If you play multiplayer games, you’ve probably had to fight the worst enemy of any gamer: online lag. And if you’ve ever searched for solutions to this issue, using an Ethernet cable is probably first on the list. But why does exactly an Ethernet cable do to improve your gaming experience?
What Does An Ethernet Cable Do For Gaming?
Ethernet cables give you a faster and more stable connection when playing online multiplayer games, which can greatly reduce lag. Some of the lag you experience while gamine may be caused by problems with your router’s Wi-Fi signal. Using an Ethernet cable side-steps these issues.
The main benefit of Ethernet cables is that they can transfer data much faster than a wireless network. This is crucial when you are playing a multiplayer game.
Your input has to travel to the game server and all the way back—same thing with the input of other players. Using an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi can shave off a few valuable milliseconds off that journey.
In fact, I ran a test on my gaming PC to see what the difference in speeds were and the results were shocking.
My download speed was almost twice as fast with a wired connection and my upload speed was almost 3 times as fast with a wired connection. You can see my results below.
Another benefit of using an Ethernet cable is that it is more stable than a wireless network. It doesn’t ever fluctuate unless there’s a problem with your internet provider.
By contrast, Wi-Fi connections are notoriously unstable. Even if you have the best hardware, Wi-Fi signals can be interrupted by other wireless devices in your house, pets, or random outages.
It’s clear that Ethernet cables are useful, but do they actually improve gaming in a noticeable way?
Will An Ethernet Cable Improve Gaming?
Using an Ethernet cable will improve your online gaming experience in most cases. Using Ethernet instead of WiFi can reduce lag and create a more stable connection, producing smoother gameplay with a lower chance of outages.
If you are experiencing slow Internet speeds while gaming, an Ethernet connection can help.
It won’t make your internet magically better—however, routers or crowded Wi-Fi networks are often the reason for lag while gaming, and using an Ethernet cable lets you avoid those issues.
A good internet connection is vital for gaming—especially if you play competitive games such as fighters and first-person shooters.
Not only does a good connection mean smooth gameplay, but also consistent download and upload speeds.
All this talk about Ethernet cables makes them look like an essential piece of equipment for gaming. And although they are, that doesn’t mean they’re always necessary for gaming.
Is An Ethernet Cable Necessary For Gaming?
An Ethernet cable is necessary for competitive multiplayer games. The game will be more responsive to your input and you’ll have a lowered risk of losing because of a lag spike. However, for casual gaming, an Ethernet cable won’t make much of a difference.
An Ethernet cable is not necessary for all types of gaming, but it’s definitely helpful in many cases.
If you’re playing a casual multiplayer game, minimizing lag doesn’t have to be a priority—it won’t change your experience much.
And if you’re playing a single-player game, then you don’t have to worry about your internet connection at all.
That being said, for competitive online multiplayer games, such as League of Legends or Warzone, an ethernet connection is nearly a requirement.
Although Wi-Fi routers are very fast these days, there are too many variables involved that could easily trigger a momentary outage in your internet connection.
For games where even a temporary outage could spell the difference between a dub or an L, it’s far better to rely on an ethernet connection than on a wireless one.
But lag isn’t the only issue gamers face—FPS is just as common and obnoxious. Will an Ethernet cable help with that too?
Will An Ethernet Cable Increase FPS?
An Ethernet cable won’t increase your FPS. FPS is determined by how well your computer runs a game, not by its internet connectivity. However, an Ethernet cable can make online gameplay smoother by reducing lag.
A good Ethernet connection will allow your computer to send and receive data quickly, which can make games run smoother. However, an Ethernet cable won’t have a significant impact on FPS.
FPS is the rate at which your computer can display images, and it’s determined by how powerful your PC is. It depends mostly on the processing power of your GPU and CPU.
If you’re suffering from low FPS, try reducing the graphics quality in the game settings. If that doesn’t work, you may need to upgrade your graphics card or processor.
Ethernet cables may not improve FPS, but there’s something else that they always improve: ping.
Does Using An Ethernet Cable Reduce Ping?
Ethernet cables can reduce ping. They transfer data faster than a Wi-Fi network. However, several other factors affect your ping, including your location relative to the server, your network setup, and the cable quality.
Ethernet cables are typically much faster than wireless connections. If your computer has an Ethernet port and you are experiencing slow ping times, try using a cable instead of a wireless connection.
However, if your ping is really high, then it probably has to do with your distance to the game server.
If you’re playing against someone on the other side of the world, there’s going to be some unavoidable ping—no matter how good your connection is.
High ping can also be caused by an issue with your Internet provider. Sadly, Ethernet can’t help with that.
In fact, if you don’t have the right kind of Ethernet cable, it won’t be of much help at all.
Is A CAT5 Ethernet Cable Good For Gaming?
A CAT5 Ethernet cable is not good for gaming. CAT5 Ethernet cables are designed for small businesses and office networks. They have a maximum transfer speed of 100Mbps, making them an inferior option for gamers.
CAT5 cables used to be the global standard for ethernet connections, but they’ve since been replaced by CAT6 cables.
100Mbps is simply too low of a transfer rate to consider using a CAT5 cable for gaming, so I would avoid using this cable or anything below it.
Is A CAT6 Ethernet Cable Good For Gaming?
A CAT6 Ethernet cable is good for gaming. They are better protected from interference than CAT5 cables. A CAT6 Ethernet cable also has a bandwidth of 1000 Mbps, which is 10 times faster than a CAT5 cable.
The truth is that bandwidth doesn’t make much of a difference here—chances are you won’t ever need more than 1000 Mbps while gaming.
That being said, 100Mbps is significantly slower than 1000Mbps, so a CAT6 cable is always worth the investment.
At the moment, CAT6 cables are the global standard for ethernet connections, so always opt for this type of cable when you can.
Is A CAT7 Ethernet Cable Good For Gaming?
A CAT7 Ethernet cable is great for gaming because it has even less signal distortion than CAT6 cables. That being said, transfer rate isn’t always relevant to gaming, so you can expect the same level of performance from this cable as a CAT6 cable.
Is A CAT8 Ethernet Cable Good For Gaming?
A CAT8 Ethernet is good for gaming, but it won’t give you an improvement over a CAT7. Its bandwidth is 4 times faster at 40 Gbps, but games don’t take advantage of such high speeds. You’ll likely get the same performance while gaming from a CAT8 cable as from a CAT6 cable.
If you’re thinking 40 Gbps is a bit overkill, you’re right. Most games only use around 100MB of data in an hour, so the bandwidth of a CAT5 is more than enough.
The main reason to go for a CAT7 cable is to minimize interference and get a cable that’s future-proof. CAT8 is made for use in the tech industry, but it’s available for consumers.
The type of cable doesn’t matter as much as the brand—however, you still want a high-quality cable that will last a long time and have as little interference as possible.
Best Ethernet Cable For Gaming?
There are many Ethernet cables on the market today, so it can be hard to decide which one is the best for your specific needs.
Some of the factors you may want to consider when choosing an Ethernet cable include bandwidth, price, and type, and the ASUS ROG Cat7 checks all the boxes.
It’s a CAT7—the optimal Ethernet cable for gaming—with a bandwidth of 10 Gbps and a premium build quality. It was built with gaming in mind, so you can be sure there will be no interference.
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.