WiFi vs Ethernet Cable: Which One Should I Choose?

With the popularity of the mobile Internet in recent years, we’ve seen a large number of smart devices in our homes and offices connected to the Internet via WiFi. Then will WiFi outperform the capabilities of the traditional Ethernet cables? WiFi vs Ethernet cable, which one should I choose? What factors shall be taken into account before settling for one of these options? How does latency and interference affect the speed of WiFi and Ethernet? We’re gonna answer all these questions in this article.

What Is WiFi?

WiFi is a wireless technology that connects devices to the Internet without any physical wired connection. A WiFi connection is established using a wireless adapter to create hotspots in the vicinity of a wireless router that is connected to the network, allowing users to access Internet services. Once configured, WiFi provides wireless connectivity to your devices by emitting frequencies between 2.4GHz – 5GHz, based on the amount of data on the network.

WiFi vs Ethernet Cable

What Is Ethernet Cable?

An Ethernet cable is a copper wire which connects devices like PCs, routers, and switches in wired networks. Given that these are physical cables, Ethernet cables have their limitations, both in the distance that they can stretch and in their durability over usage. There are different types of Ethernet cables such as Cat5e Ethernet cable, Cat6 Ethernet cable, Cat7 Ethernet cable or Cat8 Ethernet cable optimised to perform certain tasks in particular situations.

Ethernet cable

WiFi vs Ethernet Cable: Which One Is Better?

Both wired and wireless networks come with pros and cons in particular situations. When it comes to the WiFi vs Ethernet cable discussion, have you ever taken time to consider what sort of network best suits your needs? Let’s bring clarity through a comparison over WiFi vs Ethernet cable from the following aspects.

Speed & Reliability

WiFi vs Ethernet cable speed is the biggest concern that matters to network subscribers. Ethernet cabling connections tend to be faster and more robust than WiFi. If you have the right cabling solution with Cat5e Ethernet cable, Cat6 Ethernet cable or higher, it means you’ve had all the insulation you’ll need to prevent crosstalk, thus helping you to get more reliable signals. WiFi, on the other hand, is somewhat slower but has the convenience of being able to be used from your laptop or tablet anywhere within the range of a wireless access point. Therefore, WiFi is the first choice for anyone who intends to connect to the Internet and get online within reach. However, If you are someone who loves downloading torrents or watching online movies, then Ethernet is the technology you might want to consider.

Latency & Interference

Latency is the delay with which traffic travels from a device to its destination. Latency is vital when playing games, because the reaction time must be quick, and the same goes in the IoT (Internet of Things) data world. If you want to avoid irritating lags or delay while posting data, then an Ethernet connection is the right choice. Interference is another disadvantageous thing that WiFi faces. With the technology taking over the world, we have so much wireless interference in our house from WiFi router, TV, smart phone, setup box, game consoles, etc. The interference does not let your WiFi signal stay isolated from the other signals affecting your WiFi. However, there are no such effects in Ethernet cables. Thus, in the war of WiFi vs Ethernet cable, Ethernet connection offers the advantage of much lower latency and interference.


Using the Ethernet cable is much pricier than using WiFi because the wired network is often more expensive to install than a wireless network. The cost of wired networks comes in the form of installation charges and cabling. Since each workstation and device in the office that needs a connection requires a wire running to it, the size of your office space affects the cost of a wired network.


In the war of WiFi vs Ethernet cable, there are many plot elements which form the deciding factors in choosing one over the other. These factors mentioned above are perceived individually by the individual users. If you are someone who regularly download/upload large files and participate in gaming, then the Ethernet cable would be worth the connection. If you like to have mobility in your apartment and get online fast, then WiFi suits you better.

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24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet Cable: What Is the Difference?

An Ethernet cable serves the basic purpose to connect devices to wired networks. However, not all Ethernet cables are created equal. When shopping for Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a Ethernet cable, you may notice an AWG specification printed on the cable jacket, like 24AWG, 26AWG, or 28AWG. What does the term AWG denote? 24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable: what is the difference?

What Does AWG Mean?

The AWG stands for American Wire Gauge, a standardized system for describing the diameter of the individual conductors of wires that make up a cable. The higher the wire gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire. Thicker wire carries more current because it has less electrical resistance over a given length, which makes it better for longer distances. For this reason, where extended distance is critical, a company installing a network might prefer Ethernet wires with the lower-gauge, thicker wire of AWG24 rather than AWG26 or AWG28.

24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet Cable: What Is the Difference?

To understand the differences among 24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable with different AWG sizes, let’s take a look at how the wire gauge affects the wire conductor size, the transmission speed & distance as well as the resistance & attenuation.

Wire Diameter of Conductors

AWG is used as a standard method denoting wire diameter, measuring the diameter of the conductor (the bare wire) with the insulation removed. The smaller the gauge, the larger the diameter of the wire as listed in the chart below. The larger diameter of 24AWG network cable makes for a stronger conductor which is a benefit when being pulled on during installation or when routed through machines and other equipment.

AWG Wire Diameter
24 Gauge 0.0201 inches
26 Gauge 0.0159 inches
28 Gauge 0.0126 inches
Transmission Speed & Distance

The wire gauge of the Ethernet cable has no relationship with the transmission speed of the cables. So there are 24AWG, 26AWG and even 28AWG Cat5e Ethernet cable and Cat6 Ethernet cable on the market. Copper network cables with a smaller gauge (larger diameter) are typically available in longer lengths because they offer less resistance, allowing signals to travel farther. Therefore, the 24AWG Ethernet cable is the way to go especially for those longer runs, while the 26AWG and 28AWG Ethernet cable are more preferred for relatively shorter distances.

