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Wireless Network vs Wired Network: Advantages and Disadvantages

A former teacher of digital media studies with a passion for video and audio, Paul lives and works as a freelance writer in Florida, USA.

Although the current trend is definitely towards wireless networks, mainly because they are often more convenient for users, wired networks can be superior when it comes to issues such as network security and faster upload/download speeds.

Although the current trend is definitely towards wireless networks, mainly because they are often more convenient for users, wired networks can be superior when it comes to issues such as network security and faster upload/download speeds.

Increasingly, the needs of modern homes and work spaces are for greater and more versatile internet coverage than just having a single PC, or group of PCs wired up to a router with ethernet cables.

Wireless networks enable multiple devices to use the same internet connection remotely, as well as share files and other resources.

They also allow mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones to move around within the network area freely and still maintain a connection to the internet and the network.

There are also disadvantages to wireless networks, however, especially when you compare them with wired networks, which generally maintain a faster internet speed and are more secure.

Below, I have listed all of the above points, plus the other main advantages and disadvantages of a wireless network vs wired network.

It doesn't matter if it's a wireless or wired network. I think network management can be introduced that is equally sensible.

— Vint Cerf

Benefits of a Wireless Network

To be happy in this world, first you need a cell phone and then you need an airplane. Then you're truly wireless.

— Ted Turner

Accessibility and ease of use are the main advantages of wireless internet.  There is no need for cables, sockets, etc. making life easier for the user, and potentially the network provider too, as set up costs can be lower.

Accessibility and ease of use are the main advantages of wireless internet. There is no need for cables, sockets, etc. making life easier for the user, and potentially the network provider too, as set up costs can be lower.

Advantages of a Wireless Network over Wired

  • As I mentioned in the introduction, the main advantage of a wireless network over a wired one is that users can move around freely within the area of the network with their laptops, handheld devices etc and get an internet connection.
  • Users are also able to share files and other resources with other devices that are connected to the network without having to be cabled to a port.
  • Not having to lay lots of cables and put them through walls etc. can be a considerable advantage in terms of time and expense. It also makes it easier to add extra devices to the network, as no new cabling is needed.
  • If you are a business such as a café, having a wireless network that is accessible to customers can bring you extra business. Customers generally love wireless networks because they are convenient.
  • Wireless networks can sometimes handle a larger amount of users because they are not limited by a specific number of connection ports.
  • Instant transfer of information to social media is made much easier. For instance, taking a photograph and uploading it to Facebook can generally be done much quicker with wireless technology.
Wireless networks allow for more freedom of movement, as well as stopping the need for cords and plug sockets when using a digital device.  If you are a business working with the public, you may also find that many people expect wireless access.

Wireless networks allow for more freedom of movement, as well as stopping the need for cords and plug sockets when using a digital device. If you are a business working with the public, you may also find that many people expect wireless access.

New security loopholes are constantly popping up because of wireless networking. The cat-and-mouse game between hackers and system administrators is still in full swing.

— Kevin Mitnick

Wireless networks generally deliver slower internet speeds than wired ones.  File transfer speeds are also slower.  Connections can also be blocked by everyday obstacles, such as walls, doors, and furniture.  Connections are also usually less secure.

Wireless networks generally deliver slower internet speeds than wired ones. File transfer speeds are also slower. Connections can also be blocked by everyday obstacles, such as walls, doors, and furniture. Connections are also usually less secure.

Disadvantages of a Wireless Network

  • It can require extra costs and equipment to set up, although increasingly routers have built-in wireless capability, as do devices such as laptops, handheld devices, modern DVD players, and TVs.
  • Setting up a wireless network can sometimes be difficult for people who are not experienced with computers. (Although there are issues with setting up a wired network too, of course!)
  • File-sharing transfer speeds are normally slower with wireless networks than they are with cabled. The speeds can also vary considerably according to your location in relation to the network.
  • The general speed of a wireless connection is also usually much slower than a wired one. The connection also gets worse the farther you are from the router, which can be a problem in a large building or space.
  • Wireless connections can be obstructed by everyday household items and structures such as walls, ceilings, and furniture.
  • Wireless networks are generally less secure. There can also be problems with neighbors stealing bandwidth, if the network hasn’t been set up to be password protected. Information is also less secure too and can be easier to hack into.

There is an underlying, fundamental reliance on the Internet, which continues to grow in the number of users, country penetration and both fixed and wireless broadband access.

— Vint Cerf

Most modern laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are designed so that they can connect to wireless internet sources without the need for cables and wires.  There are often security concerns associated with this, however.

Most modern laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are designed so that they can connect to wireless internet sources without the need for cables and wires. There are often security concerns associated with this, however.

I read recently of the advent of a completely wireless house. Having just moved house and being drowned in billions of cords and cables, that sounds like a great thing to have.

— Julian Ovenden

If you are a business that works with the public, the expectation is increasingly that you will supply free wireless internet access.  Cafes, bars, airports, and many other public spaces provide high speed broadband for their customers.

If you are a business that works with the public, the expectation is increasingly that you will supply free wireless internet access. Cafes, bars, airports, and many other public spaces provide high speed broadband for their customers.

Summary of The Advantages and Disadvantages

Activity/CategoryWireless NetworkWired Network

Freedom of movement for users

Users can access network from anywhere within range.

Users location limited by need to use cable and/or connect to a port.

Sharing Files

Easier with wireless network as you do not need to be cabled to network, though transfer speeds may be slower.

Generally less convenient as you have to be cabled in, but transfer speeds often faster.

