Ethernet vs. WiFi

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By Eric Bryner

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that LAG SUCKS.”

That is a quote taken from this article,which certainly stands true. It is safe to say that every gamer has experienced lag at one point in their life.

Countless keyboards and controllers have been destroyed due to lag. An easy solution to reduce lag in online gaming is to shell out an extraordinary amount of money for your ISP’s package offering the fastest speeds.

However, before you spend money to upgrade network speeds, consider this smarter and cheaper alternative. Use an Ethernet cable to directly plug your PC into the router; This is known as “hard wiring.” By relying on an Ethernet connection, as opposed to a WiFi connection, you are reducing the time in which a packet travels to its destination before returning.

Check out this map for a better understanding:


How is WiFi affecting my gameplay?

Viscarious, the author of the article, conducted research which determined that the “average ping for players on a WiFi connection is between 6.7 ms and 11.7ms higher than those using an Ethernet connection.”

When dealing with milliseconds, most people would assume that an increase of 6-11ms is unnoticeable. But, for a game like League of Legends where quick reactions can be game-changing, any slight delay could lead to missed opportunities.

And further research even proves that as the rank of players increase, so does the percentage of players using an Ethernet connection.


My personal experience

When I started playing League of Legends in 2012, I originally used a laptop with a WiFi connection. At this time, Riot’s servers were located in California leaving me with an average ping of ~110ms. In 2015, Riot moved their NA server to a new centralized location in Chicago, Illinois.

After the change, I noticed a significant improvement in performance and a new ping of ~50. However, the issue many players encounter when using a WiFi connection is an abundance of “ping spikes.” These spikes are the primary cause for disconnections or laggy gameplay.

I made the switch to a hard-wired connection and didn’t notice any changes in ping. But, what I did notice was a huge reduction in ping spikes, resulting in consistently smoother gameplay and less disconnects. Disconnecting from games, especially ranked games, can lead to punishments including:

  • More losses
  • Increase in player-driven reports
  • Potential account bans

There are clearly benefits to using an Ethernet connection, but I understand that not everyone can easily connect their computer to their router. Before running a 50ft Ethernet cord through your house, decide if the rather slight improvements are worth it.


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