One of the factors you may not always think about are Ethernet ports.
These ports allow the internet flowing to the modem to reach other devices, like computers, routers and more.
Here’s what to consider when it comes to the Ethernet ports on your modem.
What are Ethernet Ports?
Ethernet ports are places on your modem and router through which you can connect other devices.
Often, the Ethernet plugins and cords have a similar appearance to the phone cords many of us used to use for landline phones.
However, instead of sharing a phone signal, they share an internet connection.
When you use an Ethernet port, you’ll need an Ethernet cable.
This will allow routers, computers, consoles and more to gain a wired connection to your internet.
It’s often a great method for the devices that don’t tend to move around too often.
No one wants to deal with a wire on their laptop or tablet!
How are Ethernet Ports Used?
There are a couple of ways in which Ethernet ports can be used.
Many of us may simply choose to connect the modem to a router for the use of Wi-Fi.
However, Ethernet ports can also connect to various devices that you want a stronger signal on.
On modems that are designed to connect to a router, there is often a port that allows the internet to flow from the modem and to the router.
From there, you can make further connections from the router using a wire or a Wi-Fi signal if you want to connect wirelessly.
If you’re connecting to a router, then you don’t really need a modem that includes too many ports.
Just one can really be enough, unless you want to add more than one router or need a second port for some other reason.
The router will be able to handle most of the connections.
Another way to use an Ethernet port is to connect it to devices directly.
This is often recommended when you want to achieve the best possible speeds.
When you use a Wi-Fi connection, the signal can often be a little bit weaker.
It’s not a problem for most devices, but it may matter to those who need the absolute best connection.
It’s a good idea to connect devices with a wire that don’t tend to move around often.
This includes things like desktop PCs, gaming consoles and smart TVs.
For smaller devices that you want to use anywhere, Wi-Fi is usually the best resort.
What are the Benefits of Ethernet Ports?
While a wired connection might seem like an annoyance, it’s can also be a more beneficial way to get the full value of your internet.
The use of an Ethernet cord can affect things like speeds and signal strength.
Let’s take a look at how these features benefit from using a wire.
More Secure Connections
Wi-Fi signals can ebb and flow at times, often becoming more likely to drop than a wired signal.
These signals can be weaker or have less of a range depending on where you’re using a device.
When there are internet problems, Wi-Fi will usually have more problems than using a wire.
Think about how your cell phone service can come in and out when you’re not close enough to a cell tower.
Wi-Fi is much like this, except with regard to the proximity of your router.
Meanwhile, connecting to your router or modem via a wired connection won’t suffer this issue.
With ebbing and flowing Wi-Fi signals, you may also get fluctuating internet speeds.
When speeds aren’t quite up to snuff, it can leave you quite irritated with an inability to connect to the internet when you need to, or with constant buffering while you’re trying to stream YouTube.
Devices connected through an Ethernet port will have a connection that is more stable, and more likely to achieve the speeds you want on a consistent basis.
As a result, you won’t need to worry about speeds and signals dropping as often.
Choosing Devices With Enough Ports
You’ll need to consider how many Ethernet ports you plan to use before purchasing a device.
Different kinds of devices, like modems, routers and combination devices can have different numbers of ports.
The following devices are worth considering when you’re thinking about the number of Ethernet ports needed.
If you prefer to keep your modem and router separate, then it’s worth keeping in mind that you’re likely to have fewer Ethernet ports on the modem itself.
Typically, modems designed for use with a router may have just a single port, or two at the most.
Often, this isn’t too much of a problem because routers tend to include more ports.
However, if you want your internet to come directly from the router then you may consider looking into modem options that will provide you with more Ethernet ports, such as those made for combination use.
Routers are often used to spread the internet signal received from a modem.
That means that routers typically cannot receive the signal that comes from your cable outlet or other internet source.
Instead, you must connect a modem to the source, then the router to the modem.
From there, the router will offer more Ethernet ports you can use for plugging in.
Depending on the router you choose, there could be just 4 ports, or there could be 8 or more.
It’s really your choice. Another benefit that comes with a router is the ability to create a Wi-Fi signal for devices to connect wirelessly.
Those who want fewer devices may opt for a combination modem and router, which completes several tasks in one object.
What that does tend to mean is that these devices are more complicated and more expensive.
However, they can also be a lot more convenient when everything is running smoothly.
Often, these tools will also include a greater number of Ethernet ports so that you can connect all your devices to it.
They will typically have more ports than a modem designed only for modem use, but may sometimes have fewer than a router.
LifeWire.com, What Is an Ethernet Port?. Retrieved on 8/17/2020.
Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by Tony