I have fond memories of playing Grand Theft Auto IV and Call of Duty with my friends on my old Xbox.
One second I was calling in an AC130 on an insane kill streak, and then the next thing I knew, I was teleporting randomly all around the map, only to be killed by a noob tube.
“ELLIE! GET OFF THE INTERNET!” I would scream at my little sister as she was trying to watch something stupid about dolls or makeup or whatever it is girls do online these days.
Suffice to say, my dad eventually had enough and upgraded the WiFi to a higher speed.
Experiencing connection issues during gameplay is incredibly frustrating. One minute you’re dominating, and the next you’re dead.
The worst part is, if you’re lagging, you can’t really do anything about it – or can you?
If you have slow WiFi, you’ll have to upgrade your router or internet connection. However, your internet connection problem may be due to a poor WiFi signal, as opposed to just a poor WiFi plan.
Wireless signals aren’t as fast as a direct connection via an Ethernet cable, and they can also be interrupted by walls and noise on the network.
When it comes to insuring you have a stable connection, you should definitely be using an Ethernet cable for gaming.
3 Best Ethernet Cable Options for Gaming
|Mediabridge RJ45 Cat5e 25ft Cable||$7||Shop on Amazon|
|RiteAV Cat6 50ft Cable||$18||Shop on Amazon|
|Importer520 Cat6 RJ45 50ft Cable||$8||Shop on Amazon|
How to Choose an Ethernet Cable for Gaming
If you’re going to spend your hard earned money on a gaming Ethernet cable, you’ll want to ensure you’re buying the best one for your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind before you buy a gaming Ethernet cable:
Length: The length of an Ethernet cable has a direct impact on connection speed. As the cable becomes longer, signal quality decreases, resulting in reduced network performance and sluggish transfer rates. Look for the shortest Ethernet cable possible, as long as it is long enough to reach your Xbox One, PS4, or PC. I’d recommend finding an Ethernet cable no longer than 300 feet.
Compatibility: Ensure that your Ethernet cable is compatible with your gaming system, whether it be an Xbox One, PS4, or PC. Many Ethernet cables are manufactured by an OEM (Original Equipment Provider) brand. If so, it should work with your system without any issues.
Cat5e vs. Cat6 Ethernet Cables
According to Diffen.com:
Cat6 cables, also called Category 6 or Cat 6 cables, provide lower crosstalk, a higher signal-to-noise ratio, and are suitable for 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet), while Cat5e cables support only up to 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). As a means of future-proofing your network, Cat6 is generally a better choice and worth the small premium in price. Cat5e and Cat6 cables are both backwards compatible, which means newer Cat6 cables can be used with older Cat5e, Cat5 and even Cat3 equipment.
Essentially, Cat6 cables are newer, and are capable of transferring faster than older Cat5e cables.
Both cables are interchangable, and work the same way. However, Cat6 cables are newer and faster.
If you do decide to go for Cat6 cables, you’ll need to upgrade all of the other cables in your network to Cat6. Otherwise, your old Cat5e cables will slow down the network.
The Importer520 Cat6 RJ45 50ft cable has a standard PVC jacket, and male to male connectors iwth a snagless molded strain relief.
The cable is 50 feet long, which means you can run the wire from your router to your gaming setup, even if it is in another room. Keep in mind, however, that the longer your cable is, the weaker the connection becomes. A 50 foot cable is not going to have much of an effect on connection, but it isn’t negligible.
As far as connection goes, the Importer520 is another fantastic gaming Ethernet cable. It’s a Cat6 Ethernet cable, which is ideal for gaming. If you want to futureproof your infrastructure, buying a Cat6 Ethernet cable is a good idea. This is also a great Ethernet cable for PS4 Pro. This is also a great ethenet cable for gaming on the Xbox One.
The Mediabridge RJ45 Cat5e is a great gaming Ethernet cable for the Xbox One console.
Measuring in at 25ft, the cable is long enough to reach your gaming setup, even if it’s in another room. If you’d prefer a cable that is a different size, you can order a longer or shorter version of this Ethernet cable.
It comes with gold-plated connectors which help to provide a more reliable connection. The cable is capable of transferring 1000Mbps, and the connectors are easy to insert and remove.
For the price of just $7, this is an amazing gaming Ethernet cable. As far as gaming performance goes, this cable works tremendously.
During my tests, I did not experience any network difficulty. I played several games, streamed on Netflix, and downloaded a program, all without any issues.
For less than $10, this is a fantastic Cat5e gaming Ethernet cable.
The RiteAV Cat6 50ft cable has 50 micron gold plated connectors for a fantastic data transmission. When I tested this cable, it passed each one with flying colors. Downloads were fast, my gaming connection was perfect (less than 15 ping), etc.
