Ethernet vs WiFi? Is a wired connection really worth it for gaming on PS5 or is WiFi good enough? The short answer is yes ethernet is totally worth it on PS5. It may triple your download speed and cut your latency in half. That said ethernet is not an option for everyone and there are a number of ways to improve your WiFi connection on the Sony PlayStation 5 console.
We tested the PS5 console using several routers of varying price points and got vastly different results, ranging from less than 40 Mbps in download speed all the way up to over 850 Mbps. In our testing we discovered that using the 5 GHz band is essential if you want fast WiFi speeds. There were several key takeaways from our testing. We will discuss them and how you can get the best performance out of your PS5 game console.
Please note that the internet connection we used for our testing was rated for up to 945 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload. Your internet speeds will vary and you will not be able to go any faster than your ISP service plan allows. For many people the speed of their internet service plan will be the limiting factor and not the speed of their router. Also note that the speed test utility built into the PS5 is not known for being particularly accurate.
Setup 1) Netgear R6400 AC1750 Router on 2.4 GHz Band
Our first test was using the Netgear R6400, a common consumer grade router that does not support Wi-Fi 6. This router is widely available from retailers including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Staples, and Amazon. It also represents what most people are likely using. The first test was using the 2.4 GHz band on the Netgear router. This is often what the router will default to if you do not specify otherwise.
In our testing with this setup we averaged 42 Mbps download speed on the PS5. This was the lowest of any of the setups we tested. Although 42 Mbps is enough to play online games it makes for relatively slow downloads of games and updates.
Setup 2) Netgear R6400 AC1750 Router on 5 GHz Band
Our second test was conducted using the same Netgear R6400 router as in the first test. The only thing we changed was the Wi-Fi frequency band from the 2.4 GHz band to the 5 GHz band. This is a simple change that anyone with a router that supports 5 GHz can make. Most routers manufactured within the last few years all support the 5GHz band and all Wi-Fi 6 routers support it.
This simple change nearly doubled our PS5 download speed from 42 Mbps to over 75 Mbps. This is the single best way for most people to get faster speeds without having to replace their equipment. This was an incredible improvement that required nothing but a simple settings change on our router.
I would strongly recommend anyone using the 2.4 GHz band give this a try and change to the 5GHz band. Most people will see a sizable improvement. In rare cases this may cause you to not be able to connect if you are really far from your router. The 5 GHz band tends to have slightly less range, especially through a lot of walls. If you try it and it causes an issue all you have to do is set it back to 2.4 GHz. I would recommend anyone using the 2.4 Ghz band to give this a try.
Setup 3) Ubiquiti Unifi U6-Pro Access Point on 5 Ghz Band
Our third test was using a business grade wireless access point from Ubiquiti Networks. Ubiquiti Networks is a leading wireless networking solutions vendor used by fortune 500 companies around the globe. They are also leaders in the hospitality WiFi market with deployments in the largest hotel chains and in sports arenas. The Unifi U6-Pro is also incredibly affordable making it a great choice for home users.
For this test we use used the Ubiquiti Unifi U6-Pro access point on the 5 GHz band. Our previous testing already showed the huge benefits to using the 5 GHz band. We averaged over 322 Mbps on our PS5 in this test. This is several times higher than the best result we got with the Netgear router.
This would be an ideal setup for anyone who wants the best Wi-Fi performance in their home and wants to move up from the usual consumer grade networking equipment that leaves so much to be desired. It would also be the best setup for anyone who absolutely can’t get an ethernet cable ran to their Sony PlayStation 5 console and wants faster downloads.
Setup 4) Wired Ethernet Connection
Our fourth test was using the PS5 connected directly to our router using a wired ethernet connection. This was to test the best case scenario that should give us the highest speeds possible.
Unsurprisingly, in this test our speeds were far and away the highest of any of the tests. We were getting over 851 Mbps of download speed in our tests. This is the kind of speed that will enable game downloads to take minutes rather than hours or even days in some cases. If you can go wired it will not disappoint in any way.
This setup would be ideal for anyone who can possibly connect their PS5 console with a wired ethernet connection. If the router is in the same room as your console it is super simple. It is also simple if your home is already prewired for ethernet. If you fit into either of these scenarios, using ethernet is a no brainer at all. You have the golden ticket and just need to make use of it. If you need to purchase an ethernet patch cable check out this helpful guide to save money on ethernet cables.
Of course if you do not fit into either of these scenarios it may still be affordable to get a cable ran to where you need it. If you have an existing ethernet connection near your console but another device is plugged into it, the best thing to do would be to purchase a small 5 port ethernet switch and then connect both devices. This is extremely simple and requires absolutely no configuration at all.
If you are unable to run am ethernet cable to your PS5 console you may want to look at powerline networking as an option. In many cases it will be faster and more stable than Wi-Fi.
PS5 Ethernet vs WiFi Key Takeaways
1) A Wired Ethernet Connection is Definitely Worth it.
If you have the option of using a wired ethernet connection on your PS5 look no further. This is the single best thing you can do to improve your performance, hands down. If you absolutely can’t run an ethernet cable look into powerline networking as an option.
2) If You Must Use WiFi a Business Grade WiFi Access Point is Your Best Option.
If ethernet is not an option for you and you must use WiFi upgrading your equipment is going to make for a huge improvement in your performance. If you choose to go down this route skip the consumer grade routers and look into getting a business grade setup with a standalone router and access point. The Ubiquiti Edgerouter 4 and Unifi U6-Pro access point make a great combination. The PS5 has Wi-Fi 6 technology and using a Wi-Fi 6 access point is highly recommended.
3) Use the 5 Ghz WiFi Band if Supported by Your Router. (It Probably is)
If you do not want to upgrade your equipment you can likely get a boost in performance on your PS5 simply by changing from using the 2.4 GHz band to the 5 GHz band. This will make a sizable difference for most people. Most routers made in the last few years all support the 5 Ghz band. If your router doesn’t support the 5 GHz band it is definitely time for an upgrade.
4) Faster Download Speeds Make Game Downloads a Breeze.
Actual gameplay does not really benefit from the faster speeds but downloads are much quicker. The recommended speed for PlayStation Network is 5 Mbps, that is it. Our testing can confirm this. We noticed absolutely no difference in gaming performance in our testing regardless of our connection speed. Latency is king for online gaming performance not speed. Learn how to reduce your latency by finding the best DNS server for your location.
Downloads are a different beast altogether. We found that game downloads almost maxed out our connection speed and took full advantage of the added speed. We tested by downloading “Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” a 190 Gig download.
Our download times were as follows:
Wired Ethernet: 31 Minutes
Unifi U6-Pro 5 GHz WiFi: 1 Hour 22 Minutes
Netgear 5 Ghz WiFi: 5 Hours 32 Minutes
Netgear 2.4 Ghz WiFi: 10 Hours 29 Minutes
This is kind of a worst case scenario test but it really highlights the differences in performance. If you frequently download large games or large game updates this will be especially important to you. Also note that if your internet connection speeds is lower your downloads will be slower. This test was conducted with a 945 Mbps internet connection so that the internet bandwidth would not be the limiting factor. Your speed will also vary depending on the time of day that you are downloading. The more people downloading the slower the downloads due to network congestion on the PlayStation Network Servers.