Are Long Ethernet Cables Bad For Gaming? (Solved)

When it comes to gaming, we need things to run smoothly, because if they don’t it could mean the difference between a big win or an epic loss.

When we’re playing online, we rely on an internet connection, and so it makes sense to plug in an ethernet cable to ensure that connection is secure.

However, you may have wondered whether the length of your cable will cause more problems than it solves.

Here’s If Long Ethernet Cables Are Bad For Gaming:

In general, it is unlikely that an observable difference in gaming quality will be detected whilst using a longer ethernet cable. However, interference or degradation may occur if the signal has to travel distances that exceed the cable’s capabilities.

Blue, green, yellow, white, RCA, HDMI, USB, internet  digital connectors, cables  and plugs isolated on white

Despite this, the factor that will have a greater effect on your gaming experience will be ensuring you have the correct type of cable that supports the speeds you need.

Will A Long Ethernet Cable Cause Computer Games To Lag?

So you’ve fired up your favorite game and you’re raring to take some potshots at a hapless noob, but unfortunately, your sharp-shooting abilities are being hampered by what’s called lag.

So What Exactly Is Lag?

  • Lag refers to an observable reduction in the application (or game’s) speed.
  • When you input an action in a game, such as firing a weapon or jumping, and the game does not react in a timely manner, this is a clear indication of lag.
  • In other words, lag is best understood as a time delay between your inputs and the game reacting to that input.
  • Online games can experience lag due to either network congestion or a lack of processing power, or both.
  • Online games rely on sending and receiving information. If network latency occurs it will delay how quickly this information is transferred and decoded.
  • Lag can be incredibly frustrating for gamers playing games that require quick response times, however, it can be tolerated in games that have a slower pace, such as strategy games.

To reduce the chances of experiencing lag, many gamers will use an ethernet cable to ensure that their connection to the internet is uninterrupted and as stable as possible.

However, it is still possible to experience lag even with an ethernet cable connection, but the length is not normally a factor you need to worry about.

Reasons You Are Experiencing Lag With Your Ethernet Cable

There is of course a point at which an ethernet cable’s length may become a problem, but the chances are the length of cable you are using probably has nothing to do with any lag you are experiencing.

Instead, the reasons you’re gaming in the congested world of ‘lag city’ are due to the following:

  1. Your network is congested.
  2. You need to change your firewall configuration.
  3. You may have a limit on your bandwidth.
  4. Your network drivers need to be updated.

The chances that the length of your ethernet cable is the reason for lag is fairly low, in fact, as the folks at whatsabyte.com point out:

“You should not bother a lot with the length of the ethernet cable because it is not a significant factor. You might have the shortest cable, but still experience some issues with your network connection, meaning there is no reason to worry about it.”

At What Point Are Ethernet Cables Too Long For Gaming?

So we’ve covered that the lag your experiencing whilst playing your favorite game is unlikely to be due to your ethernet cable’s length.

However, there is a limit to how far that advice will stretch – no pun intended!

You see, when it comes to ethernet cables and gaming, there is a point at which a long cable can become too long.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of measurements, it’s first important to take note of the speed at which ethernet cables carry signals:

  • The signals within your ethernet cable will hit speeds of around 200km per millisecond.
  • In other words, your ethernet cable is sending and receiving data at about two-thirds of the speed of light.
  • This means that it really shouldn’t make a difference (at least not an observable one) whether you are using an ethernet cable that is 20 meters or 10.
  • Despite this, the longer the cable, the further the signals need to travel.

How Long Until Something Goes Wrong

To ensure that the length of your ethernet cable won’t interfere with your gaming pleasure it is crucial to know at what point your signals are going to struggle to make their timely journey through your cable and to your computer (and visa-versa).

  • Signal loss may begin to occur when the length of your ethernet cable is over 100 meters.
  • An ethernet cable should work to its specifications so long as it is not made to carry signals over 328 ft.
  • When this distance is exceeded, the cable will struggle to transfer a strong signal.
  • A weakened signal will result in a reduction of speed and stability with your network connection.
  • This reduction will, as already covered above, cause latency which can lead to a frustrating gaming experience.

