Advantages: Cable vs ATT vs Fiber?

Interested in knowing what is best to use for the main source of my internet connection. Ethernet 6a cable would be used for direct connection to equipment.

What speeds would be beneficial, if at all?
Or is it about latency? (per some good advice)
Is there really a big difference regarding Mbps/Gbps when it comes to a more simple/smaller audiophile rig setup.
And any advantage to the Wi-Fi signal to wireless equipment?

Thank you for the advice and input!!

Above 30 Mbps, it’s all about latency rather than bandwidth. For example, 36 Mbps with 2ms latency and virtually zero jitter will feel way more responsive than 1 Gbps with 50ms of latency and significant jitter.

Also, look for symmetric rates. 250 Mbps down and up is better than 1 Gbps down and 10 Mbps up for many use cases.


Quick answer… Fiber is always best, when possible, to use. Though fiber is more expensive, in the long run it will pay for itself many times over. I became a convert when we populated the server room, 15 years ago, at my work. After that, I ran it within my home.
Wireless is best used in sections of the house that are not feasible for cable/fiber. Look for reviews for the best routers ( reviews that are hardcore wireless freaks not PC mag or the like) featuring at least 6 or 6E.
I agree with DSNYDER about the importance of latency. You will easily notice generally anything above 20 to 30 milliseconds. Some people are more sensitive to latency than others. And if you’re playing first person shooter games you generally try to keep it to under 10 milliseconds.
If all of this is just for setting up audio file equipment, then wireless is probably okay. Most audiophile equipment is set up for wireless/ethernet. Wireless is by far cheaper to set up, but surrounding neighbors can interfere with your signal.


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I’m not understanding the importance of latency in audio streaming when the apps read-ahead into a buffer and play the audio from the buffer.

Unless your connection can’t keep an average speed of 1.5mbit/sec you will have a full buffer and latency will not be an issue.


Yep. Audio is extremely slow by network standards. The hardware of the 1990s was more than fast enough for streaming even the best audiophile recordings. It makes sense to build a faster home network in general, as games and video and remote work do require greater speed.

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The latency will be felt in the reaction to controls, for example.
I am looking at the issue from gaming/FPS and reaction to call control (when you push pause, on the controller, the program pauses).


I have no idea about gaming as I don’t game (or very rarely) but from a control point of view (audio and video), the pause command is to the local machine doing the playback, so no network is involved.

If you are using say a tablet via WiFi to control a remote player, then the network is involved but WiFi will already have the latency and Fiber will make no difference.

The only real factor with audio streaming is, as mentioned above, that the network can keep up with the data to have enough of a buffer ahead.

I switched from cable to fiber this year. Much more speed, less latency, more consistent ping and … cheaper!

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I want to avoid mixing things up here. Let’s start with ISP type.

  1. Dial-up
  2. DSL
  3. Cable
  4. Fiber to the home
  5. Fixed Wireless
  6. Mobile Wireless (AKA 5G or 4G)
  7. Satellite

The ONLY type that would be impossible for streaming music would be Dial-up. Some interesting issues with Mobile Wireless and satellite are that they typically have longer turnaround times and ping times. While this should not bother the actual streaming, it can give you issues with interactive communications such as web browsing, things like Google Docs editing, VOIP, and gaming.

Side Note: I have been noticing increasing Ping times on Comcast lately. I have not tried to graph it as I did not keep older data. It just seems higher.

When I worked at Audio Consultants, we suggested that our customers get 30M service. This was mainly because they would be streaming both video and audio!

Work within your budget.

Networking inside the home

There have been a LOT of words written about internal networking. I am a massive fan of running ethernet cables everywhere you can. I have found that some playback systems are more interactive, and the packet delays, etc., with WiFi. Test and Listen!

WiFi coverage in the home is vital for operational quality of life. Avoid things like WiFi extenders as they double packet delays. Mesh networking systems can help with coverage but are more complex to implement well. If you use the ISP-provided router with WiFi, get it placed centrally.

One of the disadvantages of many ISP-provided modems is the lack of control of your DNS. Managing DNS can help with performance and security. While it has less to do with audio, it is crucial for safety and security. I only mention this as it relates to the purchase and operation processes.


PS. do not worry about ethernet cable types and fancy ethernet switches. It is a HUGE RAT-HOLE!


Love that phrase. Reminds me of an ironic cartoon. A husband & wife rat are standing inside their messy abode. She’s unhappy, obviously ripping him a new one over the condition of the place. He says to her,

“But it’s supposed to be a rat-hole!”

So true. I bought a Google WiFi mesh system – the original, not the Nest – about six years ago to improve the signal coverage around my house with Spectrum cable internet. Worked beautifully.

I got Kinetic fiber last September, and the speeds were crap. Just as slow as cable, if not slower. Couldn’t figure out the bottleneck, as I had technicians here checking my modem, fiber box, cable. Everything was normal.

So, I removed the Google mesh system from my signal chain and – BOOM! – my speeds immediately jumped to the advertised 500 MB download and upload. Thankfully the Kinetic modem and fiber signal are strong enough to coat my entire house with good speeds without the mesh system.

The Google mesh system works great – with some connections, not all. Anyone want to buy mine? :slight_smile:

For What It Is Worth, our Spectrum Cable ( Thru our HOA, which is a real contractual mess. ) was upped to 500 mbs last month. Measured speed is 650 mbs via my ASUS router. Cabled Gigabit in the Study, WIFI & Ethernet over Power to the dead spots in the house. No speed issues with streaming of any kind.

Mark Gosdin

Many routers cannot handle the really high speed stuff. I typically use Ubiquity and you have to go to their Dream Machine to handle that kind of speed.

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Yep. That was my deduction, too. Plus my Google Wifi is an older unit, probably adding to the incompatibility.

Thanks for your previous post. Reassured me I wasn’t going insane about the previously fantastic Google Wifi mesh system being my bottleneck with these much higher speeds.

It’s funny: Spectrum offered me a bunch of discounts and increased speeds once I left it as a customer.

Spectrum can kiss my ass. Overpriced, nickel-and-dime you to death with fees and treat customers of nearly three decades like crap compared to new ones.


Agreed…Most of my experience comes from the Enterprise realm (Cisco Catalyst, Ericsson, etc). I had to install AP’s, AP controllers and SFF firewalls to keep the neighbors at bay.
But after measuring the backplane speed of a few consumer routers…I was very disappointed.