As gaming becomes even more ingrained into the online world, having a fast and reliable internet connection is a must-have for competitive and casual gamers alike. Whether you are purchasing games for download or playing online with friends, having an inconsistent connection can be an infuriating problem to deal with.
First-person shooter games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare involve split-second decision making and reaction times, which results in professional gamers buying top of the line monitors to lower their screen latency to less than one millisecond. If they are willing to invest in premium equipment to simply improve screen responsiveness, you can imagine how pivotal lowering online latency can be when it comes to gaming.
Improving your internet connection can come down to a number of factors. Your internet service provider, download and upload speeds, and in-home equipment can all affect latency and your overall game performance. While some of these factors may be out of your control or costly to remedy, there is one simple method of instantly improving your connection without breaking the bank.
Connecting to your at-home internet network is usually a thoughtless process, with the easiest method being simply connecting wirelessly through WI-FI. However, connecting through WI-FI pales in comparison to the speeds you will receive while connected via ethernet cable. Because the thin edge of victory on the digital battlefield can oftentimes come down to “lag” or who has the best connection, it is far and away the smartest choice when gaming on your PS4.
Below we will break down all the specifics surrounding connecting your PS4 via ethernet, as well as the 10 best ethernet cords to secure the fastest connection while gaming.
The Differences Between WI-FI and Ethernet Connections
Because of the convenience of wireless connections through WI-FI, it has seemingly become standard practice for most internet devices. Due to the ubiquitous nature of wireless connections, hard-wiring your devices via ethernet seems like a thing of the past. And while this may suffice while streaming YouTube videos to your iPad, ethernet connections are head and shoulders superior when connecting to devices that require a more stable connection.
WI-FI vs Ethernet Bandwidth
Depending on your wireless router, there are various standards that dictate the maximum speeds that your connection can reach wirelessly. 802.11g, for example, supports up to 54Mbps and uses the common 2.4GHz frequency. You may think this would be fine for most daily applications, but considering the fact that many at-home network speeds can reach up to 1 gigabit, and suddenly you are missing out on 95% of your network capabilities.
In contrast, a Cat 6 ethernet cable can reach speeds up to 10 Gb/s, which is 200 times faster than the aforementioned wireless connection. While 10 Gb/s isn’t quite the network speeds found in the average home, it does show the raw power and speed that is offered through hard-wired connections.
The Importance of Latency
Another factor to consider is latency, or more specifically, the ping you receive when connecting to servers across the world. While you may have a strong bandwidth to allow in massive amounts of data, your ping will dictate how quickly the information travels back and forth. This is especially paramount for online gaming, where you want the host server to receive the inputs from your game as quickly as possible. While this isn’t a large amount of data traveling back and forth, the speed at which it goes from one end to the other is what determines the latency you receive in-game.
When you choose to connect your PS4 or other devices through ethernet, the initial transfer of information from the device to your modem will have significantly less latency in comparison to wireless. This can be tested through a simple ping command through your desktop computer, letting you compare the results from a hard-wired connection to your WI-FI connection.
The last, and potentially one of the biggest drawbacks to wireless connections, comes down to stability and interference. Naturally, when you are dealing with wireless networks, there will be occasional drops in connection. This can be due to distance from the router, building materials throughout your home, electrical interference, and simply the strength of your device’s network card. While a temporary disconnection may require slight buffering while watching Netflix or have no effect at all if you are visiting a webpage, this is very much not the case for online gaming. Disconnecting from an online match can completely ruin your gaming experience, which for the most part is wholely avoided while using a hard-wired ethernet connection.
The Benefits of Ethernet Connections
As we have outlined, an ethernet internet connection is head and shoulders superior to WI-FI. And although the benefits are most notable during online gaming, there are also a number of everyday uses that can see increased performance and speed through your PS4 or other gaming devices. Below we will highlight some of the key differences you will notice with an ethernet connection:
Faster Online Gaming
As we have mentioned before, this is the most noticeable difference you’ll gain from a wired connection. Faster connection to game developer hosted matches or peer hosted matches will result in a smoother and more enjoyable experience. Because of the speed and precision of many of the AAA title games, even losing milliseconds of latency can mean the difference between win and loss. In addition to the gameplay itself, some games simply don’t function at all without an internet connection. So if your network connection is unstable, you may not even step foot on the battlefield at all with a spotty WI-FI network.
