How Much Do LAN Adapters Improve Nintendo Online?


It’s no secret that the quality of Nintendo’s online play has been criticized for years. There is noticeable lag across all titles and even the online modes themselves aren’t always optimized for a great user experience.

What’s worse, you can’t directly connect an ethernet cable to most Nintendo consoles, including the Wii, Wii U and Switch. This means that most people who play Nintendo games online will be using a wireless connection, which can lead to serious quality issues.

Thankfully, there is an adapter that connects the console directly to the router, and it can be purchased at a relatively cheap price. It improves online play to such a degree that some Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments require all players to have an adapter to enter those events.

What Is A LAN Adapter?

A LAN (local area network) adapter is an adapter that improves the stability of online play by allowing players to directly connect their Nintendo consoles with their internet routers. This is done by connecting the adapter to the Switch, Wii or Wii U via one of the USB ports on these consoles. The adapter will then have an ethernet port, which can be connected to a router with a standard ethernet cable.

How Does A LAN Adapter Help With Nintendo Online?

When working with a wireless connection, there is always a risk of packet loss and unexpected traffic messing with the console’s connection to the internet; if another device is using the internet, this will be felt more with a wireless connection, as it will cause the game’s connection to stagger or flat-out drop.

A LAN adapter is all about stability; it ensures that the connection from the console to the internet source is as clean as possible, with minimal stuttering. Barring anything catastrophic happening to the router, the connection should remain stable with a LAN adapter, maximizing your internet speed to full potential.

How Much Does A LAN Adapter Improve Nintendo Switch Online?

Nowadays, most people using a LAN adapter will be using it for the Nintendo Switch. It’s important to note that the LAN adapter does not improve the actual quality of the internet. If your internet plan does not have sufficient strength for online games, a LAN adapter won’t fix it.

What a LAN adapter does is provide consistency to the connection between the console and the internet. Rather than the strength of the connection wavering due to wireless connections, a LAN adapter will maximize its efficiency. So if your internet is good enough to play games online, the adapter will make sure it runs as good as possible.

Nintendo games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Splatoon 2, and more will have natural input delay that won’t be fixed with an adapter. It’s also worth noting that games operating on a peer-to-peer connection system will require both players to have a LAN adapter; if someone is in a game with an awful wireless connection, you’ll still feel those effects even if you have an adapter yourself.

How Much Do LAN Adapters Cost?

Nintendo offers an official LAN adapter made by HORI that will do the trick. However, this one tends to be on the pricier side of things, and there have been many adapters dating back to the Wii and Wii U eras that will be more than capable of performing what the HORI adapter does. These adapters can also be more than half the price of the official Switch adapter, so be sure to peruse and find one that will perform well but not break the bank.

If you’re serious about playing Switch games online, it’s necessary to get a LAN adapter; it won’t fix everything or make it perfect, but it will make your Nintendo online experience as good as can be.