With the high speeds available on wireless routers nowadays you may wonder if there are still any reasons to stick with a wired network.
Well, while high-end routers may offer very fast speeds, the best wired only routers still have some advantages over their wireless competitors.
Top 3 Picks: Best Wire-Only Routers
More on these routers later. The links above will take you over to their Amazon pages
Read on to find out about the advantages of a wired router, as well a rundown of some of the best wired routers out there.
Why Use a Wired Only Router?
There are plenty of advantages and reasons to use a wired connection over a wireless one. These include features like connection reliability, security and how easy it can be to set up a wired network.
Having a physical link between your router and your device means you are pretty much guaranteed to get a stable, consistent connection.
As anyone who has experienced a weak wifi signal will know, an inconsistent connection can seriously disrupt whatever you are doing online and can cause problems with everything from streaming video to playing games.
The reason that wired is more consistent than wireless is that wireless connections are much more prone to signal congestion from physical objects like walls, and also other wireless devices like Bluetooth speakers or even other routers in your area.
Another huge plus point for wired connections is that they are more secure than wireless ones. Whereas a hacker could potentially access your wireless network and as such all the data that is sent over your network, this is pretty much impossible on a wired network.
This is because a wired network requires a physical connection to access it. This means that unless you see an Ethernet cable trailing mysteriously out of your front door, your data should be safe.
Of course, there are ways you can make your wireless network as secure as possible. These include choosing a strong password and using an up-to-date method of security like WPA2-PSK.
Easier To Get Going
Another benefit of a wired connection is how easy it is to connect a wireless router to a computer using an Ethernet cable. All you have to do is simply plug one end of your cable into your router and one into your computer.
While practical difficulties can arise if you need to connect a computer that is far away or in another room, in general, it is easy to connect a router and a computer using a wired connection.
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Wire-only routers tend to be cheaper, as the wireless component is not bundled in.
This is certainly true when comparing like-for-like features. However, a lot of wired-only routers tend to have other features that often aren't included with wifi routers. For example, advanced VPN connectivity, firewalls and DMZ options.
These higher-end wire only routers tend to be geared towards small offices and home tech users that want a little more than what a consumer wifi router can provide. Of course, if wireless is required, separate access points are often connected to the router.
There are, of course, also some disadvantages to a wired only connection.
Many of the devices you likely use nowadays simply need a wifi connection. For example, smartphones, tablets and smartwatches etc don’t have any way to connect to a wired connection. This means if you have any of these devices and want to connect them to your network you will need a router with a wireless connection.
Wireless networks also offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to where you use the devices. If you have a wired connection you are pretty much required to keep your computer in the same place. However, a wireless connection allows you to use your devices freely.
This is especially useful for portable devices like laptops and smartphones although less important if you mainly use a desktop computer.
Different Ways To Use A Wired Router
Ethernet is the most common way of connecting a wired network. The commonly available standards used nowadays are Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and the recently released Cat7, These offer a variety of speeds ranging from 1Gbps on a Cat5e cable to 10Gbps on a Cat7 cable.
The recommended length for Ethernet cables is up to 100 meters long and as such, they can be used to connect over a decent sized area as long as you don’t mind laying the wires.
Powerlines are a second way to run a wired network (they are dependent on Ethernet as well!). Instead of requiring a completely new set of cables to be run throughout your house, powerline cables use the electrical wires already running through your house.
You simply need to plug an adapter into wall sockets near the device you want to connect to and your router. Your network will then be passed between the two points using the existing wires. You will still need to connect your devices to the adapters using Ethernet cables.
Powerlines have the benefits of a wired connection in that they offer a reliable connection, as well as some of the benefits of a wireless connection in that you don’t need to lay down a load of new wires through your house.
The downside is that while you should get a consistent connection with powerline cables, the speeds on offer aren’t quite as good as those on offer with the latest Ethernet or Wireless standards.
Top 3 Best Routers that are Wired-Only
1. ZyXEL USG20-VPN Next Generation VPN Wireless Router
- Secure VPN functionality allows you to connect to your network remotely.
- Supports service priority for data to give the most stable connection to the programs that need it most.
- High-end security features including configurable firewalls, DMZ and VPN.
This is a great router with good security features and loads of flexibility in the customization. It can be slightly complicated to set up if you don’t have prior experience with routers.
2. Ubiquiti Networks ER-8 Edgerouter 8 Port Router
- Has a massive 8 ports for multiple connections, you can configure any of them to be either WAN or LAN ports.
- Highly configurable, set the router up exactly as you want it.
- Audible noise from cooling fans means you will need to think about the best place to put the router.
This router has loads of ports and all the features you could want from a professional standard router. If you have no prior experience setting up routers you will likely have a bit of trouble setting this up, although the Ubiquiti forums are said to be excellent for customer support issues.
If you want professional standard features however and don’t mind spending a bit of time on configuration this could be the router for you.
3. TP-Link TL-R600VPN Gigabit Broadband VPN Router
- 4 gigabit LAN ports and one WAN port.
- Secure VPN supported by IPSec/PPTP protocols to allow remote connectivity to your network.
- Secure firewalls and DoS security inbuilt to protect your network.
This is a low cost router that is easy to set up and offers some good features for your wired network. It also has an excellent build quality and will fit well into any home or office network.
As seen in this article, there are plenty of good reasons to set up a wired network. While you won’t get the convenience of a wireless network, you will get extra benefits including security and probably a better connection.
There also plenty of great options when it comes to buying a wired router. From simple, affordable, plug and play routers like the ZyXEL USG20-VPN, and the TP-Link TL-R600, to ones with high end, configurable features like the Ubiquity Networks ER-8 Edgerouter, it is likely you will find one to fit your particular situation.
It should also be mentioned that wireless routers do also come with Ethernet ports, which means that it is possible to get the best from both world if you buy a wireless router.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed our article on wired only routers. If so please share and if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment below!