It is worth noting that there is still some debate as to when latency will occur in relation to length, with PCguide.com arguing that:

“Once you get past the 15m range the signal starts to degrade which leads to poorer speeds.”

Despite this, some users will find that they achieve acceptable connections with a 100m (or above) ethernet cable.

However, when it comes to gaming, stability and speed are key components for a satisfying gaming session.

In other words, if you have an ethernet cable connection that surpasses a manufacturer’s limit, you are increasing the chance that your cable won’t perform as well as you’d like – and that, understandably, can affect your gameplay.

Are Really Long Ethernet Cables Better Than Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is great. There’s no doubt about it. It’s given us the ability to connect to the internet without the need for any wires or cables.

Wi-Fi connections have also become so much faster as time has progressed, giving us speeds that can handle the tricky tasks of online gaming.

However, using an ethernet cable does have its advantages – namely stability and the potential to hit the top speeds that your internet connection should provide.

You should remember that, despite using an ethernet cable, you will always be limited to the speed that your internet connection provides.

An ethernet connection really shines when you are transferring files between devices as this process is not reliant on your internet connection.

The Pros Of Using An Ethernet Connection Over Wi-Fi

There are some key advantages of using an ethernet cable over using Wi-Fi, so long as you have the ability to run the cable within your home.

Below, we take a look at what gives an ethernet cable the edge:

  • You’ll experience a reduction in latency whilst using an ethernet connection.
  • An ethernet cable is more stable, and thus, more reliable than a Wi-Fi connection.
  • A Wi-Fi connection can be prone to interference and the signal can be blocked by objects in your home.
  • Other electrical devices can disrupt Wi-Fi connections, whereas an ethernet cable will not be affected.
  • Interference can result in a loss of connectivity which will obviously affect how well your online game will run.

So in summary, an ethernet cable will offer you a better overall connection and speed, but when it comes to the length of the cable you should keep in mind the following:

  • Ethernet cables over the 100m mark may, as we’ve already noted, cause latency issues.
  • Additionally, a long cable can also be inconvenient and, at worse, dangerous.
  • Long cables present a trip hazard and are unsightly, using a Wi-Fi connection is a convenient solution to be cable free.
  • However, if your setup is suited for using an ethernet cable in an unobtrusive way and the cable itself is at a sensible length, then it is likely to offer you better results than Wi-Fi.

Are High-Speed Ethernet Cables Better For Gaming?

In order for you to get the most out of your internet connection, and therefore have stability and performance whilst in-game, you need an ethernet cable that can handle the speeds your IPS provides.

When it comes to speed and ethernet cables, it’s the ‘Cat’ number that you should be paying attention to.

Ethernet cables have evolved to offer higher speeds and the Cat number indicates each new generation of cable.

The higher the Cat number, the more modern the cable and the faster it is.

A high-speed ethernet cable will allow more bandwidth and will offer players a far superior connection to the internet.

Ensuring you have an ethernet cable that has the ability to handle the speed that your IPS provide is crucial.

Older cables with lower speeds won’t allow you to reap the benefits that you’re paying for and, as for your gaming, your experience will be unnecessarily hampered.

Read our blog here about should you unplug your computer when not in use?

Do Ethernet Cable Types Matter For Gaming?

Speed is clearly an important issue when it comes to gaming, and as we’ve seen, the cable types (indicated by their Cat number) dictate those speeds. So, it’s clear that the type of ethernet cable you pick can be an important factor.

After a quick search online you may have noticed that there are an array of different Cat numbers out there, ranging from Cat 5 all the way up to Cat 8.

So to save you the hassle of digging through the data we’ll break it down like this:

  • When it comes to gaming you should purchase an ethernet cable that is categorized as Cat 6.
  • Cat 6 will handle speeds of 1,000 Mbps.
  • In this day and age, it would be unwise to go below Cat 6.
  • However, as we will see, going above Cat 6 and even up to Cat 8 is not a bad shout, especially if you want to future-proof and get the most out of the best internet speeds.

