Connecting a streamer via an Ethernet cable

Is there a noticeable difference connecting a streamer directly to an External cable as opposed to WiFi? The reason I ask, is that doing so with my situation would require a fair amount of effort. But if it’s worth it, I’m willing to do it. Thanks.
I am using a wifi extender, connected to an EtherRegen Switch, connected via Ethernet to my Aurender WE20se. My audio guy recommended this when I got rid of my streamer that connected directly to wifi (Auralic Aries G2). I’d be interested in knowing if someone has done a critical comparison. I cannot tell the difference between an album stored on the drive of the streamer with one streamed via Qubuz. While it seems hard for me the direct connect could improve the sound, I long ago learned that is virtually never true.
"While it seems hard for me the direct connect could improve the sound, I long ago learned that is virtually never true. "

I'm interested in your experience but having trouble understanding that last sentence.  Perhaps a typo?  Would you mind explaining further??THANKS.

My experience is yes. I had a Bluesound Node 2i and initially used it with wifi. I ran an ethernet cable to a switch in my music room and the sound did indeed improve. Now I'm using a Lumin streamer with no provision for wifi, so still using the ethernet cable.

What @jss49 said.

Let me also add, by going the ‘wired’ route you also eliminate RFI / EMI interferences which yields to better dynamics, IMO. The only way to know is test it in your environment as the improvements or lack thereof squarely depends on your ears and the audio system.

Buy a long Ethernet cable that can be returned for testing before you go through the trouble of moving things around.
+1 +1 what @jjss49 and @lalitk said.  

My older streamer has a provision with some streaming services where the music can be streamed from a handheld device-controller (iPad, Laptop, iPhone) -OR- another provision for streaming directly from the streamer itself with rj45 network connecter across a hard wired network. If the wireless network has any form of dropping (dropped ip packets), the signal seems more degraded at a lower transfer rate, buffering some, a little less transparent at times. Not all of the time, but some times. When it occurs on wireless, I will restart the app and wireless session, and it goes back to being okay till the next time there is a drop or degradation in signal. However, as soon as I shift to the hard-wired connection, the connection is more stable, rarely any dropped packets, the signal and sound does seem cleaner, deeper sound stage, and more detailed - more consistently. Study how Sonos worked around this some with their wireless devices and protocol, buffering design, etc. Its hard to tell for sure when jumping between tracks with hard-wired. Testing the same track over and over does tend to reveal better consistency of sound with a hard-wire connection. Best I can share, rechecking periodically fwiw.    
... by going the ‘wired’ route you also eliminate RFI / EMI interferences ...
What makes you think wired connections are immune to RFI/EMI?
The reason I ask, is that doing so with my situation would require a fair amount of effort.

IIUC, This effort can be drastically reduced with a wifi extender. Cost is $30-60 and plug it in to the AC outlet. Of course make sure it has a Ethernet inlet. most have one. Some 2
“What makes you think wired connections are immune to RFI/EMI?”


A conductive shield in a Ethernet cable reflects or conduct external interference away without affecting the signals of the internal conductor. Hence the shielded Ethernet cables protects signals from EMI/RFI over the length of the cable run resulting in faster transmission speeds and fewer data errors.

You may also know, fiber-optic cable network is impervious to EMI/ RFI and switch noise but it often requires conversion at some point cause majority of consumer grade streamers / routers do not have fiber optic jacks.
A couple of thoughts:
  • a mesh system may improve on a wi-fi extender (more expensive though) - I use a short Ethernet cable from a mesh satellite to stream to my second system and have had no operational problems whatsoever, but I have not critically listened to the wired vs. wi-fi SQ comparison
  • if worried about RFI/EMI, you could convert to fiber at your router, run fiber to your system, and then reconvert back to a short Ethernet cable - I have both but in direct comparison find the difference subtle if not indistinguishable 

