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To get and use the internet in your home, you can either go the Wi-Fi route or use an ethernet cable. While an ethernet cable should give you fast speeds and a dedicated connection, some find that the opposite happens. Learn some of the reasons why your ethernet is slower than your Wi-Fi and how to fix it.

AdobeStock_324762623 The network connector is inserted into the laptop

Ethernet Slower Than Wi-Fi: 10 Causes & Fixes

1. Wrong Ethernet Cable

Using the wrong category of ethernet cable is a common reason your connection speed is low. A CAT 3 cable works with speeds of up to 10 Mbps. CAT 5 cables are suitable for speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

You can use CAT 5e cables and those up to a CAT 8.2. If you use the wrong cable in your home, you will not get the speed you want. The cable can never provide a faster connection than the maximum for its category. Changing to a different category is the best way to fix the problem.

2. Short Cable

When you buy a new ethernet cable around your house, you probably look for one that fits in the room where you want to use it. If you just want to run the internet to your laptop, you might go with one that’s around three feet long. The cable you run to your TV on the opposite side of the room might be much longer.

You probably don’t realize that some cables have a range. For example, CAT 7 ethernet cables reach speeds of up to 40,000 Mbps and have a range of more than 100 feet. You should make sure you pick the right cable length and look for one shorter or longer than the one you currently use.

3. Damaged Cable

Using a damaged cable is a big reason you don’t get the fast speed you want. Sometimes, you may even find that you cannot go online at all. To test if the cable works, run it right from your modem to your computer. Go online and perform a speed test.

You just need to click a few buttons to see your current speed. If you cannot run a speed test because your speed is so slow or you get a poor speed, it’s often a sign you need a new ethernet cable. Remember that you may get the same results when a network outage occurs.

4. Bad Port

You use a minimum of two ports when you set up an ethernet connection. One is on your modem and the other is on your device. Before you reach out to your ISP or run a bunch of tests, check the ports that you use.

Look for any signs of damage such as connectors that appear bent or broken as well as dirt and other debris stuck inside the port. If you have multiple ports, you can easily fix the problem. Simply unplug the cable and use one of the other ports. You may need to replace your modem, too.

5. Operating System Failure

Whether you use an iOS or Android OS device, any type of problem or failure can interfere with your internet connection. There are two things you can do to is the problem. Shut down your computer first and restart it.

This allows the computer to reset itself and fix any issues it finds. You can then go online and look for any updates you missed. Download and install each one before you restart your system.

6. Malware

Malware is easy to pick up online. You may not even know that you snagged a file that had malware hidden inside. Whether you download a piece of software from the web, grab a new game, or decide to visit a site that looks a little shady, you can pick up malware.

Not only do you need to worry about viruses, but you also need to think about ransomware, spyware, and adware. All forms of malware can slow down your connection and cause problems to your system. Ensure you run anti-virus software and remove any infected files from your computer.

7. Update Your Modem

Your ISP should provide you with a modem that works with your cable or DSL line. It ensures a solid connection and allows you to set up a router to establish Wi-Fi in your home or run ethernet cables to your PC and other devices.

When your internet speed is slow and you have a good ethernet cable, you may need to update your modem. This usually requires that you go to the website of the company that made it and log in with your account details. You can then search for updates and install them.

8. Dirty or Broken Connectors

Every ethernet cable has connectors on each end with eight contacts. Those contacts sit flush with eight points of contact inside the ethernet port. You will also see a small clip that makes the cable look similar to the old telephone cables used in the past.

This clip secures the cable inside the port and keeps it from slipping out. If the clip is broken, it cannot hold the cable in place, which may result in slower speeds. Dirt or debris can also interfere with the cable’s functions. Buying a new one is the best way to fix a broken or dirty ethernet cable.

9. Bad Network Settings

When you log in to your modem, you can check for bad network settings that limit your connection. There’s a chance that you set a limit to your connection or that you blocked a connection.

A blocked connection will keep you from going online with certain devices, while a connection limit will slow down your speed when you near the limit. As long as you can log in and check the network settings on your modem, you can change them and improve your ethernet speed.

10. ISP Issues

If you checked all of these reasons why ethernet runs slower than Wi-Fi and tried some of the remedies without success, it’s time to look to your ISP.

Go online to the official website and look for any outages in your area that will keep you from using the internet. You then need to contact the ISP and discuss your problems.

While a tech support worker usually cannot solve the problem over the phone, they can check a few things and find out if you get the signal strength you need. The worker can also make an appointment for a field agent to come out.

That agent may need to replace one of the old lines that run under the ground or through your walls. They can also replace any faulty hardware or equipment you have.

Why am I Only Getting Half of My Internet Speed on Ethernet?

Running a speed test is a good way to check your internet speed. Even if you don’t run a test, you might notice that your speed when using an ethernet cable is about half of your Wi-Fi speed. This usually happens because of your equipment or internet connection.

Though your ISP claims you get specific download and upload speeds, there’s no guarantee you’ll experience those speeds. You also need to consider any equipment you use, such as your router or modem.

AdobeStock_21458540 Bunch of brightly multi coloured ethernet network cables

Can Ethernet Cables Interfere With Each Other?

While ethernet cables can interfere with each other, it’s fairly rare. The brands that make these cables design them to include shields that prevent interference from each other and any nearby objects.

They come in twisted pairs that wrap around each other to provide some extra protection. Even if you use a shielded cable next to a cable without a shield, you should not have any problems. Many offices have dozens of ethernet cables sitting next to each other without any issues.

Do You Lose Internet Speed With an Ethernet Splitter?

An ethernet splitter is a small tool or device that splits your internet signal. It allows you to use two or more ethernet cables and share the connection with different devices.

You might run a cable from your modem to the splitter and then use ethernet cables to connect your laptop and game console. As long as you have a speed of no more than 100 Mbps, you will not lose internet speed with an ethernet splitter.


Ethernet cables give you an easy way to use the internet in your home when you have a poor Wi-Fi signal or you lack a router. While the cable can slow down your speed, you can use all of these tips to get a better and faster speed for surfing the web and anything else you want to do online.