6 best ethernet cables for gaming: understanding ethernet cable standards and optimization

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When it comes to setting up a high-performance gaming rig, it’s important to prioritize 3 core parameters, including hardware configuration of the gaming PC/console, external controls/accessories, and internet connection.

This post stresses internet connection and the importance of using a good and the right ethernet cable. Get ready to dive deep into how a good internet connection can elevate the overall performance of your gaming rig and put you at a competitive edge.

Why choose a wired ethernet connection over Wi-Fi for gaming?

If you play online competitive games, having a high-speed internet connection is an important part of increasing your odds of success. Although Wi-Fi internet speed has increased over the years with new standards such as the 802.11ac and 802.11n, wired internet connectivity is still the fastest option you can go for. 

New ethernet cable standards, including Cat 6, and Cat 6A can help you reach internet speeds of up to 10 Gbps. 

Image credit: Intel

But it’s more than just connection speed when it comes to listing the advantages wired internet connectivity has over Wi-Fi. Here are 3 major advantages ethernet connectivity has over Wi-Fi for gaming requirements:

1. Low latency 

Low latency is extremely important for online game genres, including FPS, MOBA, MOBA RPG, and RTS. Also known as ping, low latency in your network works to your advantage as it registers your actions on the game’s server much quicker. 

In most cases, wired ethernet connectivity has a lower ping than Wi-Fi connectivity as there’s very little packet loss as compared to the latter. 

2. Reliability 

Unlike Wi-Fi connections, ethernet connections aren’t highly susceptible to wave interferences and therefore offer better connectivity reliability. If you are playing high-level online competitive matches, every moment counts and there’s no room for internet connection drops. 

Wi-Fi connections tend to perform lower when they are interfered with by other Wi-Fi connections, mobile networks, or radio waves. 

3. More bandwidth 

The better the internet speed, the higher the bandwidth. The fact that ethernet connectivity offers higher bandwidth makes it an unmistakable choice for gamers who stream their game on streaming platforms such as Twitch. 

If you are new to networking and want to learn the basics, this Intel post is a good place to start. 

Image credit: Intel

Gaming ethernet cable buying tips for newbies

For someone who is totally new to buying ethernet cable for gaming, understanding the differences between the types of ethernet cables, ethernet cable standards, and the rated link speed for compatibility can be confusing. 

And this is totally justifiable considering the fact that almost all ethernet cables and ports look the same. But we are here to help you gain a basic level of understanding and make an informed decision in choosing the right ethernet cable.

1. Understand the difference between the two types of ethernet cables

Ethernet cables are of two types, UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair), and STP (Shielded Twisted Pair). UTP ethernet cables are more common and affordable. However, their performance can lower if interfered with by crosstalk. 

Image credit: Screenshot from Powercert YouTube video

STP ethernet cables are less common and cost more than UTP cables. However, the internal shielding that they include protects them from crosstalk interference to a significant extent. If you do not want to make any compromises on internet connectivity for your gaming rig, it’s best to go for STP cables. High-quality Cat 6 ethernet cables include internal shielding. 

Image credit: Screenshot from Powercert YouTube video

2. Identifying the ethernet cables

All ethernet cables look the same and therefore it can be confusing for newbies to tell the difference. One simple way to identify the ethernet cable type is to look for the printed details on the cable itself. 

Image credit: Screenshot from Techquickie YouTube video 

3. Understanding RJ45 connectors and rated link speed compatibility

Similar to the way USB ports have become a universal standard for data and power transfer, RJ45 connectors are the universal standard for wired ethernet connectivity. While all RJ45 connectors look the same, they actually aren’t. RJ45 connectors, especially the data receiving interface, vary in terms of link speed.

One simple way to learn about the rated link speed (supported internet speed) on a particular RJ45 receiving port is to look for denotations. 

Image credit: Screenshot from Techquickie YouTube video 

Not all RJ45 ports have denotations on them. An alternative option is to check the manual/guide of your gaming laptop or your gaming desktop’s CPU. 

Image credit: Screenshot from Techquickie YouTube video 

The third option is to check the rated link speed from your computer itself. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Type ‘view network connections’ on the search bar of your PC and click on the result. 

Step 2: Select the Ethernet network adapter and go to ‘Properties.’

Step 3: Click on the ‘Configure’ option 

Step 4: Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab and select ‘Speed & Duplex’ from the list of options displayed. If the value is 1 GbE or 1G, it means that your PC’s ethernet port has a speed of 1Gb per second. However, if the value is ‘Auto Negotiation,’ you may need to update the network adapter to view the updated value. 

