Hardwired vs. Wireless networks

Computer networks have become the norm. These computer networks exist in massive factories and in homes we live. When it comes to computer networks, you have two major options; hardwired or wireless networks. The purpose of this article is to analyze the characteristics associated with both of these networks.


Wireless Networks

  • The most significant advantage associated with a wireless network is the convenience it offers. A user can move with their device without getting disconnected, as long as they are within the signal range, of course. For instance, you can connect devices like laptops, tablets, and cell phones to a wireless network through a wifi router and enjoy the internet connection without restricting your movements.
  • Wireless networks are a completely mess-free alternative to wired networks when it comes to network cables. You don’t need to worry about laying wires and drilling holes, putting on face-plates, or penetrating walls if you have a wireless network. When you need to add new devices, it is a matter of providing the credentials – you don’t need to use a dedicated wire for each device.
  • Maintenance of a wireless network is significantly easier compared to a hardwired network. Since wireless networks have less components, troubleshooting becomes easier too – no damaged wires or no tangles to deal with.
  • Wireless networks can connect new devices easily. Depending on the capacity of the access point or router, a large number of users can connect to a wireless network.
    • Note: NEVER leave your wifi network open if you value your data. If you really want to secure your data, you should enable MAC filtering to only allow specific devices to connect.
  • Wireless networks allow people to connect smart devices (thermostats, doorbells, security cameras, etc) easily with minimal technical support.
    • Note: ALWAYS change the default password to any smart devices.
  • A wireless network is generally slower compared to a wired network. Also, if you need to experience the optimal speed of a wireless connection, you should stay closer to where the wifi signal is coming from – aka the access point or router.


Hardwired networks 

  • The most notable feature associated with a hardwired network is the stability of the data it delivers. As long as you are connected (plugged in) to the network, you can experience the optimal connection speed, even if there are several walls and/or floors in between.
  • Hardwired networks are generally safer than wireless networks. For an intruder to hack a wired network, they would need to gain physical access to the network (the signals of a wired network are broadcasted through the dedicated cables only). However, even the wireless networks can be secured using strong encryptions and firewalls.
  • The chances for physical damage are more when it comes to hardwired networks. Furniture, people, and pets can come into contact with the wires and cause damage. To avoid such instances, you should minimize the amount of exposed cable.


Which network is best for you?

The type of the network you should select depends on the tasks you have to perform every day. In addition, you should consider aspects like overall security, file sharing speed, structure of the building, overall cost, number of users/devices, etc. before coming to a conclusion. However, it is much better if you can get the assistance of a network specialist in deciding the best network type for you.

In a typical installation that we complete for our clients (both business and home), it is a hybrid. From complex IP-based phone systems and servers, to local network storage devices (NAS) or printers, a mixed system might be the right solution if you have some older devices which do not have wifi but do have network ports.

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