­i­ble Cat 6, which im­proves Eth­er­net’s sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to crosstalk, as well as boost­ing its top speed.

Win­ner: Eth­er­net

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