What Are The Best Ethernet Cables For Gaming?

So, it’s time for a new ethernet cable and only the very best will do – let’s face it, you don’t need anything interfering with your next kill-streak.

Take a look at some of the best ethernet cables on the market to ensure you have the connection you need to be the gamer you were born to be:

  1. The DbillionDA Cat 8
    • Will handle 2000MHz worth of bandwidth due to its Cat 8 rating.
    • Up to 40gbps speed.
    • Tough and durable 26 AWG cable that is flexible and waterproof.
    • Available in different lengths in order to offer multiple setup options.
  2. Zosion Cat 8 Ethernet Cable
    • Gold plated RJ45 connector allows for increased responsivity.
    • Both flame resistant and waterproof due to a 0.8mm PVC coating.
    • Prevents signal interference because of the way the twisted pairs of cables are shielded.
    • Will provide speeds of 40Gbps at a max bandwidth of 2000MHz.
    • Lifetime warranty
  3. GLANICS Cat 8 Ethernet Cable
    • Cat 8 specifications with 40Gbps at 2000MHz.
    • The copper wires are made entirely from copper and are protected by PVC.
    • Comes in the color white and at different lengths (up to 100ft).

What Is The Best Ethernet Setup For Gaming?

So, now armed with the knowledge of what ethernet cable is right for you, it’s time we take a look at how to ensure that your ethernet setup is the best it can be.

Here we’ll guide you through the changes you need to make on your PC to have an optimal ethernet setup:

  1. First, you need to open ‘Network & Internet Settings‘ by finding the icon in your taskbar, giving it a right-click, and selecting the option.
  2. Now open ‘Change adaptor options‘.
  3. You’ll need to un-check the option for ‘Internet Protocol Version 6‘. To do this you need to Open ‘Properties‘ by right-clicking on your ethernet connection and then scroll down the list to click the relevant box to un-mark it.
  4. Now hit ‘OK‘ to confirm.

The next step towards your perfect ethernet setup for gaming relies on you disabling the ethernet adaptor components:

  1. Follow the initial steps as outlined before to open ‘Network & Internet Settings‘.
  2. Now choose to ‘Change adaptor options‘.
  3. Find the correct connection and right-click it to open ‘Properties‘.
  4. Click ‘Configure‘ and then navigate to the ‘Advanced‘ tab.
  5. Select ‘Interrupt Moderation‘ from the list on the left-hand side.
  6. Using the drop-down menu under ‘Value‘ select ‘Disable‘.

Optimizing Your Gaming With The Ethernet Advanced Settings

By disabling some settings you can vastly improve your ethernet gaming setup:

  1. Hit your Windows and ‘R’ keys simultaneously to open the ‘Run‘ box.
  2. Type ‘devmgmt.msc‘ and then hit enter.
  3. Scroll down through the list, find ‘Network Adaptors‘ and click to expand.
  4. Choose your network adaptor and right-click in order to open ‘Properties‘.
  5. Select the ‘Advanced‘ tab and then disable all of the following:
    • ARP offload for WoWLAN.
    • NS offload for WoWLAN.
    • Interrupt Moderation.
    • Flow Control.
    • Receive Side Scaling.
    • Adaptive Inter-Frame Spacing.
    • Enable PME.
    • Packet Priority & VLAN.
    • Jumbo Packet.

It’s also worth ensuring that you have ‘power saving mode’ deactivated. To do this just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the ‘Device Manager‘ again.
  2. Find ‘Network Adaptors‘ and expand it.
  3. Now find your ethernet adaptor, right-click it and open ‘Properties‘.
  4. Choose the ‘Power Management‘ tab and then ensure that the ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option‘ is unchecked.
  5. Finally, hit ‘OK‘ to confirm changes.

You should now have optimized your setup for using an ethernet cable whilst playing games online. If you run into any issues you should ensure that your network drivers are updated.

Read our blog here about can Ethernet cables be too long?

Sources

 

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