Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi, one more time

I run Roon on an old iMac which is connected by a 20’ Ethernet cable running to my Comcast router. I recently installed a hi-speed switch to hook up TV, cable, Node2i and my NAS on hard disc. I haven’t had it this way long enough to report on SQ, but at each stage of my journey from WiFi to Ethernet, my system has operated quicker, with fewer problems. But the most important difference for me was the noise floor. Much quieter overall with early sonic improvements that ride along with it. No negatives. Do it.

1 Like

There are always caveats and exceptions, but I think the following is generally true, in order of preference:

  1. connect everything with network cables, via an unmanaged switch :+1:
  2. connect your core with a cable, and optionally clients via Wi-Fi :slightly_smiling_face:
  3. connect everything via Wi-Fi - not Roon recommended :neutral_face:

A network cable is simple, cheap, fast, full duplex. Wi-Fi needs configuration, is slower, half-duplex, susceptible to interference from neighbours and microwave ovens. And the controversial bit: it all sounds the same (assuming there’s no packet loss).


I agree with @mikeb, but there are a couple of points that I don’t get:

Why unmanaged switch? I don’t get the point.
There is no interference from neighbours but contention and possibly frame destruction in case of a hidden terminal scenario.

I agree, but it comes up from time to time, and using a simple switch is known to solve some issues. The caveat is probably “unless you know what you’re doing”. Keep it simple is a good mantra.


In this case, I agree 100% :sunglasses:

Again no information is lost, so the only thing you could be hearing is noise introduced by the cable or from the network hardware in your client. Jitter is a fault during encoding or decoding not transmission. Remember the client has a buffer an every bit that left the core made it to the buffer.

l exclusively use Wi-Fi (in the house where I live and in two holiday homes). Everything works perfectly. No stability issues whatsoever. I’m probably just lucky.

There is an interesting text about this on the site: Ethernet or WiFi - which is better for high-end audio streaming? | Darko.Audio
And I am of the opinion that listening to music via wi fi should sound better (provided the network is correct and fast enough). The main problem with network cables is exactly what Darko writes about, that it transmits noise, and that affects the quality.
In my system, ansuz power switch has made a very audible change (for the better) (Naim Uniti Nova, Intel Nuc, …) And ansuz’s philosophy is based on the noise transmitted by internet cables and devices and their neutralization or minimization.

There is no luck involved, just a solid (read correct) network configuration.
Roon is a networked service; problems within your network equals problems with Roon :nerd_face:


THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my question. You were very helpful.


1 Like