Consoles Gaming

Should I use an Ethernet cable for PS4 online play?

should I use ethernet with ps4

Should you use an Ethernet cable if you’re playing online games on your PS4? Yes, absolutely. If you can. That’s pretty much all you need to know, but here why – and one potentially useful purchase.

Why should I use an Ethernet cable with my PS4?

Two words: ‘latency’ and ‘stability’. While multiplayer games don’t need huge amounts of bandwidth, latency is all-important. It has a direct effect on your reaction times, which are obviously quite important in a first-person shooter.  

Stability is also important, and given the sheer number of devices sharing the bandwidth in a given neighbourhood, the chances of interference are high. 

Unfortunately, this is especially true if your router is in a different room to your PS4, as Wi-Fi signals often have trouble getting through walls and floors. Such obstacles also make running a cable from one to the other more difficult. However, you can try a Powerline adapter as a cheap, hassle-free alternative.   

Are wired speeds faster than Wi-Fi?

While it’s more about reliability than speed, I’ve found that the PS4 is generally a lot nippier with a wired connection than with Wi-Fi. 

My PS4 Pro sits no more than two metres away from a Virgin Media router, but I used the system’s built-in connection tester on both and the results were stark. With Wi-Fi, it was measuring around 40Mbits/sec, which is more than enough for online gaming. After I connected the Ethernet cable, that speed jumped to 80Mbits/sec, which makes a huge difference for download speeds, if little change in actual matches. 

Does PS4 Wi-Fi have any advantages?

Yes, and it’s the main reason most people don’t bother with cables in 2020: convenience. Having to reach behind the TV to feel out the right port to use is nobody’s idea of fun – or at least nobody that I’ve ever met – and it’s far simpler just to use the on-board Wi-Fi chip that Sony considerately included from the outset. 

Otherwise, no. Which is why it’s absolutely worth making the switch if you play games online. If you’re a single-player only gamer, then it’s probably not worth the hassle – even for the theoretical boost to download speeds for patches and the like.

READ NEXT How do I stop my PS4 Pro screen flickering?

About the author

Alan Martin

Alan has been writing about tech professionally for a decade, and answering tech questions to family members on a voluntary basis for even longer. That should make him an ideal fit for Big Tech Question, then...

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • The WiFi antenna inside the PS4 is a simple wire that leads to a metal plate, located just under the front of the BD player. It is, without doubt, terrible and I can’t even get it to pick up a WiFi signal in its current location (and Amazon Dot next to it works just fine).

    For this reason, I use a Powerline connection which has worked, without a hitch, for the last 5 years.