Wired and Wireless Networking

Wired and wireless networking are two primary methods used to connect devices and facilitate communication between them. Each method has its advantages and is suited to different scenarios:

Histroy of Wired and Wireless Networking

In 1960s, the Internet was created as a means for government researchers to communicate information. In the 1960s, computers were enormous and stationary, and in order to access information stored on them, one had to either travel to the computer’s location or have magnetic computer tapes transported through the mail system.


The escalation of the Cold War was another factor in the development of the Internet. As a result, the United States Defense Department required to examine how information may be distributed even after a nuclear attack. So, the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the network that later evolved into what we now know as the Internet, was formed. There were no standard means for computer networks to communicate with one another. Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP) was created as a new communication protocol. This allowed various types of computers on various networks to “speak” to one another. On January 1, 1983, ARPANET and the Defense Data Network switched to the TCP/IP standard, resulting in the birth of the Internet. A universal language could now connect all networks.

Wired Networking

Reliability: Wired connections tend to be more stable and reliable than wireless connections because they are less prone to interference and signal loss.

Speed: Generally, wired connections offer higher data transfer speeds compared to wireless connections. Technologies like Ethernet and fiber optics can provide extremely fast data rates.

Security: Wired networks are considered more secure as they are harder to intercept compared to wireless signals.

Stability: They are less affected by environmental factors like interference from other devices or physical barriers.

Cost: Initially, setting up wired networks might be costlier due to cabling and infrastructure requirements, but they often have lower maintenance costs over time.

Examples of Wired Networking

  • Ethernet: Commonly used in homes and businesses for local area network (LAN) connections.
  • Fiber Optic Cables: Employed for high-speed internet connections, data centers, and long-distance communication due to their high bandwidth capabilities.

Wireless Networking

Mobility: Wireless networks provide flexibility and mobility, allowing devices to connect without physical cables. This is ideal for mobile devices like smartphones, laptops, and IoT devices.

Convenience: Users can connect to the network from various locations within the coverage area without the constraint of physical connections.

Scalability: Wireless networks are easily scalable as additional devices can join the network without the need for additional physical connections.

Ease of Installation: Setting up wireless networks is generally easier and less intrusive since it doesn’t require laying cables.

Adaptability: Wireless technology allows for innovation and adaptation in various fields, including IoT, smart home devices, and emerging technologies.

Examples of Wireless Networking

  • Wi-Fi: Widely used in homes, offices, public spaces, and commercial establishments to provide wireless internet access.
  • Bluetooth: Used for short-range communication between devices (e.g., wireless headphones, keyboards, and smart home devices).
  • Cellular Networks: Enable mobile communication through smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Both wired and wireless networks are crucial components of modern connectivity, often used in conjunction to provide seamless and efficient communication across various devices and environments. The choice between wired and wireless often depends on factors like speed requirements, security concerns, mobility needs, and the specific application or environment where the network will be deployed.

How does WiFi works?

The IEEE 802.11 standard defines the protocols that allow existing Wi-Fi-enabled wireless devices, such as wireless routers and access points, to communicate with one another. Different IEEE standards are supported by wireless access points.
Each standard is the result of a series of amendments that have been ratified over time. The standards operate at different frequencies, have different bandwidths, and support varied channel counts.

Compare Wi-Fi & internet

Although Wi-Fi and the Internet are closely related and are frequently used interchangeably, there are significant differences between the two. The Internet is a wide area network (WAN) that uses a set of protocols to send data between networks and devices all over the world. Wi-Fi. on the other hand, is only a way to link devices without the use of cables.

If you don’t have a modem or Internet subscription from an ISP, you can have a Wi-Fi connection but no Internet access. As a result, the signal strength of a Wi-Fi network is unrelated to the Internet speed that a user may experience when connected.

Compare Wired and Wireless Network

S.No Wired Network Wireless Network
1. A wired network employs wires to link devices to the Internet or another network, such as laptops or desktop PCs. “Wireless” means without wire, media that is made up of electromagnetic waves (EM Waves) or infrared waves. Antennas or sensors will be present on all wireless devices
2. Faster transmission speed Slow transmission speed
3. Propagation delay is Low Propagation delay is high
4. More Secure & hence Reliable Less Secure & hence less Reliable
5. Devices must be hard-wired Installation is Quick
6. Less Expensive More Expensive
7. High installation & maintenance cost Low installation & maintenance cost
8. Hub, Switch, etc. devices are used Wireless routers, access points, etc. are used.

Wired or Wireless which one is best ?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether wired or wireless is “best.” The choice often depends on the specific requirements of the scenario:

  • Home or Office Use: For stationary devices requiring high-speed and reliable connections, wired networks might be preferable. However, for mobile devices and flexibility, wireless networks are more convenient.
  • Business Environments: Wired connections might be preferred for critical operations requiring high reliability and security. Wireless networks can supplement these for added mobility and flexibility in certain areas.
  • Public Spaces: Wi-Fi is prevalent in public spaces due to its convenience and ability to serve multiple users simultaneously.

In practice, many setups use a combination of both wired and wireless technologies to leverage the strengths of each. For example, businesses might have wired connections for critical systems while providing Wi-Fi for employee mobility. Ultimately, the “best” choice depends on the specific needs, constraints, and priorities of the situation.

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