Now that we've analyzed gaming with a wired connection, we're going to take a look at gaming via wifi. While playing video games on wireless internet has long been regarded as inferior to connecting with an Ethernet cable, that's not always the case anymore. In addition to technological improvements in wifi speed and reliability making it a more than suitable option, some home gaming setup's only network solution is to resort to wifi.
In the second of this two-part blog series, we'll evaluate the positives and negatives of utilizing a wireless network configuration while gaming.
Positives of Gaming via Wifi (wireless)
Benefits of Wifi Gaming
If you're satisfied with the bandwidth allotment you pay your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for, and your home is free of dead zones, gaming on wifi offers a flexibility and convenience that Ethernet can't match.
Don't underestimate the speeds you can get while gaming on wifi after all the hype around Ethernet. Although a wired connection theoretically can get you higher max speeds, you'll typically never need to reach that type of bandwidth level for gaming.
Wireless connection speeds will typically suffice if you're getting somewhere between 10 - 25 Mbps. However, the issue with wifi while gaming often originates not from speed, but instead from connection latency and signal interference (we'll touch on these in the 'negatives' section).
The freedom to have your console in your living room or the basement, or your PC in the office or bedroom, is definitely the biggest game-changer that wifi provides.
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Advancements in technology are all about convenience and freedom of use for the user, and wireless internet is no different. With a strong home wifi network, gamers can pick and choose where in their living space they want their gaming setup(s) to be.
Going wireless means (big surprise) no wires. No wires means no ugly cords stretching across the room or down the hallway, as well as avoiding the expense of having to run Ethernet through the walls of your home if your gaming area is just too far from your router.
Negatives of Gaming via Wifi (wireless)
Disadvantages of Wifi Gaming
While connecting your PC or gaming console to the internet via wifi gives you more flexibility, it often comes at a price.
Comparatively more expensive
This isn't always the case (especially if you're gaming on wifi right next to your router), but when you go wireless, you're usually giving up at least some speed (Mbps). This is because signal strength decreases over distance, so while you're still paying the same amount to utilize your internet wired or wirelessly, you're getting less out of it on wifi.
Additionally, you may incur more costs for setup if you aren't wifi tech-savvy, and even more so if you want a fancy state-of-the-art router.
Connection interference & reliability issues
Wifi is inherently more likely to experience connection and reliability issues than Ethernet because it is transmitted via radio wave signals rather than being connected physically.
Connection interference can originate from a number of things such as the size of your home, the location of your router, and the people you live with. And these are just a few of the culprits.
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If your wireless connection suffers from any kind of interference, you'll usually see issues with connection reliability and latency. This means your games are going to experience the one thing that all gamers absolutely despise: lag. Having a lag-free gaming experience is the one thing players everywhere love and adore.
Setup isn't always intuitive
Sometimes setting up a wifi network for gaming is easy, and sometimes it just makes you want to rage. If you run into common problems such as Network Address Translation (NAT) issues, you'll likely have to go into your router's settings and play around with Port Forwarding. If you're not familiar with doing so, it's going to take some reading up on or assistance from another knowledgeable party.
Verdict: Wire it up!
While choosing between wired and wifi is a personal choice typically determined by house layout and router placement, we recommend going with a wired connection if at all possible.
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