The trend towards increasingly complex networks
In the last ten years, both home and office networks have changed a lot. At the beginning we only had a PC or laptop connected to the Internet. However, this situation began to change with the appearance of smartphones and tablets. From that moment on, we saw an increase in the use of Wi-Fi networks.
Nevertheless, the networks continued to grow in complexity. In that sense, Smart TVs, Android TVs, smart plugs, appliances related to home automation and IoT devices appeared. Therefore, keep in mind that figuring out why the Internet is slow on cable is now more complex.
The causes, as we will see below, are many, they can be hardware, software, related to our Internet connection and more.
Hardware items to check when the Internet is slow on cable
Although in principle it seems that there are few elements to take into account, there are many more than what they seem. Regarding the hardware of our home or office network, we must pay special attention to the following sections:
- The router.
- That PC or laptop connected by network cable.
- The network cable.
With respect to router A section that we must review are the LAN ports where we connect the RJ45 network cable.
Currently most routers are Gigabit Ethernet, so one step we could take is to enter the router configuration and check the speed at which it is connected. It would also be a good idea before starting, review the specifications of our router to know the details of the Ethernet part of our router.
An enemy of hardware is heating. Routers are often on all day and that ends up taking their toll on them if they don’t have proper cooling. For this reason, it is a bad idea to place the router on top of nearby heat sources, because it could cause the equipment to malfunction, lower speed, intermittent WiFi cuts, etc.
The interconnection link between the router and the PC is the network wire that should also be reviewed. In that sense, we must verify that it supports the maximum speed of our local network and the Internet connection. One of the ways we can do this is to see the category that is printed on the cable.
Currently a CAT 5 cable would fall short, since we could exceed the speed of 100 Mbps. Therefore, we have to opt for a minimum CAT 5E, CAT 6 or CAT 7 network cable. They do not usually fail much, you can try to replace it. Sometimes bending them can cause one of the pins to make bad contact.
The next section to review is the PC or laptop, here we must focus our gazes on the Ethernet network card. If with another PC or laptop we see that it is going well, it can indicate that the problem is in our PC network card. That would also rule out router and Ethernet cable problems. Here we would have to review the specifications of that network card, which especially in old laptops can be 100 Mb and then we could not exceed that speed. In case of failure in the desktop PC, we could install a PCI Express network card and in the laptop, opt for a USB Ethernet adapter. Before proceeding to buy something, would check the software before. Finally, if these computers do not have adequate ventilation and cleaning, they can also affect their performance.
Check the status and drivers of our network card
One of the problems for which the Internet is slow by cable may be because it is not well detected or it does not have the latest drivers. In Windows, in Control Panel, Security system, System, you can see it in Device administrator.
In that sense we have to check that the minimum detects that it is Gigabit Ethernet. Desktop PCs have been for many years now. With this we could support Internet connections of up to 1 Gbps.
Another measure that we could take is to click on Update driver to check for a more modern one. In case you do not find any and we continue to have problems, we could look at:
- The motherboard or laptop manufacturer’s website.
- The website of the manufacturer of our network card. In the above case it would be Realtek.
How to test our Internet connection via network cable
One way to check if the internet is slow on cable is by doing a speed test. In this case we are going to do it from our internet browser on the web speed test.es. Generally by Ethernet network cable, unless they are old equipment, the contracted speed is obtained in the tests. This happens even if we have a Gigabit Ethernet network card, but we are already talking about very low-end equipment or before 2010.
To carry out the test I have used a 600 Mb symmetric connection. This means that the upload and download are identical. The results obtained are the following:
As you can see, I have both 600 Mb download and upload which indicates that it is correct. If, for example, it had not exceeded 100 Mb, it is usually a sign that I am connected by a category 5 cable or I have a 100 Mb network card or it is badly detected.
Network saturation, connected Wi-Fi clients, and intruders
One of the most common causes of slow internet is the network saturation. When we have many connected devices that effect can occur and we have to take into account:
- Both the computers that are connected by cable and by Wi-Fi have to share the bandwidth of the Internet connection.
- What actions are they taking at the moment.
For this reason, it is normal for a network saturation to occur when we have enough computers performing tasks of:
- Video streaming.
- Use of P2p programs.
- To play online.
- Video calls
In that sense, if we can turn off the Wi-Fi and the rest of the equipment when performing a speed test it will show us more easily if we have a problem. Thus, in theory we should reach the full bandwidth. Also, another thing to check is the devices connected to our router. They can give us a hint that they are connecting at the right speed.
It would also be interesting to check the Wi-Fi devices in case we have an intruder on our network.
Our ISP Failures and Software Problems
If the Internet is slow by cable, it may also be due to a failure of our Internet provider. In the event that it does not go well and you have checked the hardware and software, it may be that there is a specific failure. Also, one way to check this can be to test on multiple computers.
As for the software, we must look at the following things:
- Check that we do not have any virus or malware. For this we will pass an antivirus and, if possible, an antimalware such as Malwarebytes.
- We must have our operating system updated with the latest security patches.
- Empty the cache of our browser and try other DNS servers.
In short, the Internet is slow on cable due to hardware problems, software problems, saturation or a failure of the Internet connection.