Why Is My Ethernet Slower Than WIFI: A Complete List of Causes 

 Why is my Ethernet slower than WiFi?” is a question often asked as many have this issue. An Ethernet connection can be slow due to an outdated system and many other reasons.

Why Is My Ethernet Slower Than WIFI

This article will walk you through every potential reason and also cover the details regarding their possible solutions. Continue reading this article to find out all the answers to your questions about a slow Ethernet connection.

Table of the Reasons 

Reasons Why Your Ethernet Is Slower Than WiFi Why They Are the Most Probable Reasons
Outdated System Connected to the Router The system connected with the router through your Ethernet is slow and outdated. Your old system gives you the impression that your Ethernet is slow when it is fine.
Old Port of Your System or Router The port that connects the Ethernet with either your system or router has grown old. It reduces the internet speed received to your system through the Ethernet.  
Unsuitable Cable for Your Ethernet The cable that connects the Ethernet between your system and router has become unsuitable. Its quality has degraded over time and now reduces the internet speed received through the Ethernet.
Changes in Your Network Card There can be certain changes made to your network card that can disable the connection through an Ethernet. They can also slow your Ethernet down such that it becomes slower than WiFi.  
Outdated Drivers of the Network Adapter Card There can be certain conflicts originating in them that prevent their functioning with the router. These conflicts can weaken the performance of your network adapter card and slow your Ethernet down.
Viruses and Other Malware They can heavily consume network resources in the background and slow your Ethernet down. As they are not detected, you perceive the issue to be with the connection. 
VPN Connection A VPN connection takes time to hide your IP address from other entities. With this, it enables a private connection to a remote network server that slows down your overall connection.
Changes in Settings of Router Connection Certain changes in the settings of your connection from the router side can direct slow network speeds. These changed settings are related to the configuration of your router. 

List of the Reasons Why Is My Ethernet Slower Than WiFi

The above table presents the main reasons why Ethernet is slower. Let’s check each reason and find more details behind it.

– Outdated System Connected to the Router

If you have an old system connected to the router, it is possible that it is causing the Ethernet to slow down. This signifies that there is no issue with the Ethernet connection itself, and the problem is with your outdated and slow system. It means that your connection is providing sufficient internet signals to it. However, the programs and applications on your system cannot utilize effectively since they have become outdated and cannot perform the functions of modern standards.

Outdated System Connected to the Router

This slows down the action that you are attempting to execute on your slow internet with the usage of the connection. You can diagnose this issue by testing out the same connection on another system, preferably a modern one. You can connect this new system with the router through the same Ethernet cable that was used with the previous old system. In this way, you ensure the same components in this test apart from the change in systems so that you can confirm that the old system is the problem.

– Old Port of Your System or Router

This reason involves the ports that establish the connection between your system and router through the cable. These ports can also grow old after a certain time period as they get rusted and damaged due to constant usage for a long time. They also undergo normal wear and tear as a result of getting plugged in and out; therefore, their pins can be bent. With this, they are unable to relay the network data between your router and system, and you experience Ethernet slower than WiFi.

This issue can be of three forms: an old Ethernet port of your system only, an old port of your router only, and old ports of your system and router both. Fortunately, there are multiple ports present on modern systems and routers for an internet connection, and there is a good chance that your router and system also have them. Therefore, you just have to plug out the cable from their old ports and plug it in the other ones on a trial and error basis. It is likely that the new ports will enable faster speeds than before if the old ports of your router or system are the only problem.

– Unsuitable Cable for Your Ethernet

The next component to worry about is your Ethernet cable which can also become unsuitable for an efficient connection after a certain time period. Due to possible rough and tough usage, pinches and bents can appear on the overall structure of your cable. A low-quality cable is more dangerous for your slow Ethernet connection since it can get overheated and burned in a shorter time period than a high-quality cable. A wrong type of Ethernet cable can also reduce the internet speed if it is improperly crimpled or has loose ends.

For this, you must select high-quality cables for your connection so that any safety concerns due to overheating can be eliminated. Moreover, they also last for a longer time period as their structure is not easily prone to bents and pinches as a result of rough handling. These cables also have standard lengths that are optimum for a stable connection between your router and system and enable faster internet speeds than WiFi. Ethernet cables come under the category of Cat5 with a standard length of 328 feet, although there are other categories as well that comprise Cat5e, Cat6a, and Cat6.

– Changes in Your Network Card

Your network card can also be the cause for the reduction in your speeds; although this is unlikely but can still happen. It can happen due to certain changes made to the network card by you either accidentally or intentionally. Furthermore, there can be software errors and mechanical failures with the network card as well that impact its performance. All of these factors can potentially disable the connection between your system and router to the point of intensely slow speeds.

