Does Ethernet Cable Affect Download Speed?

Ethernet Cable

Many people desperately want to make internet faster for a myriad of reasons. It could be because they are working from home and require high-speed internet to download and upload massive files. It could be because you just discovered the world of online gaming and can’t win a game against your friends. 

No matter your reason for wanting faster internet, I’m sure your first thought is to switch from a wireless connection to wired (ethernet) connection. But does this really help?


Will Ethernet Increase Your Internet Speed?

Generally speaking, Wi-Fi is a flexible option that lets you move around while accessing the internet. Since Wi-Fi transmits data via wireless signals, obstructions may occur (from other devices sharing the signals to appliances physically blocking the signals to your location). 

An ethernet connection (one that uses an ethernet cable) provides a faster internet connection because the data is transmitted via cable. 

Except for the cables getting damaged physically, electricity issues, or your internet is acting up (from the ISP’s side), there are no other reasons for your wired connection to have obstructions since signals are passed through the secure and reliable cable. 

Does Ethernet Cable affect download speed?

Download speed measures the time it takes for your internet connection to transfer data from a server going to your computer. This measurement is important for loading a site, downloading big files, streaming music and videos, and other activities. 

A good download speed is at least 25 Mbps. For most people, this is enough download speed to perform day-to-day computing work. 

Note that while switching to wired internet with ethernet cable can drastically improve your download speed, there are still other factors that you should weigh. For example, your ISP may be throttling your downloads to accommodate other customers on the same server as you, so this would limit your access to the server and reduce internet speeds as a result. 

For some, poor download speed may simply occur because you’ve exceeded your data cap and would have to upgrade your plan to accommodate your needs. 

Other reasons for bad download speed may include outdated devices, high latency, congested networks, or wrong network management settings. 

Does Ethernet Cable affect upload speed? 

Upload speed measures the time it takes for your internet to transfer your data to a server. It is exactly the opposite of download speed, but is just as important. 

A good upload speed is at least 3 Mbps. Of course, this is just the minimum and the better your internet plan is, the more likely you’ll enjoy higher upload speeds. 

And just like download speed, there is no guarantee that switching to an ethernet cable could improve your upload speed. This is because of several reasons, such as outdated network drivers, wrong security fireway settings, malware or corrupted files, limited bandwidth from an insufficient plan, or numerous active backgroup apps you are not aware of.

Sometimes, the poor upload speed may not be fixable on your end, since it is more than likely that you’re sharing a single connection with other people using the same server. 

Does the type of ethernet cables affect download and upload Speed?

As you might know, there are various kinds of ethernet cables available in the market today. Each of these cable categories have different specs and as a result, provide varying levels of download and upload speeds as well.

Here are 3 of the most commonly used today: 

  • Cat5: The older ethernet cable that was designed to support speeds of up to 10 megabits per second and 100Mbps. While this type of ethernet cable is rarely available in stores, there’s a good chance your household will have this if you to match an older router. 
  • Cat 5e: As an upgrade to Cat5, Cat5e was designed to deliver better speeds of up to 1000 Mbps while removing the infamous crosstalk interference. This type of cable should theoretically provide you with better speeds, especially if you came from using Cat5.
  • Cat 6: The newest ethernet cable was designed to provide up to 10GB speeds in the right settings. But many experts note that the changes from Cat5e to Cat6 are very minimal that the “upgrade” wouldn’t really feel like one. 

Picking between these three ethernet cables may help improve download speed, but only under ideal circumstances such as having a good internet plan, good ISP, updated router and drivers, etc. 

When Ethernet Cables Make a Difference

As you can see, it is hard to say that ethernet cables could improve your download and upload speeds if your goal is to make your internet faster. There are simply too many factors to consider. 

However, if you’re going to use ethernet cables for your local network (one PC to another PC within your home or office), then all the factors listed above will become moot and you’ll experience the true performance of an ethernet/wired connection.

Rizwan Ahmad
Rizwan Ahmad

Rizwan is an avid mobile geek and a gaming lover. He loves to keep a tab on new tech and loves to share the latest tech news and reviews on Smartphones, Gadgets, Apps, and more.


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