Why is My Wired Connection Slower than WiFi (Expert Fixes Explained)

Ordinarily, when you want a more stable, stronger, and faster internet connection, the best thing to do is plug your device directly into the Ethernet connection source. Interestingly enough, this does not always work out the way you want. Instead of getting faster, your connection can get slower, even more so than the WiFi connection you were trying to fix.

Normally, this should not happen and when it does, it means something is off. So, why is your wired connection slower than your WiFi? In our article, we will cover some troubleshooting tips that will help you fix and diagnose the problem. 

In general, your wired connection can be slower than WiFi because the ports are bad – use a different cable if the current one is bad. Your network connection settings are wrong or you need to update your network drivers. You need to disable and enable your network card or have/should check for electromagnetic interference. You have malware or should disable VPN services. 

Ethernet vs. WiFi: What’s the Difference?

In terms of convenience and reliable speed, Ethernet and WiFi are different. Ethernet delivers 1 Gigabit of data transfer rates per second while the latest WiFi can deliver up to 1.3 Gigabit of speed per second.

However, this is in theory. In the real-world application, you get more speed and reliability of internet connection from Ethernet than WiFi. WiFi uses radio waves, which can be absorbed by metal structures and thick walls.

That means in the process of transmitting data, WiFi loses lots of speed when it is blocked by large objects. In terms of latency, WiFi is slower than Ethernet. By the way, latency is the duration it takes for sending requests from your computer to the server and getting a response.

Although this is not a big issue for an average internet user, it is crucial for time-sensitive applications, such as competitive gaming. For accessibility, WiFi does better than Ethernet because it is easily accessible. All you need is a Smartphone to connect.

Why is My Wired Connection Slower than WiFi?

So, now that we have identified the differences between wired connection and WiFi, it is time to look at the reasons why your wired connection is slower than WiFi

Test Properly

The first step is to identify the specific issue causing the slow connection. So, how do you perform the test? While still connected to the WiFi, quickly run a speed test and record the results. Next, perform the same speed test when your device is connected to the Ethernet.

Make sure that you turn off the WiFi on the device you want to test and disconnect other devices connected to the WiFi. Record the test from the Ethernet test.

To get more extensive results, run the same tests across laptops and PCs in your workspace. This will let you know if the slow speed from the wired connection is peculiar to your device or a general phenomenon for all devices.

Switch Ports

You will be surprised that the source of the problem is the port you are connected to. Your router comes with multiple ports and if you are connected to one that is not functioning optimally, it will affect your internet speed.

Therefore, switch the port you are using to see if there is an improvement in the speed. You can try all ports until you find the one that delivers the speed you want.

Change the Ethernet Cable

Old cables are generally not compatible with modern-day internet speeds. If your Ethernet cable is old, you should consider getting a new one. When buying a new piece, make sure it is long enough to connect to your computer. It is better to have a longer cable than a short one. Shorter cables can damage easily when you regularly pull at them to reach your computer.

Update the Network Drivers

If the previous solutions do not work, then it is time to update the network drivers. The network drivers enable your computer to communicate with the internet router and they must be up to date.

Old drivers generally have issues with connection speed. Therefore, it is best to update them. To update the network adapter drivers on your Windows device, follow the simple steps below:

  • Long-press the “Window Key + R”
  • Type devmgmt.msc in the pop-up box
  • Locate the Network Adapters section in the Device Manager window
  • Right-click on each entry and then click the “Update Driver” button
  • Follow the prompts to complete the driver update process for all drivers in the network adapters.

If you use a Mac computer system, here’s how to check and update your network drivers:

  • Click on the Apple logo at the top right corner of your screen
  • Click on “Software Update”
  • Your system will do a quick search and bring up necessary driver updates and automatically install them

Check the Network Connection Settings

The next solution is to check the configuration of your router. Follow the steps below to complete the process:

  • Open your browser and in the address bar, type 
  • Using your login details, log in to the router. You can also check the router for the label with the username and password if you have not set the login details
  • Next, reset the router through the setting page to revert any erroneous changes that have been made to the router.
  • Go through the activation process for the router again.

ethernet connection troubleshooting
Video | GreedyTech

Disable & Enable the Network Card

You can disable and enable the network card on your Windows device. Follow the steps below to perform this:

  • Click to open the device manager and right-click on all entries in Network Adapters and select “Disable Device”
  • Wait for ten seconds and right-click on the entries again to enable them. Now check the internet speed to see if it has improved.

Electromagnetic Interference

We mentioned earlier that external interferences affect WiFi but it also affects Ethernet, although to a smaller extent. Interferences from different sources like fluorescent lights and microwave ovens can affect Ethernet connection. Therefore, consider placing the router about ten feet away from these sources to minimize their interference.

Check for Viruses and Malware

Malware and viruses can eat up your bandwidth as they deliver a malicious payload. If you are experiencing slow internet with your wired connection, run an anti-virus scan on your device. There are different types of anti-virus software that you can choose from including Kaspersky, Sophos, Norton, etc. 

Disable all VPN Services

VPNs move between servers across the world to deliver region-locked content as they offer a shield of privacy. Doing all this takes a lot of bandwidth and can lead to slow internet. If this is a possible cause for slow internet speed, try to disable any VPNs running on your device and run a speed test to check if the VPN is the one causing the lag.

Check for ISP Issues

ISP issues are common and if the cause of your throttled speed is ISP, you just have to wait it out. You can call them to know what the problem is and get a timeframe for fixing it. You can keep using your WiFi while you wait for them to fix the issue. (1)

Final Thoughts – Ethernet should be Faster

Ethernet is a wired connection and by default, it should deliver reliable speeds. Since it is not a common occurrence when it is slower, you should be concerned if your Ethernet is not delivering optimal internet speed. (2)

Understandably, it can be frustrating when you notice that your Ethernet connection is slower than your WiFi but you can troubleshoot the issue and get it resolved. We have looked at ten solutions to resolving the problem of why your  Wired Connection is slower than the WiFi. You should be able to fix the issues you have with any of these solutions.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) ISP – https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/ISP-Internet-service-provider
(2) Ethernet – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/types-ethernet-protocol-mahesh-patil?trk=public_profile_article_view

Video References

Ultimate Tech Hub


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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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