Ten reasons why wired networks are better than wireless networks

It is quite obvious that wired networks are better than wireless networks. But since there are some advantages to wireless networks (over wired networks), let us look at ten reasons why wired networks are better than wireless networks, in this post.

1. In-spite of the Wi-Fi vendor’s claims of achieving 600 Mbps throughput with their wireless-‘n’ standard, the practical throughput achieved by 802.11 ‘n’ access points are much lesser. A 3×3 wireless-‘n’ system can achieve a theoretical maximum of 450 Mbps (highest available configuration today). However, wired networks can achieve 1 or 10 Gbps on the edge and 10 or 40 Gbps on the distribution layers today.

2. Wi-Fi access points are similar to hubs in wired networks. They don’t give the specified maximum throughput bandwidth to all the wireless stations connecting to them. Instead, the bandwidth is divided between the various laptops connecting to them and it decreases with increasing number of laptops connecting to the access points. Wired network Switches provide a dedicated bandwidth of 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps to all the devices connecting to the individual ports.

3. The speed of connectivity reduces with increasing distance, in wireless networks. But the speed of connectivity remains relatively constant irrespective of the distance at which a device is located, in a wired network.

4. Wired networks can be extended to long distances (Many KM) using optical fiber cables. OFC technology can achieve a higher throughput even at great distances. Wireless networks can also be extended to a few KM but the throughput achieved by them is much lesser than a wired network.

5. Wired networks are better for creating dense networks (a network where a large number of laptops/desktops are very close to each other). With wireless networks, if dense networks are created with many access points next to each other, there will be interference due to the limited number of non-interfering channels available in the 2.4 Ghz network, which is the most common Wi-Fi network in use today.

6. Wired networks are the de-facto technology for connecting high-performance/bandwidth demanding appliances like servers, storage (SAN/NAS), etc. Some of these appliances even support high-speed 10 GE connectivity over a wired network.

7. Wireless networks spread outside a company premises. In-spite of the latest encryption technologies, there might be some legacy systems connecting to the wireless networks that are be vulnerable to wireless scanning attacks. Wired networks are inside a company premises. Unless the hacker physically comes inside the building premises, there is no way to access the internal LAN.

8. Clients connecting to wireless networks might experience frequent disconnection/re-connection to the wireless access points. There are no such problems with wired networks and the connectivity remains constant/stable.

9. Wi-Fi adapters consume more power (in a laptop, for example) than a wired network adapter. Further, a small delay is induced due to the conversion of wired signals into wireless signals.

10. Wireless networks are mostly implemented as an overlay/in addition to wired networks. There are a very few organizations that offer exclusive wireless connectivity to their employees. Wired networks remain the primary source of network connectivity.

This post is not to undermine the importance/capabilities of Wi-Fi networks. Wireless controllers do a very good job of centralized management of wireless access points and hence the wireless network. But how many offices consider an all-wireless network today?

That means the title is still retained by wired networks, and perhaps it will remain with it for a considerable amount of time in the future.


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