Ethernet and Internet: What's the difference?

Ethernet and Internet: What's the difference?
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Two terms are widely used (and misused) when it comes to talking about broadband, such as Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi or Mbps vs. Gbps, Ethernet, and the Internet. Ethernet and the Internet are often interchangeably referred to. They are, in truth, very distinct aspects of your broadband network, however.

It is also important to know the difference between Ethernet and the internet to make sure you can take advantage of the security and speed features of each.

Ethernet and Internet Are they the same?

Oh, no. While you can hear these two words used when referring to internet access, they are really two very distinct concepts. The easiest way to remember the distinction is that the internet is global and local is Ethernet. The Internet also links to a Wide Area Network, also referred to as a WAN, while the Ethernet connects to a Local Area Network, also known as a LAN.


The term for the local area network or LAN is Ethernet. Two or more devices connected within a physical location make up a LAN. For instance, all the computers inside the building are probably connected to a LAN if you work in an office. Your smartphone, tablet, computer, and any other device connected to your modem and router that use the same IP address is also called a LAN within your home.


And, the term for worldwide network or WAN that connects all computer systems is the Internet. "The internet is a worldwide computer network that only operates at sub-second rates, just like the postal system. The internet allows computers to give each other tiny packets of digital data, much as the postal service allows people to send each other envelopes containing letters, according to the BBC.

When to use them?

You should use Ethernet when:

- You need the fastest download and upload speeds possible.
- To reduce latency such as when playing real-time multiplayer games
- You want a higher level of security
- Wi-Fi is not available

You should use the Internet when:

- You need more connectivity between more than one physical location
- Wi-Fi across locations is a must, such as sending data between tablets or laptops in different locations.
- To have a greater connectivity 

By now, you may have found that Ethernet and internet use have some overlap. This is possibly why they sometimes confuse the terms. So, it's important to realize that you can use Ethernet and the internet at the same time to dive a little deeper. However, WITHOUT the internet, you can still use Ethernet, and vice versa. Let's have these scenarios discussed below.

Ethernet without Internet

A connected system is possible in which your devices can communicate with each other, but not with the wider Internet. In a situation where safety is paramount, such as a small office where you want computers, printers, and other accessories to pass data between each other, but without using the internet, this set-up could be useful.

Using them both at the same time:

Keeping with the example of our workplace, assume we have a single position in the office that uses a LAN. Now, what if another office location opens in a different area, and both offices have to interact with each other? This is where the Wide Area Network comes into play, i.e. the internet.

In other words, a wide area network (WAN) connection enables devices to communicate without using the public Internet over a wide geographic area. Knowledge can pass only inside the local area network (LAN) without a WAN, such as in one office. According to Biztech, a WAN is important for companies wishing to cooperate across several locations.

Internet without Ethernet

Without first connecting to a local area network (Ethernet), will you be able to connect to a wide area network (internet)? Sure. Oh, sure. If you only use one device at your location, then, legally, because a LAN consists of at least two devices, you do not have a LAN. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are another example of using the net without Ethernet.

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