Changes in Your Network Card

You can attempt to figure out if your network card really is the culprit by disabling and enabling it after a few seconds. Few cycles of disabling and enabling it should be completed so that the restoration of your connection can be ensured. You might have to consider the replacement of your network card, requiring technical knowledge, if the cycles do not work. A new network card is bound to increase the network speeds up to the expected level of an internet connection through Ethernet.

– Outdated Drivers of the Network Adapter Card

It is also possible that the outdated drivers of your network adapter card are causing disruption from your system’s side and decreasing your Ethernet speed. There are certain software conflicts originated in outdated drivers that diminish their optimization with the modern speeds and, in turn, weaken the overall performance of your card. Since its drivers have not been updated, it is likely that they are hindering its efficient functioning, and it cannot procure fast Ethernet signals for your usage. It means that apart from the network adapter card itself, you also have to monitor its drivers to ensure that your system delivers optimum signals at fast speeds.

The only solution for this is to update drivers, and you can do that yourself if you are aware of their manufacturing company. There are relevant instructions on the websites of many manufacturing companies, and you can carefully check yours to do it without having the technical knowledge yourself. It is likely that there is a detailed step-by-step procedure for you to ensure that the drivers are updated successfully without the need to consult a professional entity. In rare cases, the performance of your drivers has been degraded severely, and updating them is no longer viable; therefore they must be removed and replaced with new ones.

– Viruses and Other Malware

Viruses and other forms of malware can also cause WiFi faster than Ethernet with a secret consumption of network resources in the background. The connection disruption caused by them is perceived to occur due to any fault in the connection itself since they are not detected easily. By utilizing your bandwidth, they can project malicious payload into your system that eventually slows down the wired connection. This is more likely if you have an old system with an old operating system as their antivirus software and detection tools are not strong enough.

As a result, it is recommended that you upgrade to one of the modern versions of your operating system and a better system. They are equipped with the latest antivirus software that work against the most complex viruses as well by detecting and destroying them before they do any real damage. Apart from this, you can conduct a malware scan on your own with the usage of approved third-party tools that can locate the infected files. In this way, you can delete them so that the virus or other forms of malware do not do any irreparable damage to your speed.

– VPN Connection

A VPN service provides you a network connection by jumping around international servers and enables you to access region-locked content. While doing this, it also hides your IP address from your local provider and the selected remote network server.

This process takes time and slows down your wired internet connection as it has to be established with a server in a distant country. A VPN connection prioritizes security and privacy over time consumption, and, as a result, approximately a twenty percent reduction in speeds with a VPN is normal.

VPN Connection

Unfortunately, there is no solution yet that involves a continuation of your VPN session and improvement in speed, signifying that the VPN connection has to be disabled. Checking if it really is the reason for slow speed requires a procedure in which you first have to conduct a speed test before enabling the VPN.

You can move on and enable the VPN if the speed test shows normal levels and then check the speed with the VPN connection. There will be a clear difference with the second speed slower than the first one if your VPN connection is the reason, therefore you will have to disconnect it.

– Changes in Settings of Router Connection

Lastly, there can be certain changes originating in the settings of your wired connection from the router side that are directing slow network speeds. These slow speeds can even result in a faster Wi-Fi signal than Ethernet since the changed settings are related to the configuration of your router. It is possible that resetting the connection settings can bring back the required configuration for the usual fast Ethernet speed delivered by your router.

You can check that configuration by logging in to your router using your set credentials placed by the internet service provider. If there are no set credentials for you, you can locate a label on the router that contains the default username and password for it.

After this, you can go to the Settings page to reset the settings of your router so that the potential changes can be reverted back to the default settings. This will bring back the default configuration of your router as well, which will then have to undergo the activation process for a smooth and fast connection.


This article examined certain reasons that result in a slower Ethernet than WiFi and also illuminated possible solutions for them.

The following is a selection of the vital points:

  • Your Ethernet can be slower than WiFi if it is connected with a slow and outdated system as it cannot efficiently utilize the network signals.
  • Your old port, connecting the Ethernet with either your system or router, can also reduce the Ethernet speed received to your system.
  • The quality of the cable connecting the Ethernet between your system and router can be degraded over time which leads to a reduction in the speed as well.
  • Certain changes in your network card can even disable the connection or intensely slow your Ethernet down such that it becomes slower than WiFi.

These are the most probable reasons for your Ethernet to be slower than WiFi.

Leave a Comment