Faster Game Downloads
The most recent installation of the Grand Theft Auto series, GTA 5, truly broke ground as one of the most successful open-world games of all time. Generating around $6 billion in revenue, there have been over 120 million copies purchased worldwide since its release. And with its massive sales, it also boasted a massive file size to boot. The base game is currently sized at 72 GB, which is a hefty download time regardless of internet speeds. The biggest takeaway however is Grand Theft Auto 5 is nearly seven years old, which could be considered a relic in the age of technology and gaming.
We have since seen the exponential growth of game sizes year after year, with increased graphics and gaming worlds expanding to accommodate the power of modern gaming consoles. Red Dead Redemption 2, another Rockstar game, requires 150 GB of free space and has an initial download size of about 110 GB. This astronomical size will eventually become the norm as games become more complex and expansive.
So what does this all have to do with ethernet connections? Well, as hard copies of games slowly fade out in popularity, digital downloads of games will eventually become standard practice. Most modern games will require significant download sizes even with a hard copy, so there is no dodging the eventual dreaded crawl of the download bar across your screen. For some, this could mean hours, or even days, of downloading before you can hop on the newest installment of your favorite game.
This also applies to the monthly or even weekly game updates pushed out by developers, that can reach upwards of 20 GB on a regular basis. Having a slow connection can delay, or even cancel out your gaming session as you wait for the game to update. With the increased reliability of ethernet connections, this could mean significantly decreasing the length of your download times and getting you into the game faster.
The only problem you’ll face there on out is finding enough disk space for all the new titles released yearly.
Faster System Updates
Similar to the game downloads and their subsequent updates, consoles themselves will occasionally have similar updates periodically throughout their lifespan. While far more infrequent, and much smaller in size, these can also put your gaming session on hold for quite some time with an unreliable internet connection. Similar to the games, the newly announced PS5 and Xbox Series X will inevitably have bigger software updates, so getting ahead of the curve will prevent a headache down the road when you decide to upgrade your system.
Better Video Streaming
As regular cable TV becomes quickly a thing of the past, online streaming has become the primary source of entertainment for many households. YouTube TV, HULU, Netflix, and other streaming outlets offer most of the newly released movie and television series. And due to the fact the PS4 has the potential to stream most of these networks, gaming consoles as a whole have become the defacto entertainment hub for most gamers.
In addition to streaming becoming a main source of content, the programs themselves are offered in HDR and 4k resolutions. This results in a more strenuous demand on your internet connection, requiring more bandwidth for a smooth streaming experience. We’ve all experienced the sudden buffering and drop in resolution while streaming, all of which can be avoided when implementing an ethernet cable to your console. This will only become more of a relevant issue as newer programs are increasingly released in these higher-quality formats. So being ahead of the curve with your connection will prevent any mishaps down the road.
What to Look For in an Ethernet Cable
There are a few considerations to be made when looking at buying an ethernet cable. And although they may all look like the same blue cable with the same connection, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The strength of your ethernet cable, or the “category”, will directly correlate to the bandwidth it is able to handle. If you have a high-end router with a fast network speed from your internet service provider, you can be bottlenecked by a lower end ethernet cable. Below are the various categories of ethernet cables, and the maximum amount of bandwidth they are able to handle.
- Cat 3- 10 Mbps of transmission speed at 16 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 5- 100 Mbps of transmission speed at 100 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 5e- 1,000 Mbps of transmission speed at 100 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 6- 1,000 Mbps of transmission speed at 250 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 6a- 10,000 Mbps of transmission speed at 500 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 7- 10,000 Mbps of transmission speed at 600 MHz of bandwidth
- Cat 7a- 10,000 Mbps of transmission speed at 1,000 MHz of bandwidth
As you can see, the difference between the lower end Cat 3 cable and the premium Cat 7a cable is staggering, with the Cat 7a being capable of handling 1,000 times as much bandwidth. The physical difference between the cables comes down to a number of factors. Tighter wiring, shielding, noise reduction, and testing standards all translate to the various grading and speed capabilities.