By checking the rated link speed, you can avoid choosing an ethernet cable that’s overkill for you. For example, if your PC’s RJ45 ethernet port supports a speed of 1Gbps, choosing a Cat 6 ethernet cable that’s capable of transferring 10Gbps will be overkill for you. The limited 1Gbps speed of the female RJ45 port and network adapter will act as a bottleneck for the 10Gbps speed that a high-quality Cat 6 ethernet cable can deliver. 

4. Cables that are rated for the correct speed and correct distance

Speed-to-length ratio is extremely important when it comes to determining the actual speed of an ethernet cable. Top-tier Cat 6 ethernet cables are rated for delivering a speed of 10Gbps across 100 meters where as Cat 5e cables can deliver 1 Gbps across 100 meters. Cat 5e cables can theoretically deliver 10Gbps across 55 meters. 

6 best ethernet cables for gaming

If you are planning to set up LAN wired connectivity for your gaming rig, patch ethernet cable is what you want to go for. Distribution ethernet cables are generally sold in longer lengths, such as 300 meters (1000 ft). As compared to patch cables, distribution ethernet cables generally do not come with male RJ45 connectors already installed on them. 

1. CableCreation Cat5e UTP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

CableCreation Cat5e ethernet cable is a great choice for accessing data transfer speed of up to 1Gbps. One of the biggest highlights of this cable is its internal cross skeleton structure which reduces crosstalk interference. This ethernet patch cable also uses a high-quality PVC jacket which protects it and also makes it flexible. The cable’s RJ45 connectors are gold-plated which makes it resistant to corrosion. 

2. C2G Cat5e STP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

C2G Cat5e is an STP-type ethernet patch cable that offers interference protection for consistent connectivity speed. This Cat5e ethernet patch cable comes as the right choice for you if you have multiple connection devices in your room, such as extra Wi-Fi routers, phones, and IoT devices. Its STP internal design ensures protection from electromagnetic and EMI/RFI noise. 

3. Ultra Clarity Cat6 UTP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

Ultra Clarity Cat6 ethernet cable adheres to the 10Gbps connectivity speed of the Cat6 standard. Although a UTP-type ethernet cable, this model offers protection against crosstalk interference as it has internal cross insulation. Gold-plated RJ45 connectors, and flexible and durable PVC jacket, are the other two features of this cable. 

4. Tripp Lite Cat6A STP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

Tripp Lite Cat6A uses the Augmented Cat6 standard along with STP design to deliver uninterrupted connectivity speeds of 10Gbps. This 10G-certified ethernet patch cable has copper internal wires that are FLUKE tested and certified. This cable is also compatible with previous ethernet standards.  

5. Amazon Basics Cat7 STP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

Amazon Basics Cat7 is a cost-effective choice for ensuring ultra-fast ethernet connectivity for your gaming rig. Apart from delivering a connectivity speed of up to 10Gbps, this Cat7 ethernet patch cable also offers a high bandwidth of 600MHz. The double STP internal design of this cable protects it from electromagnetic interference.  

6. DbillionDa Cat8 S/FTP ethernet patch cable – check it out here

If you want to have access to the highest speed possible for your gaming rig’s wired internet connectivity, you cannot go wrong with a Cat8 ethernet patch cable. DbillionDa Cat8 S/FTP ethernet patch cable can deliver wired internet connectivity speed of up to a whooping 40Gbps. Its S/FTP internal design not just protects it from crosstalk and EMI/RFI but also makes it resistant to weather and UV. 

Adhering to the speed-length ratio

In order to get the best performance out of the ethernet cable you choose, it’s important to make sure that you adhere to the speed-to-length ratio. In other words, make sure that you do not use more length in regard to the type of ethernet cable category. For example, high-quality Cat6 ethernet cables can deliver 10Gbps across 100 meters. If you use a Cat6 cable that measures more than 100 meters in length, the connectivity speed will lower. 

Using a high-speed internet plan

You will not get the best performance out of the ethernet cable you choose if you don’t have a high-speed internet plan. It’s best to upgrade to a gigabit fiber optic internet connection in order to get the best results from the ethernet cable(s) and augment the performance of your gaming rig. 

How to properly organize your ethernet cable and other cables

The one minor downside of choosing wired internet connectivity over wireless is the clutter that the ethernet cables create. However, it barely takes hard work to keep the ethernet cables properly organized and make your gaming room look clutter-free. 

Watch this video to learn how you can organize various ethernet cables in such a way that you not only make them look clutter-free but also make it easier to segregate them. 

You can also use these accessories to properly organize all your ethernet cables and other cables as well. 

1. Single cable holder – check it out here

2. Double cable holder – check it out here

3. Multiple cable holder – check it out here

4. Cable comb tool – check it out here

5. Cable management panel – check it out here