Why Is My Ethernet Light Blinking Orange/Green?

This is why your Ethernet light is blinking orange (yellow, red) or green.

You’ll learn:

  • Why your Ethernet light is blinking orange or is blinking green
  • Whether you need to fix it
  • Lots more

So if you want to know what your Ethernet lights are trying to tell you, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

No Ethernet Port Is Like the Other

Ethernet was originally developed to provide techies with an easy way to connect all their devices to one network, specifically on a local scale.

Almost everyone now uses a router or switch at some point. Whether at home, at the coffee shop, or your workplace or university.

Here’s a chart that shows the switch and router markets worldwide ($44.6 billion in 2019!):

Worldwide Revenue of the Ethernet Switch and Router Markets From 2016 to 2020

Although Ethernet runs at much faster speeds than Wi-Fi (40 Gbps vs. 9.6 Gbps), Wi-Fi has taken center stage since Xerox PARC developed this hardware in 1973.

Because of how many fewer techies use Ethernet versus Wi-Fi, in addition to a lack of standardization for LED lights between manufacturers, it’s tough to find answers for an Ethernet light blinking orange (yellow/red) or green.

Fortunately, this in-depth overview will let you know what is going on:

What to Know If Your Ethernet Port Light Is Blinking Orange or Green

Blinking lights on Ethernet ports are not just annoying, but they’re also pretty confusing.

People tend to get mixed up when trying to identify the issues with this tech because there is no one standard that ethernet cable manufacturers have to adhere to. 

This means that if the maker of your Ethernet LAN port wanted the lights to blink pink, then you’ll be stuck googling why is my Ethernet orange light on? until you run into someone who happens to have the same model and problem as you. 

You may not want to read this, but here we go:

An Ethernet light blinking orange or green can mean different things (Yes, the dreaded it depends answer!).

Thanks to the lack of manufacturing standardization, the exact meaning that the light tries to communicates to you depends on your device’s make and model.

Let’s dive right in:

What Does a Blinking Light Mean on Your Ethernet Port?

First of all, a blinking light on your Ethernet port is good news. No matter if it’s on your Ethernet card, router, switch, or any other device.

If you’ve got an Ethernet cable plugged in and your device is connected to another active device, then no light would be the problem. That would mean that there is no network connection.

A blinking light on your Ethernet port means something valid is going on, whatever color it is like:

  • Green LED
  • Orange LED
  • Red LED
  • Yellow LED

You don’t want that light off if you’ve plugged a device into your Ethernet port. You need either a blinking orange light or a blinking green light. Or a steady light (more on that below).

There isn’t a standard for how the lights should behave on an Ethernet port. Or how many lights are there.

However, there are usually two lights on an Ethernet port. The two lights mostly have two different colors:

  • Green
  • Orange (red, yellow)

Typically, one light is a steady light, and the other is a blinking light

Ethernet port with orange light and green light.

Whether it’s blinking or steady makes all the difference. Because both lights can be orange or green depending on the manufacturer. But only one is steady, and only one blinks.

A steady Ethernet light usually means that the device is connected to a valid device on the other end.

A blinking Ethernet light usually means activity. Data gets sent to or from the device.

Here’s what each light can mean in detail:

What Does a Steady Green or a Steady Orange Light Mean on an Ethernet Port?

The steady green or orange light on your Ethernet port usually means that an Ethernet cable is plugged in and connected to an active device on the other end.

However, older devices just have a steady orange light to indicate link speed: 

  • When the orange light is off, the connection speed is 10 Mbps.
  • When the orange light is on, the connection speed is 100 Mbps. 

Newer devices have three different speeds:

  • 10 Mbps
  • 100 Mbps
  • 1000 Mbps

Since there are no standards, each manufacturer has its own rules. For example, IBM:

  • Steady orange light: 1000 Mbps.
  • Steady green light: 100 Mbps.
  • No steady light: 10 Mbps.

The speed is determined when you connect, and it stays fixed once connected:

What Does a Blinking Orange or a Blinking Green Light Mean on an Ethernet Port?

The blinking green or orange light on your Ethernet port usually means activity. Receiving or sending data to the device on the other end of the Ethernet cable.

Again, there is no standard for the blinking light’s color: different manufacturer, different rules.

By the way, the Ethernet service edge router is second on the router and switch market in the US:

Router and Switch Market in the United States From 2012 to 2022, by Product

For example, IBM and Netgear treat it like this: a blinking green light simply indicates activity.

However, the light might be orange, yellow, or red and still means that your Ethernet port is just doing what it’s supposed to do: sending and receiving data.

Ethernet Lights and Their Meanings

So your Ethernet port usually has two lights:

  • One light that tells you your connection speed. 
  • One light that shows your Ethernet port is busy sending or receiving data.

The light that tells your connection speed is either on or off, steady, and typically green or orange. You can have an active connection when it’s off, but probably at a low speed.

Researcher in supercomputer center in front of blinking ethernet lights.

The light that shows your activity is blinking and typically green or orange. If you don’t have this blinking light, then something might be wrong.

IBM goes with two lights for their Ethernet ports:

  • One light left: That’s the connection speed light. It can have three states: off, orange, or green. Off means either no connection (then the right light would be off too) or a 10 Mbps connection. Orange means 100 Mbps. Green means 1000 Mbps.
  • One light right: That’s the acitivity light. It’s green and if it blinks then your Ethernet is sending or receiving data.

Netgear’s Ethernet ports have two light too, but Netgear uses them differently:

  • One light left: That shows the connection speed and the activity. It has only the color green. If it blinks, it means the connection speed is 100 Mbps, and the Ethernet port is sending and receiving data.
  • One light right: That shows the connection speed and the activity as well. It has only the color green. If it blinks, it means the connection speed is 10 Mbps, and the Ethernet port is sending and receiving data.

On cheap Ethernet ports, there is usually one green light per port. It blinks when data is sent or received.

So there is no speed indicator light. Although, sometimes it’s just one steady light that shows the connection speed.

Ethernet Port TP Link

There are even devices that don’t have any lights on their Ethernet ports.

The ethernet port on an advanced device can have different meanings based on configuration or user action. Again there is no standard.

In general, when your Ethernet port has a light, there should be at least one blinking or one steady light when connected. If the light isn’t steady or blinking, you’re not connected or the light is broken.

If the blinking Ethernet light bothers you, stick a sticker on it or paint over it with a marker. Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn it off.