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A wireless connection may be the preferred way of accessing the internet, but an Ethernet network cable has its own unique benefits. Ask any gamer and they’ll tell you. You get faster speeds and less lag, perfect for all your battles online. And, when you’re working on a stationary device like a PC it’s the ideal way to connect to the internet. Set it up once and you’re good to go for a long-haul flight.

Sure, it can get a bit intimidating at first―having to figure out which wire goes where―but it’s really not all that hard to set up your PC via a wired connection to the router. Just follow the instructions below and you should have the system up and running in no time. As for what cables you’ll need, we’ve got that covered as well.

First Things First: Connecting Router to the Internet

There are two types of wireless routers in use these days. Ones that come built into a modem, and termed as a gateway. And others that are separate from the modem. To connect the gateway or the router to your internet connection, here’s what you have to do:

When You Have a Gateway Device

This one is simple. You just need to make sure the gateway device is connected to the internet connection in the house.

If you have cable internet, you’ll find a cable outlet in a wall or the floor in some part of your home―and all you have to do is to plug in the coaxial cable coming from the wall outlet into the Cable In/RF port on your gateway device.

On the other hand, if you have subscribed to a DSL connection, you’ll need to connect your wireless modem to a DSL filter―which has a phone jack at one end and a phone jack port at the other. The port is used to connect your device, while the phone jack plugs into the wall outlet.

When You Have a Separate Wireless Router

If you have a separate router you don’t have to bother with the main internet connection in your house at all. Your modem will be already connected to it. The only thing you have to make sure of is your router is connected to the modem.

For this, you’ll need an Ethernet cable. Wondering which port to use? Well, all popular routers these days have one or more Ethernet ports―usually marked as WAN or Internet, and also of a different color compared to others. Use that one to connect the router to the modem via the Ethernet cord.

Connecting PC to Gateway/Router via Ethernet cable

Once you’ve connected your wireless modem or router to your internet provider’s network, the next step is connecting your computer to the internet equipment. And, here’s what you should do:

While a variety of gateway devices and routers come with a USB port, it is for connecting printers and external hard drives, and not for connecting to the internet. To connect to the internet, you must stick to using Ethernet network cables.

So Which Cables Do You Need?

Well, as you must have gathered from the steps outlined above when you establish a connection with your provider’s network and then connect your PC to the gateway or router, you do end up using a couple of different types of cables.

While the role of the Ethernet network cable remains critical in both cases, when you have a cable broadband connection you’ll also use a coaxial cable, and in case you have a DSL connection a telephone wire will be used.  

The Telephone Wire

Used to connect a landline phone, telephone wires and phone jacks are common in US households. Albeit, nowadays these are mostly used for connecting to DSL internet rather than running a phone connection. The telephone wire is smaller, and while it may fit into a larger Ethernet port, it can destroy the internet equipment. So we suggest you refrain from doing that and make sure you plug in the right cable―one that fits into the jack.

The Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cables look apart from other networking cables in that these end in a circular connector with a sharp pin in the center. Coax cables are not only used to connect internet equipment to the provider’s network but for cable TV connections, as well as in conjunction with some TV antennae. With these cables, you have to screw them on―and this keeps the connection secure.

The Ethernet Network Cable

Thicker than a telephone wire, an Ethernet cable has a boxy connector on both ends―while this connector looks similar to a phone jack, it is broader, and plugs into an Ethernet port with ease.

It is important to note there are quite a few types of Ethernet network cables out there:

First off, you have the standard Ethernet cable, called CAT5 or Category 5 cable. CAT5e is the most common variant used among network cables today. Then, there is the CAT6 cable―belonging to the next generation of Ethernet standards.

When purchasing an Ethernet network cable, CAT6 is the safest option to go for as it is backward compatible―meaning it will work with CAT5 as well as CAT5e compatible devices.  

It’s important to remember an Ethernet cord is also referred to as the RJ-45 cable―named after the connector at its end. So, if you find a cable referred to as RJ-45, don’t get confused―it is the internet cable you are looking for.

The Advantages of Using an Ethernet Cable

Wireless connectivity has made life so much easier. It is second nature to us to use the internet on our handheld device, while on the move. Be as it may though, sometimes we do need physical connections because well―it performs better!

