Why use Ethernet over Wi-Fi?
Internet service providers (ISP) frequently receive calls from customers asking why they're not seeing the internet speeds that were advertised in the subscription plan. The first question asked back to the customers is usually "Are you using Wi-Fi?"
A wireless signal offers freedom to wander around free of cables within the bubble of Wi-Fi from your router, and while speeds have come a long way in the last few years, it won't deliver the same speeds as a wired Ethernet connection. If you want the fastest internet possible, you'll want to stick with a wired connection.
You'll also experience less latency while using a wired connection, which is a big deal in the gaming world, and you shouldn't see the same interference that can occur with a wired connection. There are a lot of other signals out there, and your Wi-Fi must compete.
Where Ethernet can really shine is in locally transferring files between PCs. Speeds in this case aren't capped by your ISP, and you'll be able to transfer data to the limit of the cable and adapter. Stick with Wi-Fi for the convenience and cable-free setup, but stick with Ethernet for better speed and reliability.
What is RJ45?
When dealing with Ethernet, you'll no doubt hear the term RJ45, which stands for registered jack 45. It's a physical interface that's standard for network cables, and you'll see both RJ45 ports (like on the Inspiron 15 7000) and plugs (like on the ends of an Ethernet cable). RJ45 hardware has eight pins for the eight separate wires that run the cable.
RJ45 doesn't dictate how fast data can be transferred; that's for the category (CAT) designation. You'll most likely commonly find a CAT5e or CAT6 cable, both of which are capable of speeds up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) data transfer at 100 meters. CAT6 is capable of much faster speeds at shorter distances — up to 10 Gbps — making it a great solution for back-end networking. CAT7 is also coming along, but for personal use connecting your Inspiron 15, stick with CAT5e or CAT6.
How fast is the Ethernet port?
The Inspiron 15 uses a Gigabit Ethernet adapter, allowing for transfer speeds up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). You'll likely see a 10/100/1000 designation if you do some digging, which simply means that Ethernet is compatible and can downgrade to slower speeds when necessary.
In real world usage, maximum speeds will likely be determined by your ISP. If you're paying for a 250 Mbps plan, don't expect speeds to go much higher than that despite your laptop and Ethernet adapter having the capability.
Take advantage of Ethernet on your Inspiron 15 7000
If you're looking for a laptop that supports Ethernet, you've found it. When not running around using Wi-Fi for internet, you can sit down and plug in for a reliable, fast connection. You can also take advantage of three USB-A 3.1, USB-C 3.1, HDMI, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7570)
Great performance, large display, and plenty of ports.
Dell's Inspiron 15 7570 comes at you with 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs, discrete graphics, and plenty of configuration options. This budget device also comes with plenty of ports, and it has a slim design that looks more premium than it costs.
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