Wired or Wireless? How to Pick the Best Network for Your Home

If you are one of our regular blog readers, you are already aware of the fact that we love all there is to know about home networks. We love the convenience of a Wi-Fi network, but we also love the speed and reliability of a classic, wired-based network. But is there more to it than what meets the eye? Let’s find out!

Wired LANs

Wired LANs utilize Ethernet cables. Back in the day, people used to connect two computers through a modified Ethernet cable, called a crossover cable. Mostly for network gaming purposes, of course ;). Basically, you had to switch the send and receive wires (two pairs) at one end of the cable, and that was all!

That system was really easy to set up and use, but it didn’t allow the network to be extended on more than two computers. If you wanted to connect more PCs, you had to choose a different solution. That’s why regular networks need a central device, be it a router, a switch, a hub, etc.

To set up a wired network, you will need to run an Ethernet cable from the central device to each computer. Sometimes it can be difficult to position these cables and make the end result look nice at the same time. The problem is especially difficult if the network consists of several computers that are located in different rooms.

The good news is that the required hardware equipment is inexpensive. And once you’ve got the wires in place, it is easy to set up the wired network. All the modern operating systems are able to supply the needed drivers, along with support for standard Internet protocols.

Wired LANs are known for their fast speeds, which can reach up to 1 Gbps. That’s enough speed to stream even 4K videos without losing a frame! If you are looking for a lag-free Internet connection that’s also fit for fast action online games, for example, you will want your computer to be connected to a wired network.

But what about reliability? From our experience, most routers are reliable, especially if you pick a brand that’s known for its high quality products. Still, we’ve seen quite a few poorly built, unreliable Ethernet cables, so be sure to invest into good quality cables, even if they will cost you an extra buck per piece.

Wireless LANs

Just like wired LANs, wireless LANs can be configured to work using a peer-to-peer mode, or they can use a central wireless device – a router – which governs communication in the network.

To set up a wireless network, you will need a Wi-Fi router and several wireless network adapters. Of course, if one of your computers is a modern laptop, for example, it already has a Wi-Fi card built into it. The same goes for other wireless devices, for example tablets and smartphones, which can’t be connected to a wired network without purchasing additional hardware.

It is important to understand that Wi-Fi transmitters have a range of about 100 feet. That’s the ideal scenario, by the way. Interference with other electronic devices in the area, walls and furniture can greatly diminish the Wi-Fi signal range. To solve this problem, you may need one or two access points and a couple of high gain, good quality antennas.

Wireless equipment is often times more expensive in comparison with the hardware devices that are needed for a wired network.

As you can imagine, the performance of a Wi-Fi network is distance sensitive; speed decreases as you move away from the router. Ideally, you can get about a fifth of the maximum speed that’s achievable with a wired LAN. The latency of Wi-Fi networks isn’t great either. If you want to build a network for gaming purposes, you’d better go for wired one.

Wireless networks are less secure in comparison with wired LANs. Experience shows that the WEP encryption protocol can be easily broken, and the same thing can happen for WPA (and, in some cases, even WPA2) if the evildoers have got the needed equipment and time at their disposal.

This shouldn’t scare you, though – if you are a regular home user. But if you plan to use a Wi-Fi network for your business, it’s best to purchase a hardware-based firewall and hire an IT consultant who knows how to keep the bad people away from you network.


Now that I think about it, I believe that I have painted wireless networks into a darker color. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid them! A Wi-Fi network is always the best solution if the idea of setting up wires that run across your home (or office building) bothers you. It’s also perfect if you plan to connect tablets and smartphones to your network.

On the other hand, if the two things mentioned above don’t apply to you, a wired network will help you get the maximum performance and security, while saving you money.

How to Pick a Great Password

We’ve gotten used to this: every month brings us another frightening story of a big company, which was hacked, leaking the user/pass information for millions – and sometimes even for a billion! – of its users, because of a security breach. Sadly, there is nothing that us, innocent service users, can do about it.

All we can do is to hope that the companies that hold our precious credit card details, for example, do their job, taking security matters seriously. But often times, we can do our job as well, choosing a strong, different password for each and every one of our online accounts.

It’s not all about picking a weird looking password, though. As you create accounts on dozens, and sometimes even hundreds of websites, managing all these passwords becomes a very complicated task. We also need a system to help us manage these passwords easily, allowing us to log into the desired accounts without wasting time.

Back in the day, many people used to pick common passwords such as “test” or “1234”. As the time has passed, some of them have become smarter, going for slightly longer passwords such as “password” or “123456”. The sad news is that passwords like these can be cracked within seconds, leaving your accounts exposed.

Often times, hackers use brute force attacks that utilize password dictionaries, which are freely available on the Internet. This way, it is really easy for them to break into accounts, even if they are protected by passwords such as “account1234secret”. How do they do that? Well, they simply couple two words from their password dictionaries with a typically used number.

So, how do you pick a strong password that is also easy to remember? Let’s face it: most easy to remember passwords are also easy to guess, aren’t they? Here’s how a list with the most common passwords looks like; I hope that you aren’t using one (or more) of them to secure your accounts.

So, what is the solution to this problem? It may not be innovative, but it is one that has proven to work fine for many years.

First of all, be sure to choose strong passwords (like the ones you’ll learn to create in this article) for all your accounts – even if they’re for a social network you may never check again in the future! Why? Because a villain may be able to get into that account, and then persuade others that he is the owner of the account, requesting access to your other accounts. Often times, a hacker will pretend that his account has been hacked, persuading the tech support people to give him access to your other accounts.

Begin by deciding on the approximate length of your password. These days it is mandatory to create a password that’s got at least 12 characters. Of course, the longer the password, the better. Also, password strength increases significantly the moment you add to it one or two special characters, such as “!” or “$”.

But how can you actually decide on a password that looks weird, and yet it is very easy to remember? Think about a phrase that only you know about, and then turn it into an acronym – pick the first letter of each word. Here’s an example:

“John never sends e-mail until 10 in the morning!”

Now let’s pick the first letter from each word, keeping the numbers and special characters as they are:


I don’t know about you, but I really like this 13 letters password. It’s got capital letters, regular letters, numbers, and special characters. And best of all, it’s a password that only you will know and can easily remember.

Just follow this pattern and I am sure that you will come up with your own phrases, which can then be turned into beautiful passwords. Here’s another example:

“When I was 5, my sister was 8 years old. She was very mean to me! She really was!”

And here’s the equivalent password:


Good luck trying to break into an account that’s protected with a password that looks like the one above! This is the type of password that will help you sleep well at night – provided that the website owners do their job as well, of course.

Okay, so now you’ve gotten a very strong password that’s easy to remember. But what should you do if you’ve got to store a few dozens of passwords like these in your memory?

Our recommendation is to write all the passwords in a classic notebook, and then lock it. Memorize the most important passwords (the ones used for bank accounts, for example) and type them in anytime you need them. Then, use a password manager to store all the other passwords and log into websites that aren’t crucial for you. This way, you’ll only need to remember (let’s say) five passwords, and this should be easy enough if you use the acronym-based method highlighted above.

To store passwords, you can use RoboForm (a paid software application) or your browser’s password manager. Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge incorporate password modules that will do a proper job. Still, I’d go for RoboForm, because it’s not so widespread, so (hopefully) it’s not constantly under attack.