Wireless vs. Ethernet for Streaming

We live out in the country and we have just recently been able to upgrade our wireless service to something approaching "civilized."  (Our speed tests range from 70-300 Mbps, from a TMobile cell tower via the ether.) Our house is rather long and spread out, so I installed a Google Nest mesh network, and we now have a strong wifi signal, even in the far corners of the house.

I want to start streaming high resolution music from Qobuzz.  I have measured the latency of my wifi signal and it's strong--latency runs between 6 and 12 ms at my stereo.  But everything I read online says that streaming requires an ethernet connection.  Unfortunately ethernet is problematic here, simply because it would require a run of 140' from my main router. (The mesh nodes do not have an ethernet port.)

My current digital setup consists of a Bryston BDP-2 that feeds digits to a Bryston BDA-2 D/A converter.  I have ripped all of my cds onto a hard drive that is connected to the BDP-2 via a USB port.  I control the BDP-2 with my laptop via a Bryston wifi USB dongle.

If I can indeed use wifi to harvest digits from the ether I am tempted to purchase Bryston's new(ish) BR-20 preamp/DAC/digital source combo.  They recommend ethernet for streaming but offer several accessory USB ports.

What is your experience/opinion regarding wifi vs. ethernet?  How would a long run of ethernet compare to our wifi setup? Is it even realistic to expect to play high resolution music over wifi?

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Assuming your network stack is properly configured and the implementation of both wired and wireless is within spec and competent (that means competent digital noise control, etc.) in the streamer, both should sound the same.

Just remember, all network packets should be checked for error and any packet with errors will be resent by the server. This is the checksum protocol - both the sender and the streamer perform a computation on the data using the same formula and both must get the same answer. Any error is known as a checksum error and the packet is resent.

Hope this helps.

I’ve been using WiFi in my HeadFi rig through my iDevices using Qobuz and was happy until I brought my CD transport up from my big rig to spin some discs not available for streaming.  I was very disappointed to hear the CD transport sounded better than streaming through WiFi, and the feedback I got was that going wired to a decent streamer will close the gap, so that’s my next move.  So, in my situation I found WiFi to be compromised.  Hope this helps and best of luck. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with good dependable WIFI wrt to streaming. As long as the bits get there fast enough, it doesn’t matter. Good dependable WIFI can be more than fast enough to handle streaming 4K video.

Due to the logistics of my home, my only option for my streamer is WIFI. I use a relatively inexpensive TP-Link WIFI extender connecting over my 5G network. It has a wired ethernet port for my streamer. I get a dependable 150Mbps with this connection, which is plenty to feed my Hi-res Tidal/Qoboz audio needs, AND a 4K television AND my computers with video conferencing (sometimes simultaneously). There are likely lots of folks reading this who don't get 150Mbps with their wired connections.

A poor WIFI connection for whatever reason (poor coverage, contention from neighbors, etc.) would obviously be another story.