Question Powerline vs WiFi for gaming

Mar 17, 2019
I unfortunately dont have access to a wired connection directly to the router at my house as my parents use it for their main desktop. So after hair pulling terrible WiFi for years and years of PC gaming I got a $80 net gear power line a year ago.

This / the power line is a great source for stable connection as I believe it technically connects you directly to the router, I'm not a huge tech geek at all by the way. On WiFi, I spike often, and when multiple users are on the WiFi at my home it's UNPLAYABLE, so bad.

I game on the pc daily, I play counter strike which is very network intensive as there are practice modes where it can be and often is player vs player which is very aim reliant, When I practice my game I see the same results, often inconsistent, I feel the bullets / shooting in my game just don't land even when I know they should before the other player's does.

Also, When I download games I know my WiFi speed is MUCH faster like 5-6x faster than my power line (odd?)

Today, I unplugged my power line and plugged back in the wifi card to download my game quicker. I totally forgot to plug back in the power line for the first time and WOW my game practice was night and day different on the WiFi card since I last played on WiFi a year ago.

I feel like my power line holds me back gaming wise BIG time. I just have a few questions

Why is my download speed 3-5x quicker on WiFi?
Why doesn't my power line give me the same ping/ms?
How come ingame I notice a better connection on WiFi just less stable than my power line?

Powerline speed test results (3)
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WiFi speed test results (3)
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Oct 14, 2017
Your parents probably upgraded wifi speeds and things like that through your cable company thats probably why it's better now then a year ago if thats the case the wifi signal could now be stronger then the power line
The speed of the connection means nothing for games. Games need very little bandwidth other than when you download them to install them. If you say had a 10gbit internet connection over fiber or 2mbps connection over the same fiber the game would run the same. Most games need well under 1mbps.

What games need is consistent latency. In general wifi and powerline will have almost no delays in the house when running well. You should see less than 5ms to your router.on both powerline and wifi.

The huge problem is that wifi is subject to interference coming from outside your house. There are likely huge number of other people living near you attempting to use wifi. Their signals interfere with yours. This causes errors which wifi unlike most other systems attempt to fix. This takes time which causes a increase in the latency. Games use the latency to sync your client to the server. If the latency jumps around you get lag spikes and game since it can't correctly sync you.

Pretty much the design of wifi error recovery is directly opposed to what games need to function well. It runs well if you are the lucky person who has little interference
Reactions: TwiNcs
iperf3 shows you retransmissions and your throughput on lan. you can test both to see how it is and test your wifi throughput. you may experience lag from bufferbloat (lack of bandwidth) or bad packets (high retransmissions would show this).

A. is your wifi throughput < ISP bandwidth
B. Are you getting high retransmissions when no one is active on the network
C. you have no problems with throughput/quality, but get bufferbloat
D. you have issues with everything

fq_codel or cake QoS can help with bufferbloat (C,D)
If you have wifi throughput/quality issues you should look into running wires for better access point placement or wired connection. (A,B,D)

testing for bufferbloat requires monitoring on your WAN side. iftop is great for this. it's a very uncommon feature though. some routers will have graphs with averages, these won't show small changes. it's also very difficult to tell if you're getting DOS.

your isp bandwidth should be enough for many people. I don't think you will need to increase it.
Last edited:
Mar 16, 2019
Powerline is absolutely rubbish. I brought one for 90 and it cuts off every couple hours. Spent 85 on pcie wireless and it’s no issues at all.

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