Resistance & Attenuation

The larger the diameter of a wire, the less electrical resistance there is for the signals it carries. A 24AWG network cable will offer less resistance than a 26AWG or 28AWG network cable. Since the 24AWG conductor is larger than 26AWG cable, it has lower attenuation over length properties. Thus when selecting between 24AWG vs 26AWG Ethernet cable, 24AWG would be preferable to 26AWG, because 24AWG Ethernet cable is more durable with lower attenuation than 26AWG Ethernet cable. All shielded (STP, FTP, SSTP) cables on the market are 26AWG and all unshielded cables are 24AWG or 28AWG.

However, you may also noticed that the thinner versions of Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a slim patch cables constructed of 28AWG wire have sprung up on the market. These slim Ethernet cables can be more than 25% smaller in diameter than their full-size counterparts. The 28AWG slim Ethernet cables with thinner wires improve airflow in high-density racks and can be more easily installed in crowded space compared to 24AWG or 26AWG Ethernet cables.

24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet Cable: Which Is Best?

24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable, which one is the best option for your network? The smaller the gauge, the larger the diameter of the wire. The larger the diameter of a wire, the less electrical resistance there is for the signals it carries. For long runs with more potential damage, the 24AWG Ethernet cable is the best, because it comes with stronger conductors with lower attenuation. If you’re considering to save more space, the 28AWG slim Ethernet cable would be more suitable to enable higher density layouts and simplify cable management.

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Common Types of 1000BASE SFP Transceivers

1000BASE SFP transceiver is a device that interfaces a network device motherboard to a fiber optic or copper networking cable. It is designed to support Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel and other communications standards. It can be intermixed in combinations of IEEE 802.3z- compliant 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX/LH, or 1000BASE-ZX interfaces on a port-by-port basis. Here are the most common types of 1000BASE SFP transceiver modules.

1000BASE-LX SFP Transceiver

LX stands for long wavelength. 1000BASE-LX is a physical layer specification for Gigabit Ethernet over fiber optic cabling as defined in 802.3z. 1000BASE-LX SFP transceiver uses long wavelength laser (1310 nm) over multi-mode and single-mode fiber. It is compatible with the IEEE 802.3z 1000BASE-LX standard and also supports dual data-rate of 1.25 Gbps/1.0625 Gbps with a transmission distance of 10/15/20 km. For example, HP JD119B compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP transceiver can achieve link distance of 10 km over single mode fiber. The transceiver consists of three sections: a Fabry-Perot laser transmitter, a PIN photodiode integrated with a trans-impedance preamplifier (TIA) and MCU control unit. It is commonly applied for Gigabit Ethernet links, Fibre Channel Switch Infrastructure and other optical transmission systems.

1000BASE-LH SFP Transceiver

Long Haul (LH) denotes longer distances while Long Wavelength (LX) denotes less energy which is obviously shorter distance. Before it was standardized 1000BASE-LX10 was essentially already in widespread use by many vendors as a proprietary extension called either 1000BASE-LX/LH or 1000BASE-LH. 1000BASE-LH SFP transceivers are high performance, cost effective modules supporting dual data-rate of 1.25Gbps and 70km transmission distance with single-mode fiber. This transceiver consists of three sections: a DFB laser transmitter, a APD photodiode integrated with a trans-impedance preamplifier (TIA) and MCU control unit. All modules satisfy class I laser safety requirements. The transceivers are compatible with SFP Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) and SFF-8472.

1000BASE-SX SFP Transceiver

SX stands for short wavelength. 1000BASE-SX is a physical layer specification for Gigabit Ethernet over fiber optic cabling as defined in 802.3z. SFP-1G85-5M-xx 1000BASE-SX SFP transceiver is a cost effective transceiver module with a wavelength of 850 nm which supports dual data-rate of 1.25 Gbps/1.0625 Gbps. It is compatible with the IEEE 802.3z 1000BASE-SX standard and operates multi-mode fibers link up to 550 m. This transceiver module consists of three sections: a VCSEL laser transmitter, a PIN photodiode integrated with a trans-impedance preamplifier (TIA) and MCU control unit. It is often applied for Fibre Channel links, Gigabit Ethernet links, Fast Ethernet links, etc. The following picture shows Fiberstore’s new Cisco SFP-GE-S compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP transceiver.

1000BASE-T SFP Transceiver

1000BASE-T is specified to run over four pairs of Category 5 balanced cabling. The 1000BASE-T SFP transceiver transmits data over four pairs of Category 5 twisted pair cables and is compatible with the Gigabit Ethernet and 1000BASE-T standards as specified in IEEE Std 802.3. For instance, HP 453154-B21 compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 transceiver for 100m reach over Cat 5 UTP cable uses the SFP’s RX_LOS pin for link indication and supports 1000BASE-T operation on the host system. The 1000BASE-T copper transceiver has become an attractive option by providing a simple, cost-effective performance boost while continuing to use the dominant horizontal/floor-cabling medium.

Fiberstore manufactures and supplies a complete range of 1000BASE SFP transceiver modules including 1000Base CWDM and 1000Base DWDM SFP transceivers. Both single-mode and multi-mode SFP transceivers are available for your choice. Besides, all these transceivers are 100% compatible with major brands like Cisco, HP, Juniper, Finisar, etc.

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