The most practical option is oftentimes found somewhere in the middle. Having a home network connection of 10 Gbps is not only unrealistic but also completely unnecessary for a gaming console. In most cases, anything between the Cat 5e cable and the Cat 7 cable will be able to handle the maximum speeds needed for your devices, while also not being unnecessarily high-end.
The easiest and final step in the process is simply finding out how many feet of cable you will need. Whether your router is sitting right next to your PS4, or possibly on the other side of your home, there is an ethernet cable to fit every need. In addition to length, there are also various designs, colors, and cable materials to choose from. Next, we will touch on a few of the best ethernet cables currently available and their key selling points.
10 of the Best Ethernet Cables for PS4
DanYee Ethernet Cable, Cat 7, Various Lengths
This high-quality cable comes in a variety of lengths ranging from 3 feet to 100 feet, while also offering a number of color options. With 10 Gbps transmission speeds, it also boasts a 600 MHz max bandwidth. Featuring universal RJ45 connectors for compatibility with PS4, Xbox, and most other ethernet enabled devices. In addition, the increased shielding on the copper wiring offers improved interference protection.
The build quality on this cable is one of the biggest selling points, with a nylon braided housing for both high-end aesthetics and tougher durability.
Cat 8 Ethernet Cable, Various Lengths
The fastest possible transmission speeds found in commercially available ethernet cables, this Cat 8 cable can transmit 40 Gbps at 2000 MHz of bandwidth. Coming in lengths up to 100 ft, this is going to be the best option for gamers who don’t want compromises. Featuring a thick PVC housing, this cable is also built for outdoor burial while maintaining anti-corrosive and waterproof build quality. Additionally, non-buried outdoor use is also possible due to this cable’s UV resistant housing.
Because of the high speeds and flexibility of indoor and outdoor use with lengths of up to 100 feet, this Cat 8 cable truly covers all the bases of in home networking.
Jadoal Cat 6 Ethernet Cable, 25ft
Made with 100% copper wire and RJ45 gold-plated connectors, this Cat 6 cable promises minimal noise and interference with speeds up to 10 Gbps at 25 feet in length. With an unshielded twisted pair design, this is a fairly straight forward and reliable cable for everyday tech devices. Jadaol recommends this cable for PCs, computer servers, printers, routers, and network media players.
Because of the flat design coming in a reasonable length, this is a great cable for offices and homes requiring hard wired internet connections.
Cat 7 Ethernet Cable, 100 ft
This cable is 100 feet of high-speed 100% bare copper wire, with Cat 7 speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. With dual gold-plated RJ45 connectors, this cable promises minimal noise and interference across the entire 100 feet of cabling. As it pertains to design, this blue cable (also comes in variations of black and white) is flat for easy indoor installation. In addition, the shielded twisted pair copper internals provide a secure connection with minimal noise and interference.
With a durable PVC housing promising low corrosion, as well as being highly flame retardant, this results in a great outdoor ethernet option over long distances.
CableGeeker Cat 6 Ethernet Cable 150 ft
This simplistic Cat 6 cable offers high-speed connections of up to 1 Gbps in a flat body design. With a massive 150 feet of cable length, this is a perfect cable when looking to run high-speed connections over lengthy distances. Due to the flat design, CableGeeker ensures this will avoid tangled wiring while saving space during installation.
Suggested for servers, printers, routers, and Ethernet switches, this would also provide a high-quality gaming connection and experience for consoles. With the promise of lifetime support for their products, CableGeeker stands by the satisfaction of their customers.
