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fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: goodmanx
Date: September 17, 2021 12:59PM
we just got at&t fiber optic service, with which we’re VERY pleased;$70/mo, including their bgw320 modem/router, for gigabit service. we can connect our 4th gen apple tv by ethernet, but it limits us to 100 Mbps download speed. we regularly get 250-400+ Mbps on the atv with wifi.

prior comcast wifi (170-ish Mbps down) generally provided dependable service, but we occasionally had some buffering problems, though there have been none so far with the fiber optic.

we’re considering getting a 4k atv with gigabit ethernet, but are reluctant to spend the $75 or so to get a used one on ebay. we don’t have a 4k tv and don’t have any interest in 4k content (everything looks hyper-realistic and cartoonish).

will the hard-wired, but slower, ethernet be more likely to avoid buffering problems than the faster wifi?

should we just stay on wifi and see if we have any buffering problems?

would the 4k atv be a needless expense and/or overkill?

also, we have an unmanaged gigabit switch connecting two ethernet runs. will an ethernet coupler (female rj45 on each end) instead of the switch significantly speed-up that run?

we’ll appreciate other thoughts or advice about this set-up.

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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: September 17, 2021 01:14PM
I'm always very pro-wired-connection, and then start upgrading devices to ones that have gigabit.
I've never had buffering issues with 100mpbs wired, as long as my service was delivering a consistent speed above 50mbps.

If you already have the wiring in place, there's no down-side to trying it!

Paul F.
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.



Eureka, CA
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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 17, 2021 02:21PM
AppleTV does not have gigabit Ethernet?

Still 100 meg should be plenty. WiFi can be spotty. Wires will always be better.
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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 17, 2021 03:18PM
I hate wires.

Thankfully our homes have been newer and smaller, so no issues mteal, or lath and plaster, or any other thing that blocks wifi. Our wifi signal has always been great.

Im gonna say that imho, comcast casued 100% your issues with everything.

After having ATT SDSL @ 55/15 consitnet 24/7 for years, and everything running *perfect* -- with a dozen wireless devices, tons of streaming and 4K... moving to comcast @ 200/5 was awful. Speeds were all over the place, connection wasnt ever dropped, but when the speed dropped to 1 MBs, it might as well have been.

Moving to ATT FiOS @ 300/300 (can someone tell me why would you need more?) has returned us to the happy place we were before. No wires and blistering, consistent speeds. in our experience, comcast just couldnt do it.

We watch 4K wireless to our 3 TVs and iDevices, and M1 macs all day and night. Never a hiccup.

Just gave all my ethernet and HDMI cables to goodwill, good riddence. =)

Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: September 17, 2021 03:31PM
AppleTV does not have gigabit Ethernet?.

Apple TV 4K does (both generations).
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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 17, 2021 05:32PM
Your AppleTV isn't limited by the speed of the network connection. Netflix takes 25Mbps for 4k content.

Like Paul F, I prefer ethernet for devices that stay in one place but its probably out of habit more than real world improvement. In theory, there's less latency with ethernet than wifi. Also, ethernet isn't the party line that is wifi.

That said, many (most?) people rely on wifi and are pleased.

I agree that switching internet providers likely solved your problems.

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Re: fast wifi or slow(er) ethernet?
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 18, 2021 04:07PM
Another vote for a WIRED connection. I don't know why your ethernet is so slow; do you have "older" hardware that limits the throughput? Wired is definitely more secure, uses less power and generally IS faster than WiFi.
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