When I get fed up of a slow WiFi connection my immediate reaction is to connect the cord directly to my device and use the internet via Ethernet instead. Plot twist? Sometimes I then have to deal with Ethernet slower than WiFi and that has to be one of the most annoying things that can happen to anyone.
Technically, Ethernet is supposed to give you a faster, stronger, and more stable connection. That is because instead of “catching the signals from the air” your device would be accepting the network directly through the cable.
However, that is not always the case.
Many users, besides me, have experienced Ethernet connection that is actually slower than WiFi. Luckily, there are ways to fix this problem if you are able to figure out what’s causing it.
7 Reasons Why You Might Be Facing Ethernet Slower Than WiFi
You can’t fix a problem unless you figure out what’s wrong. There are a number of reasons why your wired network is slower than wireless one. Here are a few things that you should look into.
1. Inappropriate Length of the Cable
Experts suggest that wired internet connections should use a standard cable length of 328 feet. This is applicable to all types of cables includes Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a. It is better to use a shorter length to minimize the distance that signals need to travel before reaching your device.
2. Cable in Poor Quality
And old or cheap cable can often lead to connectivity issues. You will face slower internet simply because the cable in use is giving faulty signal delivery. I would suggest using Cat5e cable, at least, for a standard Ethernet connection.
3. Devices Connected Incorrectly
Plugging in the cable with wrong port would most definitely affect internet performance. The devices in LAN connection must be attached to the right port.
4. Interference by External Sources
Although wired connections mean least hindrance by external objects, it can sometimes still be an issue. That is why I had previously recommended using a short cable to minimize the distance between the internet source and your device.
5. Infected Computer Software
A virus can alter network settings without you knowing what has happened. If a virus or spyware attacks your device then slow internet would not be the fault of the Ethernet connection and can not be fixed unless you run an anti-virus software to take care of the real issue.
6. Issues with Internet Service Provider
The internet may be experiencing problems at the back-end. This means you can not fix the speed unless the internet service providers are able to diagnose the issue on their side and fix the conditions. This can even take a couple of days so sit back and be patient!
7. Too Much Burden on Home Network
Lastly, too many devices on the same network can automatically lower the internet speed. The only way to solve this problem is to either subscribe to a larger data package or limit the number of devices that can connect to your network.
What Can You Do When Ethernet Is Acting Slower Than WiFi?
Test Ethernet Speed on a Different Computer
Is the Ethernet connection actually at fault?
This is the first thing you have to diagnose before you can try out other methods for fixing internet speed. After all, you don’t want to waste time solving a problem that does not exist.
The best way to do so is to connect the same Ethernet cable with a different device. WiFi tends to work faster on updated laptops whereas older computers have a slower software that automatically results in slower internet. You would be thinking that your network is acting up when it is actually the device that is unable to deliver the expected speed.
Use Different Port for The Cable
Another simple solution for slow Ethernet connection could be the use of a different port. It is possible for the port in your modem, router, or even the device to be at fault and you just need to plug the wire into a different port instead of wasting time of any other hack or buying some expensive alternative.
Check If the Old Cable Is the Culprit
Since Ethernet is a wired connection, its performance largely depends on the quality of the cable that you use. Sometimes a disappointing Ethernet speed can result from a fault cable that is plugged into your device.
This is yet another possibility that you need to rule out before trying any other alternative. Check if you are using the ideal cable length or if there are no cracks or breakages at any point. You can also borrow a cable from a friend to see if the Ethernet connection improves before you spend money buying a new one.
Re-enable Your Ethernet Card
Issues with Ethernet card are more deep-rooted. They suggest that there is some of hardware malfunction. However, before you begin you worry too much, try disabling and re-enabling the network card to check if that makes any difference.
Most of the times, this simple step is sufficient to restore the performance of the Ethernet connection.
Restarting network card is no rocket science but I understand that this might not be a piece of cake for every type of user. That is nothing to worry about! You can take your device to a technician or call for professional help.
Correct Network Connection Settings
Incorrect network settings can also cause slow Ethernet internet performance. Sometimes a virus can cause network settings to be shifted to non-ideal options. You have to visit the Settings section for your internet and check if everything is set up correctly there.
The problem may not be easy to see for a newbie. That is because most non-tech savvy people are not aware of how the network settings should be. In this case, you can take help from a tutorial online or call professionals to fix it.