MATEIN Ethernet Cable Cat 7 50 Ft Network Cable for Xbox PS4
The MATEIN Cat 7 cable hits the sweet spot for ethernet cables, with Cat 7 10 Gbps speeds in a flat body design, while also offering a manageable 50 feet of cable. This is a perfect cable for gamers across PS4, Xbox, and PC, offering high speed connections with a sleek black and flat design.
In addition to lag free gaming, MATEIN also suggests this cable for high definition video streaming, cloud computing, and video surveillance. With 20 free cable clips for installation, this ethernet cable can be used indoors or outdoors. Due to the double-shielded twisted-pair copper wiring, you will experience high speeds with minimal interference.
Ultra Clarity Cables Cat 6 Ethernet Cable, 20 ft, 2-pack
Rigorously tested, this is a two-pack of 20 foot Cat 6 cables offering speeds up to 1 Gbps at 250 MHz. With “lower crosstalk” and a “higher signal to noise ratio”, this cable can be used across a wide variety of in home devices without reduction in speed or performance. Backed by a 1-year warranty, Ultra Clarity Cables promises their product will leave customers satisfied with their cables.
VANDESAIL Ethernet Cable, Cat 7, 6.5 ft, 2-pack
Another two-pack, these are Cat 7 cables supporting up to 10 Gbps speeds at 600 MHz. VANDESAIL recommends this cable for gamers, PC users, and media streaming for audio and video. With dual gold plated RJ45 connectors, the increased shielding and twisted pairs results in minimal crosstalk, noise, and interference for their signal. Additionally, the flat design means easy installation under carpets, across floors, and around corners.
Cable Geeker Cat 6 Ethernet Cable, 100 ft
This is a high-quality and reasonably priced Cat 6 cable offering 1 Gbps speeds, while also spanning a distance of 100 feet. Due to the significant length of this cable, this is a great option for ethernet access throughout the entirety of your home.
With dual RJ45 connectors with gold plated contacts, this snagless cable design will both provide a speedy connection with minimal interference and crosstalk.
Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable, Cat 6a, 20 ft
This is a barebones rounded Cat 6a cable, supporting speeds up to 10 Gbps at 500 MHz. A simpler rounded design with a flexible PVC housing, this will be a tough and durable cable for office or home use. Offering universal connectivity across all RJ45 supported devices, this is an all purpose cable for gaming, routers, or printers.
In addition to the 20-foot option, this cable comes with variations between 1 foot and 150 feet, while still offering minimal noise and interference regardless of length.
How to Connect Your PS4 Via Ethernet
After you have selected the right ethernet cable speed and length to fit your home, it is time to properly install the cabling to your home router or modem. The first step is finding an open port on your router to connect the cable. Connect one end of the cable to an open WAN (wide area network) RJ45 port on the back of your router. You’ll oftentimes see up to four WAN ports per router, all of which will suffice while connecting to your PS4.
Then next step involves running your cable throughout your home to your gaming console. While this will vary on a case by case basis depending on the specifications of your home, there are a number of tips to consider while running cable:
- Always run your cable in a flat and unbundled manner across floors or under carpets.
- If you need to overlap cables in the process, always cross them at 90 degrees to prevent interference
- Always be aware of electrical devices and other cabling while running ethernet through a wall or ceiling. Water pipes, or pipes of any nature, can provide unsafe conditions for ethernet cables.
- Be sure to label your cables for easy replacement or rerouting down the road
Don’t over bundle or kink your cables, as this can degrade your cables and affect network performance.
- Organize multiple cables with cable ties or velcro
- Avoid exposing your cables to the elements if they are run outside. While some cables may be weatherproof, taking the safer route will prevent the headache of replacing them down the road.
- When possible, use different color schemes for various devices to prevent confusion during maintenance or rerouting.
After you have carefully run your ethernet cable, the next step is to simply connect it to the back of your PS4. You will find a similar-looking RJ45 connection on the back of the device, which will be the contact point for your cable.
Once successfully connected, power on your PS4 and any network-related devices (router, modem). Navigate to the home screen and select settings to set up your connection. Select “Network” and then navigate to the option for “Set Up Internet Connection”. Select the option for “Use LAN cable” and then select the “Easy” settings for the basic network configuration.