Cables

Far less complicated, disruptive, and untidy cabling needed.

Lots of cables and ports needed which can be a headache.

Business

For businesses dealing with public, customers like and often expect wireless, so wireless can increase income.

Wired networks are not convenient for public use, but sometimes acceptable for a traditional office.

Connection speeds

Usually slower than wired.

Usually faster than wireless.

Security

Less secure than wired. Both bandwidth and information can sometimes be accessed.

More secure than wireless.

Set up

Upgrading to a wireless network can be difficult and expensive.

Can also be difficult and expensive to set up.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: What are the advantages of a wired network?

Answer: Typically advantages can include faster upload and download speeds, as well as better security from hacking and other unauthorized usage of the network.

Question: What are the advantages of wired devices?

Answer: Advantages for devices that are physically attached to a network generally include: faster data upload and download speeds, more security in regard to potential data interference or theft, and more reliable connection speeds.

Question: What are the disadvantages of a mobile network?

Answer: Compared to a wired network, there are a number of disadvantages. Here are some examples: mobile networks are generally less secure and are easier to hack into to; they tend to be slower, especially when a long way from the signal source, they tend to be less reliable as the signal can be blocked by walls, hills, people, vehicles, or adverse weather.

Question: What are wired electronic devices?

Answer: Wired devices are devices (for example, a PC, laptop, or tablet) that are directly connected to the network by physical means (for example, by a cord or cable).

Question: What is bluetooth?

Answer: Bluetooth is a standard for the short-range wireless interconnection of electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Question: What is the range for using a wireless network?

Answer: There is no single answer to this question, as there is a range of wireless technologies available. A Wi-Fi wireless access point (also known as a hotspot), for example, has a range of around 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and an even longer range outdoors, but other wireless technologies can have greater or lesser ranges.

Question: What are three advantages of wireless over wired LAN technology?

Answer: 1. Mobility, as you don't have to be physically connected to the network.

2. The network can be easier to install.

3. A wireless network is often easier to install and maintain, as there is less laying of wires.

Question: What are the advantages of a wired connection?

Answer: Faster upload and download speeds and more security are the main two, but there are others.

Question: Which has the lowest interference?

Answer: A wired network should have the least interference.

Question: What is bandwidth?

Answer: Bandwidth is the frequency range within a given band when transmitting a signal. Imagine a band as like a road, and the bandwidth is the number of lanes--the bigger the bandwidth, the more traffic it can cope with.

© 2014 Paul Goodman

Comments

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dwight on March 08, 2019:

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Article the first... After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second... No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth... A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth... No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth... The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh... No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth... In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth... In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth... Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh... The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth... The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

chungy boi on January 30, 2019:

big chungus approves

jeff on January 30, 2019:

good

DARK STAR on December 27, 2018:

Not good....................

Bradle on October 13, 2018:

Too vague and doesnt go in depth of why it is. Theres nothing to back why or how it works this way.

Mitali on October 01, 2018:

Great...

Katie on September 29, 2018:

Fab article helped me loads!

Romeo on September 26, 2018:

I'm using wired and experience endless technical issues will be changing over to wireless

Theresa on September 23, 2018:

Really helpful article. Thanks for the great information!

bob on September 20, 2018:

it's ok

Megha roy on September 19, 2018:

I is very helpfull for me, Seriously.

terroriser on September 09, 2018:

now i know that wired is better and my friends wont make fun of me anymore because of my wifi

Mr. Ling on June 17, 2018:

Great website very insightful c:

jim on June 08, 2018:

Good

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Helpful thanks

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I found the whole topic very much informative. I really enjoyed it and it also enlightened me in the delivery of the topic to my students.Thank you for providing me with the latest information.

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compare two physicconnectional for home network

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Awesome

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Moz on May 17, 2018:

i like the explanations thank a lot!!

Dammy on May 17, 2018:

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woof on May 08, 2018:

very good

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very good!!!!!!!

ben dover on April 23, 2018:

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Jasmine on April 08, 2018:

Thank you, very useful for my Computing revision! :)

Holly B on March 05, 2018:

wireless is so much better, I know look at the world in a different way, thanks for introducing this to me turbofuture

sup my brava on February 26, 2018:

rly helped in computer science class thanks

Spamit on February 21, 2018:

this information has really helped me a lot. Thanks

bob on February 06, 2018:

Don't Forget about the radiation

Siz on January 11, 2018:

Good work

Peter Ge on November 13, 2017:

wireless is much freaking better

ERICSSON ERICUS on October 20, 2017:

Great explanation

Neena on October 18, 2017:

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Mo on May 16, 2017:

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Imam walee on May 09, 2017:

Nice to the correct the answer

cathysue5924 from USA on May 07, 2017:

Nice article. Structured well with a lot of information. I enjoyed the read. I agree with you on all points. I have a wired and wireless network. Wired is more secure and stable. Although, I enjoy the freedom a wireless brings to the plate.

Adas on April 25, 2017:

very clear and easy t understand

thank you very much

Damini Palrecha on April 05, 2017:

So nice, points are important, markable tho easy to understand.

I really want someone to answer all my questions so easily !!

Thanks..!!

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good explanation

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beatiful

will on September 19, 2016:

helpful

papz on September 11, 2016:

clear explaination

Asanka on July 12, 2016:

Good explanation

sam on June 23, 2016:

is it right to connect mobile when internet is on to desktop which internet also on ?

Marie on June 14, 2016:

who's the author of this?

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very good

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Jacobb9205 on August 21, 2015:

Ahh very interesting to find out the advantages and disadvantages.