All the IT guys I work with agree that wired is a more reliable method to deliver data packets consistently
I agree with the recommendation of a mesh wifi system; also, if the wifi receiver of the streamer permits (e.g., ROON does, the OPPO 205 does), set it for a minimal delay, say 10 ms. Thats enough buffer to 'resort' packages.
In my experience, mesh system/ROON via wifi (ROON core on a MacBook) are absolutely equivalent to ethernet hardwired.
If you are in a "messy" environment (e.g., apartment building), wifi reliability may be difficult to obtain, though.
In my experience connecting source to amp via a quality standard-compliant ethernet cable is far better than WiFi. And depending on which room your system is situated in, using a mesh router system will be beneficial to ensure even WiFi coverage. 
Dump the WiFi and hardwire. I didn't lose a single packet in 2 years hard wired..

 WiFi, and any ol sunspot will do. :-). It will just STOP and re buffer.

WiFi is flying around in YOUR house. My routers shut down from 2 - 6 in the morning. They only wake up if I or the wife use the net..

Yes I wear a tin foil hat.

I use BT sometimes.
All my streamers ethernet.... Major difference. BTW my buddy told me to use a good ethernet cable. Was a skeptic till I purchased transparent cable. I was surprised with the difference . Not a major investment.
I was wondering the same but read many times that WiFi sounds as good as Ethernet, provided your WiFi is strong enough a signal. Mine is. My Node 2i never blinks.

A cable will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be more reliable, faster and better.

Most of the time you may not notice the difference, but when there is air noise, wifi signals will be lost, corrupted and retransmitted MUCH more.

In addition to a mesh satellite connecting directly to the streamer, I added a Acoustic Revive Lan filter on the streamer side. This has improved the SQ significantly. Qobuz streaming sounded as good as some good CDs. 

‘I'm interested in your experience but having trouble understanding that last sentence.  Perhaps a typo?  Would you mind explaining further??THANKS.“

Sorry for not being clear. Every time either I thought something (like a digital cable) or that the sound could not be improved I have been very wrong. So, I am very reluctant to say a cable will not matter... it always has.
Hmmm, after reading the comments, I bet the results are very highly dependent on the streamer. Some folks comment on drop outs. While I have trouble with wifi on my iPad at the same location, my streamer never has drop outs... but I have one of the best on the market. I remember long ago using my Mac laptop where dropouts were a problem. So, I am thinking the answer is like every other aspect of this pursuit... “It depends” and how much difference is highly variable. But I would imagine the higher quality the streamer the less it matters. As I mentioned earlier, I can’t tell the difference between a red book CD stored on my steamer and and incoming red book version from Qubuz.
My perspective is from 35 years in IT. In the early days of WiFi it was hit and miss, and wired = reliable. WiFi has evolved considerably and if one invests in the latest tech, previous issues like dropouts and latency should be a non issue.

If wired is "easy" go for it, but in most scenarios WiFi should suffice. If the tech is on point there will be no audible difference but if you have the funds to hardwire everything, go for it.  Please let us know how you progress with all your mobile devices. 
Lots of depends in the way to the answer. Short answer is hard connection is always better, but if your streamer is enter level you will not hear any difference. 
When I was using WiFi, I had a lot of problems with the BluOS app losing connection to the streamer in my main system.  (I'm sure this was a Wi-Fi problem.)  Since I hard-wired, I have had no connection problems.  In my room with my second system, the WiFi isn't great so hard-wiring has made a world of difference.  

I have compared WiFi with a short ethernet lead direct from a mesh extender and ethernet over mains -(a plug adaptor sits in mains circuit and a short ethernet lead goes into back of streamer)

A big jump in quality from WiFi to either of the ethernet options, no interruptions and quality of streaming improved. That said this WiFi streaming was always from a phone - I imagine a dedicated device like ipad/laptop just for hifi may improve this.

