Difference Between WiFi And Ethernet (With Table)

The advancement of technology in recent decades has been sans bound. With the leap of mankind towards artificial intelligence, various networking mechanisms were prone to make a breakthrough. Among many other modes of data transfer, WiFi and Ethernet gained widespread popularity in their respective domains. As far as the differences are concerned, they are much wider than the technological aspect employed in their creation.

WiFi vs Ethernet

The main difference between WiFi and Ethernet is that the former is a wireless mode of the internet while the latter uses a cable wire for transmission (mandatory component). They have a similar purpose of providing internet facilities to devices connected to the same modem. The differences are based on the mode of communication and the necessary attachments that help in establishing internet connectivity.

WiFi can also be regarded as the most advanced form of internet connectivity available in the world. It is easy to set up and overhead charges are negligible. It has become the household name of the internet thanks to the profitable packages announced by various leading telecom companies from time to time.

Ethernet is an older version of internet communication that helped establish connections using wires. Though mobile data connections are still prevalent, activities like work from home, etc led to an increase in the reliability of this model. It is more efficient than all other forms and speed is also quite high.

Comparison Table Between WiFi And Ethernet

Parameters of ComparisonWiFiEthernet
DefinitionWiFi can be defined as a wireless internet connection, also known as wireless fidelity.Ethernet can be defined as a wired internet connection.
FlexibilityThe flexibility of this model is higher due to its high portability. The flexibility of Ethernet is low due to the number of wired connections required.
Mode of ConnectionWiFi offers internet connectivity through radio waves.Ethernet uses old modes of connection like LAN. A
TypesCommon types of WiFi include 802.11a and 11Ax. Ethernet can easily be classified into MAN, WAN, AND LAN.
DiscoveryWiFi was discovered in 1997. Ethernet first came into being in 1961.

What is WiFi?

WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is a much-advanced form of LAN. It works on the principle of Ethernet only but the scope is wider, thanks to the ease of access and no bar on the number of connections in and around a particular area. It is highly popular and is used in offices as well as homes. The common advantages of WiFi include increasing mobile connectivity and reducing the need for wires.

A single wire is required where the cable is attached to the modem. Other connections are wireless and the user requires to input the designated password for establishing a stable connection. An IP address is also a unique factor that plays a crucial role in managing all the devices from a single source. It stands for internet provider address and exists in numerical form, separated by colons.

WiFi is largely made available through radio waves through a lot of attempts have been made to do the same using optical fibers. These better versions worked on the disadvantages of Ethernet to provide greater satisfaction to the common user base. WiFi names and passwords have also gained much popularity since ventures sparked creativity by providing the users with open opportunities in the same regard.

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet is the wired mode of providing internet connectivity to numerous devices connected on a single modem. It is most widely used in official setups where connections are made across the same room or building. The stability of this form of connection is higher than that of WiFi and the inclusion of a greater number of devices does not reduce the efficacy of the internet connection provided in any manner.

The significance of Ethernet dropped beyond imagination after the incorporation of better versions. Some of the disadvantages include low portability, frequent tangling of wires, lesser ease of access, and the requirement of a modem at the site of connection. Still, the speed was much higher than that of WiFi, which maintains its old significance in these times as well.

Ethernet usage was much more cumbersome owing to the mesh of wires that one was required to manage along with the other attachments and electronic components. The 3 most common types include local area network (also known as LAN), metropolitan area network (also known as MAN), and wide area network (also known as WAN). The purpose is similar to the actual terminology – LAN for houses, MAN for huge complexes, and WAN for complete districts or cities.

Main Differences Between WiFi And Ethernet

  1. WiFi provides wireless internet connectivity for a large range of devices while Ethernet is limited to PCs and similar devices due to the necessity of wires.
  2. The flexibility of WiFi is higher than that of Ethernet. The former can permeate concrete walls as well while the latter is limited to the scope of the wire’s reach.
  3. As far as the mode of connection is concerned, WiFi uses radio waves while Ethernet uses cables.
  4. Some of the most common types of WiFi include 11Ax and 802.11a. On the other hand, Ethernet comes in the form of LAN, MAN, and WAN.
  5. WiFi was discovered in the year 1997 while Ethernet’s discovery dates back to the 1960s (almost two decades gap).


In the last century, it was a rarity to bump into someone who owned a technology-driven device or had access to the internet. The condition has been reversed ever since cheap internet facilities became available to the masses. Optic fibers, multimedia sharing, and much more drove tech-savvy people towards perfection. Software engineers emerged in large numbers too.

WiFi and Ethernet provided groundbreaking speed in the years of popularity. Though more advanced forms are expected in the future, the former remains highly significant, thanks to the ease of access. Once a mode of internet communication hits the markets, the search for technological antidotes also reaches its peak. Whilst no predictions can be considered accurate, a technological leap is sure to hit humanity in the upcoming decades.


  1. https://www.academia.edu/download/55854415/NOV151778.pdf
  2. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:929872
2D vs 3D