Is Windows’ Ethernet Connection Loading Slower Than Wi-Fi? Here’s the Solution

The advantages of Ethernet over Wi-Fi are commonly cited, but what if the opposite were true on Windows?

For the sake of speed, a wired Ethernet connection is recommended over a wireless Wi-Fi one. Ethernet provides a more stable connection due to its shorter latency, higher data transmission rate, and reduced interference from neighbouring objects. However, the speeds aren’t always as fast as those of a wireless connection.

This post will discuss the possible causes and solutions for your Ethernet connection being less speedy than your wireless network.

When compared to Wi-Fi speeds, why is an Ethernet connection slower, and what can be done about it?

Do you find that your Ethernet connection lags behind that of your Wi-Fi? Something is off here since it contradicts common sense. The following factors may contribute to your Ethernet’s sluggish speed:

There is a problem with the Ethernet cable you are using.
Data transport rates are slower through Ethernet cable because of its lower category.
There seems to be an issue with the Ethernet ports where you are attempting to plug in the cable.
Your device’s drivers are out of date.
You’re all set up with a VPN on your smartphone.
The firmware on your router is out of date.
The network preferences are incorrect.
Malware has been successfully installed on your device.
The hardware of your router is malfunctioning.

How each of these factors slows down your Ethernet connection and what you can do about it will be discussed below.

Taking the Time to Do Some Basic Checks
Before diving into serious troubleshooting, make sure you verify the following:

To verify that Ethernet is sluggish, test the speed of both wired and wireless connections to the internet and compare the results. Do not speculate.
You need to reconnect the PC and router using the Ethernet cable again.
If you suspect that a temporary hiccup is causing your connection to slow, try restarting your router and device.
Disconnect from your VPN immediately.

If you’re concerned that your internet service provider is slowing down your Ethernet connection, you might ask around among your neighbours to see if they use the same ISP. If other people are also having this issue, it may be time to look for a new ISP.

Use another laptop with the same Ethernet cable and see whether it works. If it is still noticeably slower than Wi-Fi on other devices, the issue is likely at the cable or router level rather than the operating system.

If those first attempts don’t work, try these alternatives.

  1. Examine Your Ethernet Cable for Breaks
    If an Ethernet cable is broken or damaged, the speed it provides will suffer dramatically. So, before doing anything else, check the Ethernet cable thoroughly from end to end to determine if it has been damaged in any way (such as by being flattened by furniture, being bitten by your pet, or being stretched too far).

If the Ethernet cable shows symptoms of damage in the cable’s centre, it is likely that this is the cause of the delayed connection. So, it sounds like you just need a new cable to fix the problem.

  1. Verify the Type of Ethernet Cable
    Do you happen to be utilising an Ethernet cable that was manufactured in the 1990s? If so, look in the category of cables. Category 4 devices have a maximum data transfer rate of 16 Mbps. No matter how fast your wireless network is, this is the fastest speed a cable of this type can support.

Therefore, you can anticipate a more robust wireless connection if your Wi-Fi connection is quicker than what an Ethernet cable can support. The speed can be improved by upgrading to a higher category cable.

  1. Verify There Are No Problems With the Connecting Jacks
    Even a perfectly good Ethernet cable won’t function as well as it should if the ports it’s plugged into are broken. If you plug the Ethernet wire into various LAN ports on your gadget and router, you should be able to verify this.

If using this switch results in a noticeable speed boost, one or both ports are broken. As a result, you should stop making use of them immediately. If the adjustment has no effect, the ports are likely still functional, and you can continue on to the next solution.

  1. Modify Your Network’s Drivers
    Outdated drivers might sometimes cause a sluggish internet connection. Driver updates are typically performed automatically by Windows, however this is not always the case. The process of updating network drivers is as follows:

Select Device Manager by right-clicking the Start button.
Boost the size of the Network adapters subcategory.
To update the driver for the Ethernet adapter, right-click on it and select the option.
Windows 11’s Network Adapter Drivers Can Be Upgraded Or Removed Using This Utility
You can also obtain drivers for your router directly from your Internet service provider or manufacturer’s website. Skip this step if updating or installing new drivers has made no effect.

  1. Firmware Update of Router
    Updating the router’s firmware is just as important as updating the network drivers for optimal signal delivery. You should therefore upgrade the firmware of your router if your Ethernet is still underperforming.

While the specifics of upgrading your router’s firmware may vary by brand, you should expect to follow a generally consistent process. You can begin by following our instructions for updating the router’s firmware. If your router’s firmware interface seems confusing, look it up on the manufacturer’s website.

  1. Reboot Your System
    Although a network reset may solve persistent connectivity issues, it is not advised because it returns all networking components to their factory defaults and wipes out all user-initiated changes.

If your Ethernet is still sluggish, though, you may need to resort to this less ideal workaround. Learn from our how-to manual how to reset network settings in Windows.

  1. Stop the Radiation of Electromagnetic Radiation
    Electromagnetic fields, which can be present anywhere, are harmful to any type of network connection, including an Ethernet one. Network signal degradation can occur if your Ethernet cable is routed near a large electric motor.

If your Ethernet connection is being hampered by nearby appliances, move them further away. If that doesn’t work, the issue is probably with the hardware.

  1. Verify the Hardware for Defects
    Image Credit: Aquarius Studio/Shutterstock Wi-Fi Router Setup on a Table with an Ethernet Cable Plugged In
    If none of these solutions have worked, the problem may be due to faulty hardware. If your Ethernet connection is slower than it may be, the problem could lie with your router, your network interface card (NIC), or your network’s configuration.

If you want to rule out hardware problems as a cause, you should take your router and device to a local PC repair shop for an inspection. Unless a technician has found and corrected a hardware issue, you should contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to have this bothersome situation fixed.

Your Ethernet Connection Should Not Vary From the Typical

One of the most annoying things that may happen is for an Ethernet connection to be less reliable than a Wi-Fi one. Our essay should be useful in determining the root cause of your Ethernet’s glacial speed. The discussed improvements will also help you hasten the process. If nothing else seems to be working, contact your Internet service provider.

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