If you have alternate settings for your IP address, DHCP host name, DNS, MTU, or have any non-standard proxy settings, you can adjust these through the “Custom” set up option.
Testing Your Network Speeds
After you have successfully connected and configured your settings for your PS4, you can now test your network speeds to see your connection speed and NAT type. The steps are as follows:
Navigate to the home screen
Scroll to the “Settings” Option
Select “Test Internet Connection”
This will show a successful (or unsuccessful) ability to obtain your IP address, an internet connection, the ability to sign into the Playstation Network, and your specific NAT type. Your NAT type can also dictate your connection stability and speeds. The three NAT types are:
NAT Type 1 : Open
NAT Type 2: Moderate
NAT Type 3: Strict
While in most cases NAT Type 1 and 2 will show no performance changes in speed, NAT Type 3 can significantly change your gaming experience. Your “type” is dictated by firewall settings, open ports, or DMZ configuration through your router. These settings are all managed through your router settings, so consult your specific device’s user guide to troubleshoot these issues.
Below this feedback, you will see a test of your network speeds. The “download” shows your speeds of, quite obviously, your ability to download information from servers. The same is true for your “upload” speed, showing how quickly you send information to the servers. These speeds may not be as accurate as a test run from your PC, so don’t worry if the numbers are slightly lower than the speeds you get from other devices. Host location, ping, and the server you are connecting to can all have differing speeds, so your overall network speed is quite a fluid number.
After you have established a stable connection with appropriate speeds, you are all set up to start gaming on your PS4.
Other Factors to Consider
Before you start gaming there are a few factors to consider when online gaming through your PS4.
Subscribing to the Playstation Network
Similar to most modern gaming consoles, you will need to purchase a subscription to the Playstation Network, or “PS Plus” to enable online gaming. This is a recurring fee of either $9.99 per month, $17.99 per three months, or $49.99 per year. Obviously the most economical choice is the yearly plan, but your subscription will come down to personal preference and usage.
While there are limited games free to play games that don’t require this subscription, most major titles can only be accessed online with a PS Plus membership.
Network connectivity issues are an avoidable aspect of online gaming, regardless of how high-speed or stable your personal connection is. Because you are connecting to Playstations own network on most titles, as opposed to peer-to-peer hosting, there will be occasions where their network services are slower or down altogether. If you are experiencing issues connecting, be sure to check the Playstation website to check for any network issues they are experiencing on their end. This frequently occurs during the release of major gaming titles, as their network is under heavy load with downloads and increased user population.
It is obvious the advantages you will see when gaming through a high-speed hardwire ethernet cable over the traditional WI-FI connection. Lower latency, faster downloads, a more stable connection, and an overall smoother experience will all be evident once you make the switch.
As long as you have a stable connection through your internet service provider, your experience will be leagues ahead of wireless gaming. Don’t underestimate the gaming advantages of ethernet based connections, because it is a cheap and easy way to enhance your performance while gaming online.
Research which cables fit your network and in home set up best, and start experiencing superior gaming performance.
Recap: Here are the 10 best ethernet cables for PS4.
- DanYee Cat 7 Ethernet Cable, Nylon Braided
- Cat8 Ethernet Cable FTP UV Resistant for Router/Gaming/Modem
- Jadoa Cat 6 Ethernet Cable 25 ft White Flat – Solid Internet Network Lan Patch
- HQGC Cat7 Ethernet Cable 100ft Blue
- CableGeeker Cat 6 Ethernet Cable 150 ft Internet Network Cable – Computer LAN Cable
- Ultra Clarity Cables 20 Feet (2 Pack) Lan, UTP (6 Meters) Cat 6, RJ45
- CableGeeker Ethernet Cable 100ft Flat Internet Network LAN
- Cable Matters Snagless Cat6 Ethernet Cable in Black 20 ft
- MATEIN Cat7 Ethernet Cable, 50 Ft Network Cable for Xbox PS4
- VANDESAIL 2 Pack 6.5ft CAT7 RJ45 LAN Cable