WiFi vs Ethernet

So had some connection issues and had to send my SR Ethernet back to the US of Audiophiles, being a tad lazy i decided in the interim just use my Nova via WiFi.

Interesting at first i was thinking not much difference, might try an A-B-A when my Ethernet cable comes back, but so far my only major criticism is I don’t enjoy listening to it, but can’t describe why, apart for clinical with no emotion.

With all this talk of high end cables, I am wondering for most if they have a strong WiFI signal, a cable may offer little gain.

Thoughts please ?

I noticed absolutely no difference between wifi an lan connection on my Atom both sound equally as good.

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Well in old houses walls may be too thick to permit WiFi…
I only use WiFi as a point of access, poor WiFi frustrates the other half

For old houses with thick walls, I’d do some research on Mesh Networks. I purchased a setup from Eero and now my other half is tickled pink. Now that I get a very very strong signal and fast download speeds I personally don’t hear a difference and its worth every penny since I don’t have to run a 40 foot Cat5e cable from my computer room to the living room.

I have done some research and concluded that I could integrate my Airport Express units into fibre optic unit rather than use my apple network. It’s the next project…

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It’s all psychological. There’s no difference. Bits are bits. It doesn’t matter where they come from. You can verify by doing a blind test when your Ethernet comes back.

Hello StoogeMoe,

I do not think that it is only psychological. There may be differences. Not because of the music data (here are bits the same nevertheless of the transport way), but because of other things. It is like wav sounds better than flac with the old unitis. It should be the same, but it is not.

Maybe the device handles one way better than the other with less computational work and so with producing less electronical noise. Or electronical noise can be introduced into the device by the LAN cable. etc

So it is really important to make a test. And if you think that you hear a difference, the test must be done as blind again, as you say.

I use my system without WiFi on as I hear improvement when it is turned-on in my house. I tried AB tests WiFi is more convenient so wanted it to be better - but the wired set-up just sounded better so I use it that way. It helps that my house was already wired with a LAN so it was easy.

Use what sounds best - or convince yourself there is no difference if you can make that work for you.
I like to use what sounds best even if I’m not sure why.


I dare not :sob: lest i realise my RasPI, and fancy cables do didly squat.

All i can say i have gone from listening every chance i get to nothin the last few days.

I only used streamer today to figure a Tidal issue.

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I tried using my Mu so with a close proximity wifi (new Airport base station) and when listening to Radio Paradise 320k it buffered regularly and the buffer would only get up to 70% max, mostly stayed at 50%. I added an old Airport Express in the Mu so room and connected the Mu so via a new BJ cat 6 cable and the buffer stays at 90% now and doesn’t buffer. The sound quality is marginally better with a wired connection to my ears. I especially love the Multi room sonics when using my Super Uniti that is wired to a Cisco 2960.

A familiar story, wireless performance is not the strong point of the older Naim streamers - but your workaround is a good solution if you can’t run a cable a cable all the way to your Muso.

Were any of the later Mu-sos equipped with recent wifi standards? I’m under the impression they weren’t but not sure.

As far as I’m aware they still use 802.11g WiFi. Why they use such an ancient version, I have no idea.

Wifi can be as effective if not better in some circumstances for host clients… there is a lot to be said for not having long radiating cables hanging around the house, especially near Hi-Fi.
Wifi setup as an ESSID, that is overlapping participating access points each one connected back to a switch can be hugely effective and handle high concurrent loads… audio and video streaming becomes straightforward.
Ideally you don’t want a single access point somewhere in your house… even with high capacity MIMO it’s just not ideal… and you see people struggle with brick walls etc… keep clear and use a proper setup with participating multiple access points… ideally an access point in each main room and in hallway / landings. Think of a three dimenional Olympic flag. This method also has another benefit… it helps optimise performance when there are older Wifi protocols such as legacy Naim streamers, and Muso devices. Also more small powered access points allows the streamer to operate at lower Wifi power, and be less impacted by interference and retransmitted frames… this is good for lower noise and SQ.

A compromise that can work reasonably well is mesh networking, but in consumer land it’s auite vague what is meant and some products don’t support true meshing (802.11s HWMP) and it is used more as a consumer marketing term. With effective meshes you need to have a higher density of micro/small radius access points, with the majority wired backed to a switch. Anything else will be compromising overall wlan performance unless you have only a very small number of hosts on the wlan.


Will update when my cable returns, but struggling to enjoy via WiFi.

The information seems to all be present or as ive heard it it remains in my subconscious.

Will be very interesting to A B A, but my feeling at the moment is, WIFi is clinical and flat. Wired with a good cable is emotional and engaging.

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Oh just a thought is 2.4 or 5Ghz the better setting for dtreaming, i assume 2.4GHz was, but then 5Ghz maybe less congested.

Thanks Simon. That is one of the better if not the best explanations I’ve heard. I currently use a Mesh Network(3 devices with backhaul) and it’s been fantastic.

Not received my ethernet cable back will be another week, i doubt i will even bother going wireless, as after a fee days home early for a listening session, damn app just stuck in an endless loop finding room. It did find the streamer at first, then went all potty.

you will rediscover again your system after 2 weeks break ( from wired)

Leaving aside the purely technical ‘you can do it’ with WiFi I also went through a journey to using Wired in my system as although the WiFi worked fine, the wired just sounded so much more rewarding.

At one point I did A-B testing with my system running fully-wired Ethernet and turning the house WiFi off and on a few times, as that is easy on my Router. So in this case the WiFi was doing nothing but being available to devices or not (no WiFi devices in use) - and when it was off the noise-floor on my system drops like a curtain of noise removed - I did this a few times to convince myself - and also got a friend to opine and we agreed off was better.

So that made my decision to go for a wired Ethernet. This test may not be so obvious, perhaps, in all systems - and since WiFi is so ubiquitous everywhere now few are going to even want to find-out or be allowed to.

To be clear - I’m saying nothing about WiFi in this post other than this specific test in relation to my own system music performance. Given the money invested I want all it can offer - and it appears adding a noise-transmitter into my house takes the edge off things which is less the case with whatever Ethernet cables radiate.


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