Is ethernet more secure than WiFi

Ethernet, WLAN or Powerline: advantages and disadvantages of networking

Home networking via WLAN, Powerline and Co.
Image: AVM View photos and videos from your smartphone on the TV screen, listen to the latest music albums from Adele or Coldplay, which are stored on the hard drive of the PC in the study, on the hi-fi system in the living room and, and ... More and more people are thinking about networking their houses or apartments: A large number of different devices can be integrated into a home network. Each networked end device can access the data of the others. But if you want to install a home network, you are spoiled for choice: with Ethernet cable, WLAN or the power grid, at least three options are available. highlights the advantages and disadvantages.

Option 1: Connection via Ethernet cable

Home networking via WLAN, Powerline and Co.
Image: AVM The oldest possibility of networking different end devices is the connection via network cable. Even today, numerous people who want to connect several PCs in an apartment to a DSL router, for example, swear by this technical solution. The advantages: The connections via Ethernet cable achieve maximum speeds. Depending on the connected devices, up to 1,000 Mbit / s (1 GB) can be achieved. This high speed of data transfer enables all usage scenarios: Even an HD video with 1,080p can be transmitted from the PC to the LCD TV in the living room without causing "jerky images". On the way from the router to the end devices, there is hardly any data loss when connecting via network cables. In addition, the connections are secure because the networks are closed and cannot be accessed by unauthorized outside parties.

The biggest disadvantage is that the user has to pull cables and lines through the entire apartment. If you want to connect devices in several apartments, you can't avoid drilling holes. In many rental apartments in which the landlord has forbidden the residents to drill through walls, the option of the Ethernet cable is therefore ruled out.

In addition, numerous end devices nowadays no longer have a network cable connection. While you can connect an additional network card to PCs, for example, most Internet radio devices cannot be upgraded accordingly. Even if devices can be connected to an Ethernet cable, the installation is often problematic and in individual cases can only be carried out by specialists.

Option 2: networking via WLAN

The most widespread is wireless networking via wireless LAN (WLAN). Almost every device that the user wants to install in a home network has WLAN access. The biggest advantage of this solution is that no cables are required for data transmission. The cable tangle that is unavoidable when networking via Ethernet cable does not exist with WLAN connections.

The integration of end devices into a network is usually child's play. If devices are integrated according to the DLNA or a compatible standard, they can configure themselves automatically and independently in the network. For the end user, this means that he only has to install a maximum of one server software and enter the WLAN key during setup, and all devices can address the DSL router.

However, the connection via WLAN also has some disadvantages: The speed depends on the standard used, the fastest are currently connections in the IEEE 802.11n standard with a nominal maximum of 300 Mbit / s. Despite modern encryption methods (such as WPA2), it is still possible that hackers from outside can dial into a WLAN connection. Depending on the spatial conditions, it is also possible that the WLAN connection does not provide enough bandwidth. Reinforced concrete or plasterboard walls or too great a distance from the DSL modem can be to blame for this. Some interfering electrical devices also have a negative effect on data throughput. The available radio channels are now overcrowded with WLAN networks, especially in more densely built-up areas. The result is that there is interference and your own WLAN network only delivers a fraction of the maximum possible bandwidth.

Option 3: Building a powerline network

Trendnet powerline adapter
Image: Trendnet If you don't want to opt for Ethernet or WLAN, you can also use data transmission via existing power lines, also known as Powerline. One of the advantages of this technology - similar to WLAN - is its simple installation. A home plug is connected to a PC or router via an Ethernet cable, and data can then be transferred via the power grid. The speeds are higher than with a WLAN connection: Theoretically, the Homeplug AV standard delivers up to 200 Mbit / s. The new AV2 standard even enables speeds of up to 1 GBit / s. The speed actually achieved, however, depends on the quality of the power line. A home plug network is also more prone to failure than an Ethernet connection. The consumer should also ensure that the maximum range is around 200 meters. After all, powerline connections are more secure than WLAN networks, because the data stream always ends at your own electricity meter, at least according to the manufacturers. Nevertheless, customers should protect themselves with a network password, because it is not uncommon for granny apartments in a residential building to be connected to the same power grid.

If the data throughput is too low due to interference, the consumer has to carry out additional installations: Experts advise, for example, that each adapter should have its own wall socket and remain uncovered, because when the powerline adapter is connected to a power strip, other "power guzzlers" can Negatively affect performance. It is also not to be disregarded that, conversely, electrical devices such as radios or television sets within the apartment can also be disturbed by Powerline, since the power cables become, so to speak, transmission antennas and can seriously interfere with terrestrial reception. Depending on the equipment, the prices for a Powerline adapter starter kit are between around 50 and 150 euros - plus there are costs for additional cables.

Conclusion: There is no ideal way of networking

There is no such thing as the ideal way for the three types of connection we have described for networking: It depends on individual needs and the types of end devices to be networked, whether the customer opts for a connection with Ethernet cable, WLAN or Powerline decides. For a simple one-room apartment, an Ethernet connection may be the best solution, as long as all devices can be integrated. In larger apartments or houses, on the other hand, a connection via WLAN or Powerline is more advantageous.

It is also possible to create mixed forms: For example, several network-compatible devices in the living room could be connected to a switch via Ethernet cables, while other devices in the living room could use WiFi and the entire upper floor would be supplied via powerline. Experts recommend moving slower transmission paths such as WLAN or Powerline lower down in the structure of the network. In general, the more devices that are operated in parallel in a home network, the higher the bandwidth of the DSL connection should be.