Ethernet cables are an integral part of our network setup. Most of us use Ethernet cables on our connected devices, both at our workplace and at home daily. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most neglected parts of our office or home network.
Do you think that Ethernet cabling has a direct impact on your internet speed? The answer is yes; it can definitely slow down your network significantly, cause disruptions, even make it completely non-functional.
If you want to get and keep a fast, stable, uninterrupted internet connection, it is essential to ensure that your Ethernet cable works correctly. This article will walk you through 7 ways to make sure that your Ethernet cable isn’t slowing down your network.
How do Ethernet Cables Work?
Before we look at how to ensure your Ethernet cables function properly, let’s gain an understanding of what they actually do.
Simply put, Ethernet cables are meant for connecting devices like a computer to the internet through a wired connection. These cables also facilitate communication between computers and other devices, including fax machines, printers, and many more.
Why Do People Sometimes Use an Ethernet Connection Instead of Wireless
Wireless speeds, or WiFi network internet speeds and performance have come a long way. A great many of us love the mobility of a wireless internet connection and the ease of use and freedom it provides. Still, Ethernet cabling offers a heightened level of reliability, speed, and security over and above WiFi networks, sometimes doing away with slow internet speeds entirely. A wired Ethernet connection is sometimes just what you need.
But to take advantage of these added benefits, you need to ensure that your Ethernet cables are working correctly. If they aren’t performing properly, your cables can slow you down instead of giving you the boost in performance you were looking for.
Now, let’s look at 7 ways to ensure your Ethernet cables don’t slow down your network.
Make Sure You Have the Right Cable
The first thing you need to ensure is that you have a suitable Ethernet cable. Ethernet cables come in different types, or categories, and each category has a different performance speed that it provides over a certain distance. Higher category cables offer better speeds and greater reliability.
You can find out about your Ethernet cable’s category by looking at the category number printed on the outer layer. Ensure you are not using a cable with CAT 5 or a lower designation. These cables are known to provide slower speeds.
A CAT 5 Ethernet cable provides a maximum speed of 100 Mbps. So, even if you’re paying for a 500 Mbps internet connection, if you use a CAT 5 cable to connect your modem to the router, you will never realize speeds above 100 Mbps.
If you want faster internet speed, opt for a cable of CAT 5e or above. A CAT 6 Ethernet cable provides the maximum speed of 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps, suitable for most offices and homes.
Make Sure Your Cable is Undamaged
A slower network can also result from damaged or broken Ethernet cables. A cable usually has two or more pairs of copper wire wrapped in foil. A PVC sleeve covers these wires for an added layer of protection.
Now, if even some of these wires are broken or damaged, it can slow down your network. In the worst-case scenario, it can sever the connection completely. Thus, you need to ensure that the Ethernet cable is fully intact and not damaged in any way.
If you have pets, keep the cables out of their reach. Further, if your Ethernet connection and cabling are present outside your home or office, like in the attic or basement, make sure there are no rodents present. Rodents can chew on the cable, causing damage that results in internet speed issues or a complete loss of connection.
Check Your Device’s Ethernet Ports
Modern-day devices usually have three different kinds of Ethernet ports. This includes Gigabit Ethernet, Multi-gigabit Ethernet, and Fast Ethernet.
Generally, Fast Ethernet ports do not support internet speeds above 100 Mbps. However, new computers and laptops come with Gigabit Ethernet ports that support an internet speed of around 1000 Mbps.
So, make sure to check your device’s Ethernet ports to ensure they aren’t the reason for your slow network. If you have an older device, it likely has Fast Ethernet ports. So, you can switch to newer devices for better speeds and more reliability, or you can buy a USB-to-Ethernet adapter to get gigabit speeds.
Switch to Another Port
Switching to another port is one of the easiest ways to ensure your network doesn’t slow you down. Most of the time, modern devices have at least four different ports. So, if one port is causing problems, you can try using a different port to improve network speeds. For example, move your Ethernet cable to another router to improve your internet speed and stabilize your network.
If you are facing network speed issues and they improve when you change the port, you know that there is something wrong with the previous port. So mark that port and make sure not to use it again to prevent problems.
Keep Your Devices and Software Up-To-Date
This goes without saying, but you should always keep things updated. Install the latest firmware updates, newest versions, and other updates for your operating system, browser, software, network drivers and other equipment and programs to enjoy superior bandwidth.
Outdated network drivers can often cause network slowdowns or disconnections. Remember, it isn’t only about your performance, you want to keep a high quality of service for your customers and users as well.
Check the Ethernet Cables’ Connectors
If not working correctly, Ethernet cable connectors can cause severe interference with your network’s performance. Every Ethernet cable has an RJ45 connector on both ends. This connector has eight contacts and a clip to hold it in place with the port of the Ethernet.
If any contacts are dirty, broken, damaged, or corroded, it will slow down your network. Additionally, if the clip is broken, the connector won’t stay firmly in its place, resulting in a poor connection speed.
Additionally, you can also look at your Ethernet switches from time to time. These switches must be power-cycled regularly to prevent software and hardware problems. So, if you are facing issues with your network, it is a good idea to check your Ethernet switches. You can try to disconnect and reconnect the power to resolve the problem.
Make sure the Cable is Properly Plugged In
Here is another simple way to prevent your Ethernet cable from causing a slow connection. First, make sure to properly plug the Ethernet cables in, on both ends. And when you insert the cable into a device like your computer, gaming console, or other hardware, ensure it’s inserted all the way. Also, it shouldn’t be loose, something else that will disrupt your connection.
An Ethernet connection is often a great decision for businesses looking for more security, greater reliability, and faster speeds. But it only matters if you’ve got everything working as it should. Use these tips for ensuring your Ethernet cables aren’t slowing you down.
However, if none of the above methods work and you continue to face network issues, the Ethernet cabling may not be the source of your problem. Network speed issues can also result from faulty routers, modems, adapters, and more. Such a problem needs more technical troubleshooting and expert help.
If this is the case, we recommend contacting your Internet Service Provider and teaming up with an IT professional for additional help.
Tech Masters helps business owners achieve greater productivity, security, and performance with trusted IT service support. Connect with us today to learn more about our individually tailored solutions for your organization.
For quick answers to Ethernet cable questions, check out our FAQs below.
Does Ethernet slow other devices?
No, having an Ethernet connection does not slow down other devices. Ethernet cables directly connect your router to the device, resulting in faster speeds and enhanced bandwidth. Doing so won’t slow down the other devices connected to your network.
Is my Ethernet cable limiting my internet speed?
An Ethernet cable can slow down or limit your internet speed if there is some problem. For example, if you are using the wrong type of cable or the line is broken or damaged, it can result in poor connectivity and slow speeds. Additionally, if you have a damaged switch box, it can also cause speed issues.
What is the fastest Ethernet cable for gaming?
If you want an Ethernet cable specifically for gaming, then CAT 7 and CAT 8 cables can be a good choice. Both of these cables are good at handling the high speeds required for PC gaming.
CAT 7 cables can easily handle a speed of up to 10 Gbps. On the other hand, CAT 8 cables can handle a connection speed of up to 40 Gbps. It is one of the fastest speeds available, perfect for gaming.
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