7 Reasons why Ethernet is Slower than WiFi and How to Fix it

If you want a reliable, stable and stronger internet connection, ethernet will be the best choice. Most developers, gamers and others prefer this wired connection for its higher stability. However, things become different when ethernet gets slower than WiFi.

Commercially launched in 1980, ethernet connects devices to a local area network (LAN) through a cable. It’s widely used in homes, hospitals and corporate offices and interworks well with wireless technologies.

But are you having slow internet? In some cases, instead of providing faster connections, ethernet slows down. When this happens, find out the reasons behind it and try some troubleshooting tips.

Ethernet vs. WiFi- Which Connection to Use?

WiFi uses radio waves to connect to the internet wirelessly. While ethernet connection is more physical, WiFi allows a wider area of connectivity with easy access.

Though both ethernet and WiFi come with advantages and disadvantages based on different factors.

Data Transmission Rate and Speed

Ethernet data transmission rates have been increased from the original 2.94 Mbps to the latest 400 Gbps. A standard ethernet network can transmit data up to 10 Mbps.

On the other hand, the latest WiFi 6 (802.11ax) generation has a maximum data speed of 600-9608 Mbps.

Latency

Latency is the time delay during the data transfer from one source to another. So, the lower the latency, the better the internet speed.

Ethernet works faster than WiFi because it has a lower latency along with stable speed. For streaming online or uploading large files, the faster speed of ethernet gives better experiences.

Reliability

WiFi connectivity is susceptible to many interferences from electrical devices or physical stuff like walls or buildings that block signals. But an ethernet cable is insulated from physical interferences or crosstalks. So, ethernet can maintain consistency in data speed and, eventually, is more reliable than WiFi.

Security

The next vital factor is security. Ethernet is undoubtedly more secure than WiFi. You can only access data over an ethernet network by connecting a device physically to the internet.

Whereas data on WiFi travels through the air. When you transfer sensitive information especially using public WiFi, ensure there’s a highly secure encryption method. WPA2-PSK is a more secure method than WEP.

Accessibility

WiFi is more convenient and easy to access with a quick installation process. Then, simply enter the WiFi password, connect your phone or device to WiFi and move freely within the signal range.

Meanwhile, ethernet installation takes more time and you need to stick to the desk or workstation while using this wired connection.

Why is Ethernet Slower Than WiFi?

1. Cable Length

A common reason behind your ethernet slower than WiFi is the length of the cable. A longer cable increases the latency and slows down the internet speed.

A standard ethernet cable length must be 328 feet or 100 meters. This same length is applicable for all types of ethernet cable categories like Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a.

2. Faulty Cable

Wear and tear in the cable often break down the internal wire connection and cause a slower ethernet connectivity issue. Similarly, the wrong type of cable connected to the computer also leads to slow internet. Cat5e is the standard choice of ethernet cable for interruption-free connection.

3. Damage Port

Ethernet speed can get slower due to a rusty or damaged port. If you’re using the same port to plug the cable into the router or modem, it may get damaged.

4. Interference

Slow internet speed can be occurred by interferences. For example, external sources like high-volume speakers, motors, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens etc., create electrical or magnetic interferences. So, move away cables for at least 10 feet from these noise sources.

5. No Power Connection

When the devices have no power connection, you can’t access the internet.

6. Infected Computer

If cable and port are working fine but you’re still experiencing slow internet activity, your computer can be the main problem. When the system gets infected by viruses, malware or spyware, they hack all your information and slows down the data speed.

7. ISP Blocking

Your ethernet connection can get slower than WiFi when there is ISP blocking. Basically, an ISP limits the amount of bandwidth you can use. Hence, when you reach the data limit, the internet speed automatically drops down.

How to Fix A Slower Ethernet Connection?

To fix a slower ethernet connection, here are the five proven troubleshooting solutions.

Solution 1: Perform a Speed Test

Speed test is a solution to fix the ethernet slower than WiFi issue. There are several websites that can help you to test speed. Then, disconnect the internet, close all tabs on the PC, close and relaunch the browser to check if the problem has been resolved.

If still, you’re not getting the speed, restart the PC as well as the router and do the speed test again.

Solution 2: Check for Right Connection

  • Make sure you’ve used the recommended ethernet cable and connected it properly.
  • Check if the port and cable are in good condition. If not, you can switch to a different port or use another cable to fix the ethernet is slower than WiFi issue.
  • Register your computer on the wired network.

Solution 3: Test on a Different Device

To troubleshoot slow ethernet, check if your computer’s hardware and software are working fine. In that case, try testing the internet connection on a different device.

You can use another desktop or laptop to connect the ethernet cable and run a test. You’ll then know whether the previous system was faulty or the ethernet connection itself.

Solution 4: Update Drivers

If still, your ethernet is slower than the WiFi speed, the problem can be the drivers for your network adapter card. Update the drives so that they can function properly. But if not, you need to remove and replace them.

To update drivers, visit the manufacturer’s website, find the driver or drivers you require and check their instructions on updating process. It won’t take a long time, so you can easily figure out if it solves your problem.

Solution 5: Check Router

The final way to fix LAN slower than WiFi is to make sure ethernet router ports are in good condition. Sometimes, there can be physical damages to the port that makes a poor connection.

Similarly, the cord also might get twisted or bent. To check if the ethernet router port and cord are working fine, connect the cord and ensure the light is solid green. If not, there is some issue with the port. Hence, change the port to increase ethernet speed than WiFi.

Hopefully, these basic solutions can quickly solve your slower ethernet issue. Though WiFi is easy to access and covers wider areas, ethernet is still the best way to browse the internet faster and securely.

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