When it comes to online gaming, the most important tool in a gamer’s arsenal is their internet connection. A poor or unreliable internet connection can lead to all sorts of problems when playing co-op or competitive games online. In most cases, a player’s internet quality will depend on their Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the types of internet speeds available in their area. Those who live in more rural or remote areas are unlikely to have access to the same high-speed connections available in cities or more densely populated areas.
But having a strong internet connection isn’t the only variable in the quality of a player’s online gaming experience. Once someone has secured a good ISP, they will need to decide if they want to connect their devices via Wi-Fi or plug them directly into their router using an Ethernet cable. Simply put, those who want the strongest and most reliable connection should opt for an Ethernet cable as it will allow gamers to be directly connected to their internet source. But how do gamers know which cable is best for gaming and what different types of cables are available? Here is an overview of some of them.
Is Ethernet better than Wi-Fi?
When it comes to online gaming, gamers need to get the best possible connection if they want to enter multiplayer sessions with low Ping and have the best chance of competing against others. Those with a higher ping or a bad connection will have a hard time in most online titles as they will constantly lose connection which can be a very frustrating experience. For this reason, gamers should understand the difference between Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet internet access.
Simply put, although technologies are constantly advancing (and wireless signals are getting stronger), those using an Ethernet cable can always be sure of getting the best possible connection from their ISP. Those who depend on Wi-Fi will often be at the mercy of signal loss, especially if their adapters and routers aren’t up to par with the rest of their system. On top of that, it’s usually much more difficult to get the “full extent” of someone’s internet speed capabilities at higher levels when using Wi-Fi, unless they’re decides to buy more expensive equipment.
It is often cheaper, faster, and more stable for gamers to simply use a wired connection rather than a wireless one.
What type of Ethernet cable do I need to play?
Unfortunately, the clear answer for “best cable for gaming” will always depend on a gamer’s particular situation. The short answer is that the “best in class cable on the market today” will always be the “best”. For those unfamiliar, Ethernet cables will always come with a Category or CAT number. This number is related to quality parameters and ideals created by the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Simply put, the higher a CAT number, the better the quality of the cable and the higher speeds it can sustain when connected to a router and transmitting internet data to a device. Currently, the best number available is 8, which means that a CAT-8 cable will always be the superior option for getting the most out of a gamer’s ISP.
That said, many of the top-rated Ethernet cables can support way beyond what gamers will usually get from their ISP. CAT-8 cables are currently capable of handling speeds of up to 40 GBP, a number that most ISPs are unable to produce, even in high traffic areas and cities. In terms of current internet outputs, gamers would be fine with CAT-6 cable, which can handle up to 1 GBPS. Gamers should always first find out what kinds of speeds their ISP provides and get an Ethernet cable that will accommodate those speeds.
That said, if a gamer wants to “future-proof” their internet capabilities, they can opt for a better cable overall, especially since these cables are usually only priced a few dollars here or there depending on the length.
What are the differences between Ethernet cables?
While there isn’t much difference between Ethernet cables beyond their CAT and speed threshold, there are some differences for those looking for a specific aesthetic or use. Cables come in a wide range of lengths, housing types, and even shapes to help gamers better manage the distance between their PC and router. Those looking for something visually appealing (and with the added benefit of flexibility) in their cable can opt for a braided style, which usually comes in a range of colors to help match configuration designs and specific color schemes.
Gamers who want a cleaner look, or who want to hide their cables under rugs or pin them under their desk can opt for a flat style, which is much less noticeable when traveling long distances and is easy to hide under and behind objects. There are even cables designed for the outdoors, allowing gamers to run their cable through a wall and around the outside of their home, even burying them in the ground if they deem it necessary for maximum stealth. .
Which cable to choose depends entirely on the gamer’s situation and what they want to do with their setup. When it comes to quality, knowing what CAT rating a player will need to match their ISP is really all that matters. Beyond that, it’s just about aesthetics and use for cable management.
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