ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is why your wired internet connection is slower than your wireless one.
- The reasons why your wired internet connection is slower
- How to fix that your wired internet connection is slower
So if you want to know why your Ethernet connection than your Wi-Fi one, then this article is for you.
Let’s get right into it!
Why Is Your Wired Internet Connection Slower Than Your Wireless One?
An Ethernet connection is supposed to give you faster, more reliable internet than Wi-Fi.
After all, you’re plugging your computer directly into the internet source such as your router or switch!
So it can be incredibly frustrating when your Wi-Fi is somehow moving faster than your Ethernet connection.
If you’re asking, “Why is my wired internet connection slower than my wireless?” you’ve come to the right place.
Below are explained all the possible reasons your wired internet is slower than your Wi-Fi.
Then, let’s talk about how to speed things up so you can get back to enjoying the internet.
Let’s get started!
Why Is My Wired Internet So Slow?
Waiting for pictures, songs, or movies to download is always a drag. It’s worse when you know you should be experiencing fast internet thanks to an Ethernet connection.
In troubleshooting this particular problem, it might help to start with the basics.
Let’s briefly go over why a Wi-Fi connection is typically slower than a wired connection.
Then we can talk about what’s causing your internet to slow down:
Why Is Wi-Fi Slower Than Cable?
Wi-Fi allows you to work wirelessly.
You can move around your home or work without ever losing internet access.
However, what it gives you in convenience, you lose in performance.
All sorts of things can interfere with Wi-Fi, from microwaves to metal supports in your walls.
Too many connected devices can also become a problem.
So, as a rule, an Ethernet connection is a faster and more reliable way to connect to the internet. Except, of course, when it isn’t.
Reasons for Slow Wired Connections
So, if you’re wondering, “why is my landline slower than my WiFi?” or “why is my WiFi speed slower than my wired speed?” you’re right to ask. These are valid questions. Unfortunately, they don’t have the most straightforward answers.
There are several reasons you could be experiencing a slower connection via Ethernet than you were with Wi-Fi.
In general, though, slow Ethernet connections are usually due to a hardware issue, a settings issue, or an issue with your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
When you notice your wired internet is slow, instinct will probably push you to inspect your equipment.
After all, if Wi-Fi speeds are acceptable, you know the internet isn’t to blame. So surely, it’s a hardware issue at play, right?
And even if it isn’t, starting with potential hardware problems isn’t a bad place to begin. That said, if none of these solutions help, know that your slow-wired internet could have to do with a virus, firewall, or recent system update. That is covered in detail a little later.
If you have 600 Mbps download speeds on your smartphone or other WiFi-connected device but are only getting, say, 95 Mbps when you run a speed test on your wired device, it could be that the cable wire is the issue.
Very old and very long cables are sometimes limited to 100 Mbps. If you purchased your equipment in the last several years, though, that’s probably not the case. Those cables phased out somewhere around 2001.
It’s more likely that the issue, if it’s hardware-based, is somewhere else.
If you have a slow wired connection through a router, the router could be slowing things down.
Make sure your router is updated, or invest in a new one altogether if it’s more than a few years old.
It also should be mentioned, before you go out and purchase a new router, it is worth trying a different port.
Switching the port your Ethernet cable is connected to may help with performance. It’s unlikely, but it’s free and easy, so it’s worth a try!
Network Interface Card and Driver
It could also be your network card.
A NIC (Network Interface Card) is the piece of your computer that allows you to connect to the internet.
They need to be updated every so often, but sometimes simply disabling and re-enabling it through your computer’s settings will improve your internet performance.
Along the same line, it could be your NIC driver.
Your computer and your NIC don’t speak the same language.
The NIC driver provides translation between the two. It’s technical software, but it’s included it here because it goes along with the network interface card.
A driver update or replacement may be the solution to your Ethernet speed issues.
You can usually do that fairly easily. There are articles and videos from both Mac and Microsoft that will show you how.
Program or Update Issues
When Microsoft released its Windows 10 update, many users began to complain about slower internet speeds, even with wired connections.
A slow Ethernet connection with Windows 10 may be due to a large send offload feature.
Large Send Offload
Large send offload is a feature on many modern Ethernet adaptors. They allow the TCP/IP network stack to form a larger TCP message before sending it to the Ethernet adaptor.
If that sounded like gibberish to you, don’t worry. All it means is that the large send offload feature should free up processing space on your computer and improve performance. But sometimes it doesn’t.
Your Ethernet switches may not support sending such large amounts of information. They may have a maximum transmission unit smaller than what the large send offload feature is trying to send. When that happens, it may drop frames.
In layman’s terms, that means performance issues for your computer that could be slowing things down, including your internet connection.
Viruses and Firewalls
If your Ethernet is slower than Wi-Fi using Windows, it could also be a virus or firewall issue.
Of course, that could be the same if you’re experiencing Ethernet that’s slower than Wi-Fi with a Mac.
Viruses or malware sometimes modify your internet settings by adding a proxy server.
Proxy servers act as a gateway to the internet and could keep you from connecting at all.
Assuming you can connect, albeit slowly, a virus could be causing your computer to run background programs you know nothing about. That could slow everything down!
Firewalls, meant to prevent viruses and other security risks, could also be the cause of your slow internet.
Firewalls keep you safe, but they also slow down data transmission.
A low-end firewall could easily cause internet speeds to slow way down!
A slow Ethernet connection with Windows could also be due to Windows auto-tuning feature.
Auto-tuning should improve performance, just like the large send offload feature.
However, if you’re connected to an old router or have certain firewalls enabled, it can slow performance down.
How to Speed Up Ethernet Connections
If you’re asking, “why is my WiFi speed slower than my wired speed?” you’re probably not too happy with your current Ethernet connection.
So, let’s break down a step-by-step approach to speeding up your wired internet connection.
Ensure You Have Updated Hardware and Software
You should first check your hardware.
Make sure that your cable is less than two decades old and that your router (if you’re using one) has all its necessary updates.
You may want to check your NIC and NIC drivers as well.
Most computers have diagnostic tools you can run to figure out connection issues. They’ll typically check your drivers for you and alert you to any updates that you need to make.
So, step one is to check your cables, check your router, and then run your computer’s diagnostic software to scan your NIC and NIC drivers.
Check for Viruses
Viruses can mess with settings behind your back. If they start changing your network settings, you could end up with connection problems.
So, running an antivirus software program is a good idea. However, sometimes antivirus programs and firewalls get in the way of recent updates to your computer.
If you recently updated to Windows 10, you may want to disable your antivirus program to see if it helps your internet speed.
Really, you could try this step even if you haven’t recently updated your computer. Low-end firewalls or cheaper antivirus software could easily be the cause of your slow internet speeds, but the Windows 10 update, especially, has several reported problems with antivirus software.
Finally, you’ll want to disable features that aren’t compatible with your devices.
Large send offload, for example, doesn’t work well with older routers. You can disable it in your network connection settings.
And while VPNs are all the rage for secure and private online browsing, you may want to disable yours if speed is a concern.
VPNs, or virtual private networks, can significantly slow down your internet speeds.
The same goes for the Windows auto-tuning feature. It’s great if you have all new equipment, but with older computers or routers, it may cause issues.
To limit VPN slowdowns without disabling your privacy features, you could switch which VPN you choose to use.
The farther a VPN’s servers are from you, the slower your internet will run.
So, if you live in the US and are using a VPN with Australian servers, you’re more likely to run into problems.
Try using a VPN with local servers and see if it helps solve things.