Ethernet Cables, Switches, WiFi and all that

There’s another new thread just started on Ethernet cables which is fine, I don’t want to derail that but……

Inevitably the discussion on switches is added into the mix and then power supplies for those switches and then I’m scratching my head thinking what am I missing out on here, because they all apparently make a “huge” difference.

My WiFi connection to my 222 is robust and works fine. I have connected an Ethernet and could hear no difference, so, assuming a solid, robust wifi connection, what possible gains can come from using Ethernet?



Hi Marq, there are loads of threads on switches, ethernet cables and benefits of using ethernet over wifi.

I went down this route slightly with Cisco switch 2960. Eventually I ended up with all sorts of network problems.

I have Blue Jeans Cables for ethernet for my streamer and NAS drive, direct into BT router. It sounds fine.

Chord EE 8 switch is meant to be good. Lots of expensive cables available.

I am not most knowledgable about this area. It’s a fun hobby and messing around with switches and cables and comparing stuff maybe for many. I kind of got involved but now things work great I am keeping things simple.

If you want to go down this rabbit hole then go for it!


Hi Dan, yes I’ve read a number of those threads, but the preference for Ethernet seems often to be expressed with reference to flaky WiFi. I’ve seen commentary that suggests that a robust WiFi connection should be better than Ethernet as there will be no cable related noise. Also seen comments that it depends on the quality of the WiFi module in the player itself.
Don’t really want to go down Rabbit holes unless the Rabbit is worth pursuing :wink:

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I think the point with wifi is you will get more interference with other devices using wifi. Ethernet provides dedicated clearer pathway. A switch will lower noise floor. This is the argument for ethernet.

Thus high quality cables and switches will arguably improve over wifi.


I think you might need to take someone’s suggestion on huge increases with a pinch of salt possibly. All ears are different. I have gone down this route a little with an EE8 and expensive power block and powerlines. All made a small difference, and suited me at the time when small fund become available, plus it feeds the hobby fascination. “However” all these devices probably add up to a the same cost as a 1 or 2 black box upgrade. And I’d love to see someone compare say a 282 to 252 upgrade against a load of network and cabe upgrades


I guess I had understood that yes, other devices may impact the signal strength, but I hadn’t picked up that they might impact the signal quality. That would be a concern.

That would be interesting, and yes I had a slightly sarcastic voice in my head when I wrote that they apparently make a “huge” difference.

There are gains if you hear them. There are not if you don’t. My streamer is supposed to be wired. I use it with a cheap wireless bridge and i’ve yet to encounter issues or receive adverse comment from anyone who has heard it. As i’ve been looking to downsize I’ve been auditioning integrateds and i’ve found that, for me, the amp has made much more of a difference.

Installing ethernet for me would mean running about 40m; goimg ups floor; going over doors and under carpets on the landing and study. I ran some loose cable to hear the difference and added an EE switch on loan for a week. I was unable to discern any meaningful difference and i’m quite relaxed about being both wireless and minus a switch. Listening remains about 28 hours a week and the whole family love it.

Some networks simply aren’t as noisy as others.


Way back when, I started my Naim journey with a 42 preamp and 250 amp. I ended up with 52, 6 x 135s, Armageddon, S-Naxo, S-Caps, and whatever the 2 box CDP was called, CDS I think.

5 years ago I set up a dedicated streaming system based on Innuos Statement, 440s and Magico speakers with a simple ethernet network

The scope and degree of improvements I obtained throughout the upgrading of the Naim system were significant and very satisfying but were hugely surpassed by all the upgrades I achieved by completely optimizing my network. When I’m taking about upgrading the network I’m talking about things like SR cabling throughout, star-wired earthing of all cable screens, Sean Jacob’s DC-4 ARC6 or Mini DC4ARC6s and Mundorf Silver Gold DC cables on all components, as well as full vibration isolation, but with such improvements the network provided the most profound, richest and most extensive upgrades I’ve ever found in over 50 years of hi-fi. Typically I put my annual upgrade budget into the things that bring me the greatest rewards. For the past 5 years that was the Network, Server and Mains supply.

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Hi, no wifi has many advantages over Ethernet if you have a relatively modern wifi setup.
There are many issues that can occur with Ethernet with twisted pair connections and you see many discussions trying to mitigate this etc, and wifi bypasses all this…
But if using wifi, best to have overlapping wifi access points where your streamer is. The current Naim streamers are better at wifi and Ethernet noise decoupling than earlier first gen products… and for those I could only really recommend Ethernet.

But yes a modern wifi or Ethernet system can work well, with pros and cons for each, but modern wifi really has some good advantages… and you can save yourself a fair amount too.


Did you ever have it running with WiFi?

Basically it’s a way to put more good power supplies and cables to your system and they make a difference as elsewhere. Is it sufficient enough or not is always a debate, for me it worth it. Wi-fi and ethernet are not really mutually exclusive as you can run both - ‘dirty’ router with all the house appliances connected, then wi-fi bridge to the ‘clean’ router, then ethernet to the streamer.

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I guess it’s more about streamers than amps, for me nd5 xs2 is ‘better’ with network tweaks compared to ndx2 without.

Thanks for the reply Simon, I generally find good logic in what you post (if I can understand the technicalities) Could you explain the comment above further please.

Sorry, I don’t follow.

Why would simply adding in more cables and power supplies to a system be an improvement?

Secondly, how does a router become “dirty” with other appliances using it, how would that effect the streamer if fed via WiFi?

Routers (especially modern with powerful antennas and processors inside) produce a lot of noise. And basically in the world of streaming they’re a part of your source. So upgrading router power supply has almost the same effect as upgrading it on the streamer. Just try to put good psu to the router.

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Sure Marq, setup multiple wifi access points in your house off a single wireless lan controller, such the signal strength from both access points overlap with each other for the devices that will be using it. You demonstrate this by disabling one of the APs and the device can still wifi connect and vice versa. This allows an optimum path over the wifi to your device that can adapt depending on what else is happening on your wifi.

Things have moved on from the old days of having a single ISP router with a limited WLC and a single AP. There are key wifi protocols und the bonnet that are designed to work between multiple APs for best performance. Also power APs causes less radio interference to other radio users, and also allows the streamer to use lower power on its radio… which is a good thing.


Another thing is a galvanic isolation that wi-fi bridges and switches with the transformers inside provide. And ethernet cable upgrade is like any digital cable upgrade, makes a lot of sense if you’re not in a prejudice that ‘bits are bits’ (0 and 1 are just voltages, the fact that they’re buffered does not prevent noise impact at all).

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Thanks Simon, so an incremental WiFi access point would need to be connected to my router by Ethernet? At the moment my system connects to the main router.

Does the set up you describe help with robustness of connectivity, sound quality or both?

Cheers, Mark

Thanks - is this the case if just using WiFi though?