Some of my stored music is hi res and the differance between that and streamers like tidal masters still gives edge to stored material... Just my thought 
Always use a wired connection and only use wifi when you can’t use a wired connection. 
While I would agree a wired connection is always going to be more stable than WiFi, there can be absolutely no difference in sound quality between a good WiFi connection and wired. Between the inherent reliability of TCP/IP and the buffering built into any streaming device the end result is 0 difference. It’s all 0’s and 1’s with no room for confusion or errors. This goes the same for the argument of upgrading your Ethernet cable, it’s 100’s bull and happy to argue anyone knucklehead on the point.
Wi-fi is a PITA- especially when you're listening to Grumpy Dingo radio and miss the punchline as it cuts out
Here’s some reasons why the bits-are-bits argument is wrong from people that should know.

tl;dr It’s not about the bits. It’s about the jitter and analog noise that gets mixed in with the bits.

Bob Stuart, Meridian Audio"Of course digital bits-are-bits and with due care, each of the three interfaces (USB, Toslink, coaxial) can deliver the same data at approximately the same time. But the audio we hear is analog and real-world devices are subject to a variety of interferences including data-induced jitter, other process-induced jitter, (and) common- and differential-mode electromagnetic noise. In the ideal world, the data are clocked in by and buffered in the DAC (asynchronous mode) and then de-jittered before conversion. In my experience this can never be perfect, just made closer and closer to irrelevance."

Gordon Rankin (introduced the digital audio world to asynchronous USB transfer)when I transfer a file over USB to an external hard drive it doesn’t make transfer errors – the file at the destination is the same as the source – so why should sending digital audio over USB be any different?

I was advised at World Wide Stereo that it would improve sound so I did run an ethernet cable from my modem to the back of my receiver. It may have improved the sound a little bit. My system is fairly modest (a Yamaha N803 receiver). It may eliminate the signal cutting out also. My run was fairly long so it was a bit of a chore but I'm glad I did it.   
I've found wifi is the way to go for me. I posted the below on another thread the other day.

Update - I blew my knee out because of an ice storm two weeks after I posted here. As such, I’ve had plenty of time to listen and A/B. The A/B testing was three identical songs in the same format via:
1. Internal HD of my Aurender.
2. Streamed via Tidal (non MQA) via ethernet Cat 7
3. Streamed via Tidal (non MQA) via wireless

My assumption at the beginning was direct from Aurender would be best, followed by hardwired Cat 7 with wireless pulling up the rear. Well, long story short I was wrong. Wireless won every time. Not by a huge margin but enough to consistently be picked as "best" seeming to give faster attack and fuller bloom. This was repeated several times on different days and with friends who’s ears I trust. 

With only a .5 meter run of ethernet cable at this point, I’m not sure additional items in the chain such as a Eno would be helpful. Maybe a better shielded ethernet cord?

Disclaimer: I live on top of a mtn in the middle of nowhere so very little to interfere however the ATT tower is a stones throw so the wireless signal is as close as possible. So your mileage may very dramatically if you’re a city dweller.
I use wired because its convenient and there's less drop outs on the signal.  It seemed my Bluesound Node 2i would drop from the network once a month and then after restarting the unit it would reset itself.

