USB versus Ethernet
When you plug in your custom USB drive, you get to access all the photos, music or other documents you have saved on your external drive and carry with you. This is perfect when you don’t have internet connection – because you can access the files you need most, even when there is no Wi-Fi signal. Sometimes, it’s not clear what the best way to access files is? How do these different terms apply to me when I want to get my files? Too much jargon! Here I will break down how USB and Ethernet differ, why they are useful and what you need them for.
There is probably no other place you can find the more wires than at the back of your computer. You probably have them in different colors, widths and lengths. And of course, you know they have different functions or else why would they be there, right? But with all those wires, can you still identify which of them is for your printer, for the keyboard and for the mouse?
If you look more closely, you’ll find two wires that tend to stand out from the rest – these are the Ethernet and the USB (which may be connected to your printer or keyboard). Let us take a look at what these wires are and what they are for.
- USB is used as a connection for a variety of devices like flash drives, printers, scanners, joysticks, mice, and cameras.
- Ethernet cards (also known as Network cards) have been around since the early 1980s whereas the USB is fairly new as it came around 1995.
One of the points of comparison for USB and Ethernet connections is their speed performance. A USB port can take up to a maximum of 12 Mbps data rate, but with limitations of bandwidth, a single USB device can make use of only up to 6 Mbps; and with an increased number of devices connected to the USB port, data rates can keep going down. On the other hand, an Ethernet card connects right to the computer’s bus, and has data rates of 10 Mbps. However, the connection speed is still limited by the ISP so it’s still not a solid basis for judgment.
One good point is that Ethernet is designed explicitly for connecting to a network and has proven itself to be more reliable for connecting to the World Wide Web compared to USB connection. An internet connection via USB port encounters more disconnected or dropped connections than an Ethernet connection. Also, the distance range of up to 300 feet for an Ethernet connection overpowers the quite limited 10 feet range for a USB connection.
Ethernet is more likely to be consistent in transferring data across a network like the web, as it is solely dedicated to network traffic. It delivers maximum sharing capability through the use of routers, enabling connectivity among various devices. Moreover, using the Ethernet port allows the use of modems with built in firewall or the manual addition of hardware firewall between the modem and the network, for added connection security.
Although USB offers portability, a cheaper hardware cost, and it can be used to connect many different devices to your computer, in terms of network connection use, the use of Ethernet is the better option.