Compared to my old Cat5e cables, I was surprised by the noticeable difference between the Cat5e and Cat6. Especially when you consider this cable’s low cost, it only makes sense to upgrade.
If you’re a gamer wanting to improve your connection, I’d highly recommend this Ethernet cable.
Cat 7 Ethernet cables are a bit overkill for gaming. In all honesty, you could definitely get away with a Cat 6 cable, or even a Cat 5e cable.
However, if you want a great Cat 7 Ethernet cable for gaming, I’d recommend the Vandesail Cat7 Flat.
On the other hand, you’ll probably want a great Cat 7 Ethernet cable if you’re a streamer. A Cat 7 generation cable is the best Ethernet cable for streaming.
If you’re a serious streamer, you have to stream high quality video, which means you’ll need a great Ethernet cable. Cat 7 cables deliver the speed and performance you need to stream high quality content.
What is Ethernet?
Ethernet refers to the most common LAN (Local Area Network) used today. A LAN is a connected network of computers (nodes) in a small area, such as a school or university, your home, or a data center. Ethernet is not wireless. Although it may seem odd that we’re still using Ethernet cables in a world of wireless connectivity, Ethernet cables actually still serve an important purpose.
Ethernet has been around since the beginning of the 1970s, and they’ve become increasingly faster with each new generation of cables. Today’s best Ethernet cables can support speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Huge businesses that are technologically progressive have access to the newest Ethernet cables that can transfer data with speeds up to 10,000 Mbps – unfortunately, the rest of us will have to wait a while before we can use them.
Benefits of Ethernet vs. WiFi
Let’s break these points down:
Stability: Setting up a LAN network is more time-consuming and costly than a wireless network, but a LAN has several important benefits that wireless networks cannot provide. Firstly, WiFi signals are transmitted via radio waves. This means WiFi signals are prone to interference.
If you have a wired Ethernet cable, connection interference is not an issue. You’re far less likely to experience slowdowns and disconnections. Moreover, because each device is directly wired via ethernet, you don’t have to share bandwidth between devices.
Flexibility: Ethernet cables can transfer data up to 100 meters away (that’s a bit longer than a football field), which is much farther than a wireless signal can reach. In addition, most routers already have Ethernet ports, so it isn’t hard to make the switch.
Security: If you are dealing with sensitive information, an Ethernet cable also provides heightened security. Since your internet connection is physical, you maintain control of who is connected to your local network at all times. This frees up data for other users on your network while simultaneously preventing unwwanted and harmful security breaches.
Disadvantages of Ethernet vs. WiFi
Let’s break these points down:
Cost: Ethernet cables can be expensive, and depending on the complexity of your network, they can be very expensive. If you merely want one gaming Ethernet cable for your PS4 or PC, it won’t be costly at all. On the other hand, if you’re the owner of a business – large or small – you’ll need modems, firewalls, servers, and you’ll probably have to pay someone to install it for you as well.
Mobility: If you’re using WiFi, you can walk freely about your home or business while accessing the internet. It’s incredibly convenient, and we often take this for granted. If you’re using a wired connection, you won’t be able to move around. Lastly, portable devices such as tablets, smartphones, netbooks and e-readers don’t come equipped with Ethernet ports.
What is the Best Type of Ethernet Cable for Gaming?
Although you may not have known before, Ethernet cables have been developed in different generations. Each new generation of cables has tighter twists in the copper wiring and faster data transfer speeds. Here are all of the different generations of Ethernet cables:
Cat 3 (Category 3): This is one of the oldest Ethernet cable generations. It could only support a maximum frequency of 16 MHz – this is incredibly slow, especially when compared to the speed of modern Ethernet cables.
Cat 5 (Category 5): Cat5 cables are used in some instances (usually by your grandparents), but they’ve pretty much become obsolete for the rest of the modern world. Cat5e largely replaced the older Cat5 generation. When the Cat5 was first released, it was applauded. It could transfer 10/100 Mbps over 100 meters of distance.
Cat 5e (Category 5e): The ‘E’ means enhanced and the Cat5e cables follows the strict IEEE standard. The Cat5e reduces interference from other wires, and have 1.5 - 2 twists / cm which results in an increased data transfer speed than the older Cat5 cables. Cat5e cables have become largely popular because they are budget friendly and effective. These cables use 4 data pairs as opposed to the Cat3 cables’ 2 data pairs. The Cat5e cable can support 1000Mbps. Although this isn’t as fast as a Cat6 cable, it surely gets the job done.