Settings that have been changed manually are not a big problem. However, if a virus is behind the incorrect network settings that you have to find more permanent solution. If you leave things be, it is possible for the culprit to mess with your internet once again.
Use Updated Drivers at All Times
If the network adapter card seems to be working fine and the network settings are in place as well then the problem area could be the drivers for your card.
Outdated drives mostly result in poor performance. You can check that you have the updated version by visiting the official website of the manufacturer.
Network adapter card drivers can then easily be updated from the webpage and, typically, that won’t take much of your time. However, some users have reported trouble in the past when performing this task. Alternatively, you can delete the old drivers and re-install new ones to solve the issue.
Diagnose The Real Problem with Tools
Still dealing with Ethernet slower than WiFi?
Then the issue might not be with Ethernet connection at all. So, here is how to diagnose Ethernet Slower Than Wi-Fi problem.
The last way to resolve this matter is by diagnosing with tools that are available on your computer.
Windows computer let you run troubleshooting networks and internet option to see if there is any issue with the network settings that is causing slow internet. You should, however, turn off your security settings to let the function operate smoothly.
Another method is to use online speed checker tools to see if your internet is actually slow at the moment. You can accurately check your Ethernet speed as well as your WiFi performance using this technique.
Wired Vs Wireless Connections – How To Choose The Right One?
Ethernet builds a local area network (LAN) with all the devices communicating via wired network. This means that the area of coverage would be small, eventually depending on the length of the cable.
As science and technology developed, the primarily used coaxial cable system was replaced by twisted pair of cables to enhance signal delivery. Moreover, WiFi largely replaced wired internet connection as it promised better connectivity with radio waves.
Both types of connections carried their own advantages and disadvantages making it difficult for users to pick just one. Typically, most of us now rely on WiFi networking with Ethernet connection as a back up when more speed or stability is required.
Here is a quick comparison of wired internet and wireless networking to help you see the major differences.
Ethernet Connection Provides Better Transfer Speeds
Why did you even consider plugging that cable into your computer’s port? Speed!
Yes, greater data transfer speed is the biggest advantage that Ethernet has over WiFi connections. It is capable of providing up to 400 gigabits per second whereas even the latest versions of WiFi only deliver 600 to 9600 megabits.
Wired Internet Means Lesser External Obstacles
It is obvious that the signals that have to travel to you from all the way across the living room would be disrupted by walls, furniture, electronics, etc. on the way. In contract, Ethernet works faster because it connects directly to your device via cable with minimum external interferences.
WiFi Comes with Various Security Protocols
Security layers are minimal with wired internet since there is no third-party involved. However, WiFi connections do have security protocols such as WEP and WPA2-PSK. The latter is the most reliable and secure method available for protection of WiFi signals and network from hackers, scammers, and malware.
WiFi Devices Have Easy Installation Process
Ethernet connection maybe cumbersome to set up and consequently difficult to access. On the other hand, WiFi routers and other relevant devices come with detailed, handy guides that make it easier to complete the installation process.
Wireless Network Can Mean Higher Latency
You may have heard the terms “latency” with reference to the use of mouse and keyboards. In that case it implies the delay between a click or stroke and the execution of the action.
Latency is also common with internet connections where it means the delay of traffic to the device. Unfortunately, latency is much higher with WiFi connections as compared to wired network.
As you can see, there is no solid winner here!
Ethernet is fast, reliable, and supports services like VoIP as well. It minimizes latency and ensures data travels faster from the sender to the recipient.
In contrast, WiFi is the ultimate solution when we wish to connect devices like smartphone to the internet. It offers unlimited mobility, better security, and typically, lower expenses as well.
Therefore, it is safe to suggest that most convenient option is that of latest modems and routers that come with hardware to support both, wired and wireless internet connection.
Shifting to a wired connection when the Ethernet Slower Than WiFi is a reliable alternative we always have in mind. Therefore, I get how disappointing it would be when Ethernet fails to deliver good performance as well.
Luckily, it is possible to restore the faster and stronger connectivity by using a few troubleshooting methods. You can pick from the hacks that we have discussed above to get your system back in shape.
Do you have any other fix in mind as well? You can share with other readers in the comment section below. Moreover, leave your queries and opinions too. It would immensely help us to improve the content that we bring to you!