Linux Format



You can’t beat Ethernet for simplicity. Just run a cable from one socket to another and boom, the connection is made. Assuming the devices at either end are correctly configured, the link speed, addressing and routing should all be sorted out automatica­lly.

You don’t need to worry about keeping up with the latest high-end standards either; a £5 cable is all you need to get the fastest speeds. There’s no confusion about different plugs and sockets, as with USB – with the exception of high-end enterprise-grade hardware, all Ethernet links use standard RJ45 (registered jack) connectors, with handy plastic latches to ensure the cables can’t be accidental­ly yanked out.

Ethernet is more secure than Wi-Fi. Yes, the latest WPA3 wireless security protocol makes it all but impossible for an intruder to spy on your Wi-Fi connection, but not all devices support it – and even if a spy can’t get into your wireless network, they can infer things from its name, signal strength, traffic patterns and so forth. With Ethernet, there’s no way for anyone to snoop on your data, unless they can gain access to the physical cables and connectors.

Ethernet is almost always faster than wireless. The latest Wi-Fi routers provide high speeds over a short distance, but carry your laptop into the next room and performanc­e quickly drops off. A Gigabit Ethernet connection can reliably keep up a data rate of around 100MB/s over any length of cable, up to a huge 100 metres – and as we discuss in the main text, there are variants that can go far faster.

Ethernet provides a rock-solid, consistent connection, with only tiny variations in the data rate compared to wireless. Environmen­tal interferen­ce is a non-issue, and you don’t normally need to worry about network congestion either; while wireless routers have to divide up their bandwidth between any number of clients, every Ethernet connection represents a dedicated full-speed lane.

As well as higher headline speeds, Ethernet has much lower latency than wireless. On a home network, you might see a ping time of 5ms when pinging the router from a laptop connected over Wi-Fi; when you plug in an Ethernet cable, that plummets to 0.8ms. This doesn’t make a huge difference for online gaming, as the latency of the connection to the remote server is a much bigger factor, but it can have a subtle effect on how snappy and responsive your system feels when accessing local networked resources.

 ?? ?? USB adaptors are cheap and readily available. The highest of speeds demands the latest cables; here’s a sexy CAT8 cable.
USB adaptors are cheap and readily available. The highest of speeds demands the latest cables; here’s a sexy CAT8 cable.
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