Bypass Wi-Fi Bottlenecks

Stuck with limited bandwidth and multiple devices to connect to the web? Chances are high that you’ll suffer from a crowded Wi-Fi network. So, what can you do? Well, by using an Ethernet cable you can establish a wired internet connection to your device, and make the best of the situation.

No Pesky Dead Zones

Unless you have a whole-home Wi-Fi system from the likes of eero―an option you get when you subscribe to WOW! Internet or something like the Panoramic wifi―an add-on offered by the Cox Internet service, dead zones are likely to remain a nightmare you must deal with on a daily basis. Ensuring wall-to-wall wireless coverage across the entire house will always require you to invest money.

Now, if you encounter a dead zone in the part of the house where you run your home office from, but other parts are relatively well covered, a less expensive way of eliminating the dead zone is an Ethernet cable―we suggest you simply connect your PC to the router or the gateway device via an Ethernet cable and be done with it. It’d be cheaper and more reliable for sure. 

Helps Overcome Unreliable Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi issues can get complicated. They may take some time, and expert help, to fix. So what do you do till it’s all sorted? Well, we suggest you bring out an Ethernet cord and get connected. You’ll have a reliable connection to complete your tasks while the problem with the wireless network at your home is resolved.

Maximize Gigabit Internet

If you’ve signed up for a Gigabit plan, but don’t have the hardware that supports such high speed, it’ll only be a waste of money. Many cable broadband services like Spectrum Internet, Cox Internet, and WOW! Internet offer speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps which is great. But, for the best results, you must upgrade to a Gigabit wireless modem or router.

With that said, if you are not yet in a position to replace your internet equipment, go ahead and try out a wired Ethernet connection to your device(s)―you’re likely to experience a significant difference in the output of your internet service.

Reduce Latency for Online Gamers

Latency, or ping, is the time it takes for your command to travel from your computer to the remote server and back. While activities like video streaming have a wider latency range, online gaming can become a hassle since timing is everything. Your best chance as a gamer is a wired connection to the gateway or the router via an Ethernet cable.

Helps Troubleshoot Network Issues

You should always have an Ethernet cable handy at home. It helps to troubleshoot connectivity issues and can even help you fix some.  For people who have work-related deadlines to meet, it’s a lifesaver.

The Downside of Using an Ethernet Cable

The one frustrating downside is an Ethernet network cable has tiny copper wires inside and a tight kink can damage it. And, the worst part is you won’t be able to see it from the outside. When you connect and find no connectivity, that is when you usually get to know its broken. Luckily these wires are inexpensive, and replacing them would be a non-issue.

Final Words

So, what do you think? Will you be able to connect your device to the internet using an Ethernet cable? Does the lack of mobility bug you?

Or given the many benefits an Ethernet connection offers, you think the effort will be well worth it? To be fair, it’s not even that difficult. The instructions are easy enough to follow and shouldn’t take you much time. So, go ahead and connect your PC via the Ethernet cable for faster internet, less lag, and a whole lot more fun!

In case you are looking to get faster speeds via an Ethernet cable connecting your PC to the router, you must remain mindful of the fact even the best of equipment cannot do that for you if the issue is with your internet connection to start with. And, once you’ve determined that is where the issue lies, it maybe time for you to consider switching to another provider.

Often people tend to put up with a poor-performing connection and try to get by, but that is not the best route to take in the long run. Switching may seem full of hassle, but there are ways to make it easier. Speak to experts in the field at 1-855-349-9328―they will not only determine provider-offer availability in your area but help you pick what maybe a good fit for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cables are used with routers?

With routers, Ethernet cables are used to connect with the modem through the WAN port. Wireless modems or gateway devices (modem-router combos) also require Ethernet cables to connect your computer or laptop devices. In that case, however, the LAN port would be used.

Is Ethernet cable faster than Wi-Fi?

An Ethernet connection is almost always faster than Wi-Fi.

Can you use Ethernet and Wi-Fi at the same time?

Yes, you can. If your PC and gaming console is connected to the wireless gateway or the router via an Ethernet cord, other devices in the range such as smartphones and tabs can remain connected wirelessly with the same network.