I use wired for my AppleTV because it seems to perform better wirelessly.  
Spent a month doing A/B between Ethernet-wired Lumin  and Cambridge on WiFi into same DAC. The Lumin offered far superior clarity, resolution, depth, and presence. Now, how much of this difference can be attributed to Ethernet vs WiFi as opposed to inherent streamer design, I may never know. But there must be a reason why top mfrs like Lumin and Aurender design streamers with Ethernet connection ONLY, and my suspicion is that listeners can hear that reason pretty distinctly.
The key is to reduce noise whether using wifi or hard wire. When I run a long ethernet cable the sound was sometime worse than wifi. Now I used a .5 meter ethernet with a node plus a lan filter. This setup produces the best SQ for me. Also the different ethernet cables made less difference when the filter is added. 
True statements regarding WiFi hardware. Yeah, it is a good idea to hardwire your high-speed ISP router to the streaming device, then hardware the streaming device to your amplifier(s).
Ah...okay.  Got it.  Thanks for the explanation.  
By the way, I agree- cables do matter  and often to a surprising degree.
I use WiFi for practical reasons (cannot run cable across the room).  It might be even a better way of delivery since anything physically connected injects some electrical noise.  We can argue that WiFi introduces electrical noise itself, but it is already there.  Even if you stop using WiFi for anything your neighbors do.  I scan networks from time to time and many neighboring houses have stronger signal than mine (not to mention cell phones).   The main problem is 2.4GHz band that has only three non-overlapping channels.  I had constant problems with it (gaps), but switching to 5GHz fixed it - more available channels and less interference.  5GHz is still not as popular as 2.4GHz while propagation thru obstacles, like walls, is poor - suppressing interference from outside.
You should be able to try both ways. With the same sound quality Ethernet is the preferred one (solid - no drops), but WiFi is OK too, as long as it is operating at 5GHz (2.4GHz is not acceptable IMHO).
I prefer an ethernet connection. I use powerline ethernet adapters to negate the need for long ethernet cable runs.  Works flawlessly. 
Funny, you said you thought it wouldn’t matter on a inexpensive  streamer and my reaction is it would matter most on a inexpensive streamer. My reason is that a high quality streamer has all sorts of buffering and retiming built in and works at making up for incoming deficiencies. 

Ethernet over Power line devices can put a lot of noise into your mains (be especially wary if you are on the same ring main as your system).

That being said I still prefered that and Ethernet cabling over WiFi in my system. Then one of my power line adapters blew and I ran 10m of Ethernet back to my modem and took the powerlines out. This was best of all for me.

Wifi is a good solution if you have no neighbours competing for your channels and a strong internal network. In all other instances ethernet or fibre are preferable. Nevertheless great care needs to be taken to suppress RFI/EMI when using ethernet and on fibre the conversion quality at either end is crucial.
I have a Naim Muso Qb which is all-in-one. It runs 96khz in wireless and 192 wired. So wired matters.  
+ on the Mesh suggestions. I been dealing with this for years as modem on one end of tri level and my main unit on the other with many drywall between. First just a modem/router, then dedicated router then extender finally to Mesh. The first mesh node hard wired to modem and in a position to have line of site to the 2nd node down the hall and all the way to other end of house. 3rd node next to main unit and in line of site of 2nd node. Streamer hard wired to 3rd node. Sounds great and is reliable. The only thing I might do if I want to burn more cash is convert it to optical at the main unit but right now Qobuz rivals CD and my vinyl setup. I is a happy camper.
z32kerber: Why guess? If your streamer supports it, see if packets are being dropped or retried on the WiFi interface, and then plan your strategy based on the data. (for example, if your router is running Linux under the hood, you may need to log in via ssh.)

If necessary, try to improve the performance of your WiFi setup before investing in a  mesh router or running Ethernet cable. The simplest first step is to download a phone or PC app such as "WiFi Analyzer" and use it to find a channel with a low access point count.

Also, make sure your WiFi router is correctly configured. For example, mine had a "smart" feature that was supposed to automatically direct devices to 2.4 or 5 GHz. I turned it off; it wasn't that smart, and would switch bands fairly randomly, causing my streamer to disconnect.

As far as jitter, etc. over WiFi, suffice it to say that people download software (including O/S updates), back up laptops to NAS, edit documents on network storage, etc. via WiFi all the time.

I have no problem reliably streaming Hi-Res Qobuz via WiFi.

My streamer is a MacBook Pro and when I moved from WiFi to either network gigabyte the difference in quobuz was one of the most noticeable upgrades i ever made to date. Two biggest notables are bass and soundstage. It makes sense as WiFi has limitations on the speed and amount of data that you don’t get with a hardwired delivery. My next upgrade on this same line is bringing in fiber through the small green computer solution. I still love vinyl and will not turn this into one of those arguments. Bottom line I love music from any source I can and like some more than others but it is about the music in the end!
Qobuz streaming sounded as good as some good CDs.
I find that Qobuz Hi-Res sounds much better than CDs.