Cat 6 (Category 6): The Cat6 Ethernet cables have wires that are more twisted than older Ethernet cable generations. The Cat 6 cable has 4 twists per cm, which is double that of Cat5e cables. The Cat6 cable can support speeds up to 10Gbps and frequencies up to 250MHz.
Cat 6a (Category 6a): The Cat6a cable can support bandiwdth frequences of up to 500MHz, and it can transmit data at 100 meters, which is 63 meters farther than a Cat6 cable can transmit 10Gbps. The covering is also stronger which helps to protect against Alien Crosstalk and improves the signal to noise ratio.
Cat 7 (Category 7): This generation is still new and in testing, so it has not been adopted as a mainstream replacement for Cat5e and Cat6 cables. However, in lab conditions, the cable is able to transmit up to 100Gbps at a distance of 15 meters. It has extensive shielding on both the individual pairs within and the cable cover. The shielding must be grounded and a special GigaGate 45 (GG45) connector is needed to fully harness the high performance of the Cat7 cable. This cable is best used by enterprise networks and data centers, but they’re probably a bit overkill for gaming.
Cat 8 (Category 8): This cable is still being tested, but it is rumored that the cable will be able to handle 25GB and 40Gb Ethernet with faster transmission rates.
Gaming Ethernet Cable FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
I get a lot of questions regarding this topic, so I’ve created this FAQ section to answer some of the more common ones.
What is the best Ethernet cable for gaming?
In my experience, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot, but buying a Cat6 cable is always a good idea. However, if your internet connection is too slow for gaming in the first place, buying an expensive Ethernet cable isn’t going to help you.
Which is better for gaming: Cat5 or Cat6?
Cat6 cables are faster and more efficient than Cat5, so technically, Cat6 is your best bet from a performance standpoint.
However, the price to performance ratio of a Cat6 cable isn’t that great – in other words, you’ll get similar gaming performance from a Cat5 cable for a much lower price.
Is a Cat 7 cable good for gaming?
Technically speaking, yes, it would be great for gaming. From a performance/dollar standpoint, however, you’re probably better off going with a cheaper option. Cat7 cables are designed for advanced networking systems, not just for connecting an Xbox to a router.
Is Ethernet good for gaming?
Yeah, definitely. Ethernet is the best way to connect any gaming device to the internet if you want the best possible connection. WiFi may seem more convenient, but it’s definitely slower and less reliable.
Is a wired connection good for gaming?
Well, based on the answer above, yes… A wired connection is good for gaming. For some reason I’m still asked this via email even though I pretty much answered it above…
Can I use a wireless adapter instead?
Of course you can! I actually use a wireless adapter with my setup because I’m living in a college dorm, and it works well for me. Using a wired connection is only ideal if you need the fastest possible connection, and you’re somewhat close to your router.
How long can the cable be?
If your router is far away from your setup, you’re going to need a long Ethernet cable. Just remember that signal strength deteriorates as the cable becomes longer. Any of the cables on this list will do just fine.
What’s faster, wireless or wired?
Yes, sometimes I’m actually asked this question. Wired, of course!
What If Your Router Is Too Far Away?
As mentioned previously, the length of your Ethernet cable has a direct impact on network speed. If your cable is too long, your internet connection speed will suffer.
This could become an issue if your gaming setup is rather far from your router. Even if you have a cable that’s long enough, you’ll have to run the cable through hallways, rooms, and possibly behind walls. It can be a pain in the butt.
Luckily, there’s a much easier – and cheaper – solution. You can buy something called a powerline adapter.
It uses your home’s existing infrastructure to send data from your router to your device, rather than with an Ethernet cable.
Simply plug one end of an Ethernet cable into your router, and plug the other end into the powerline adapter. The powerline adapter can be plugged into any outlet near your router.
Next, in any other room in your house, plug the other powerline adapter into the wall, and then plug the Ethernet cable from that adapter into your device.
The adapters use your home’s electrical wiring to send a signal. It works surprisingly well, it’s cheap, and convenient. This is my recommendation for those of you who aren’t gaming near your router.
If you’re going to use a powerline adapter, I’d recommend the TP-Link AV1000 Gigabit Powerline adapter.
If you want to improve your internet connection, a Cat5e or Cat6 cable is a great way to do so. A direct connection will always be faster than a wireless connection. If you decide to buy a Cat cable, make sure it is long enough to reach your gaming setup (but not too long, or it will hurt your connection.)
Lastly, if you decide to upgrade to a Cat6 cable, you’ll have to upgrade all of your Ethernet cables, not just one. If you don’t upgrade the rest, your Cat6 cable will still work because it is backwards compatible. Although, you’d be wasting your money on the Cat6 cable, because it would be slowed down by the Cat5e cables. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.