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Can a Switch Slow Down the Internet? (+ How to Fix It)

Here’s whether a switch slows down the internet.

A switch can be one of the reasons for slow internet.

So if you want to know how a switch can slow down your internet and how to fix it, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

A Switch Can Slow Down Your Internet

When we choose an ISP (Internet Service Provider), we always start by comparing them based on the guarantee’s download and upload speeds. 

Internet speed can be very important to us for multiple reasons. We want to do all sorts of things online:

  • Surfing the net and social media
  • Streaming movies and TV shows
  • Watch those “how to” videos
  • Learning
  • Reading

Some people also work from home, which can require a fast and stable Internet connection.

So, what does internet speed depend on? Is it better when we connect our laptops and computers via Ethernet cable, or does it work the same way when we connect via Wi-Fi?

Internet Speed Issues

It is terribly frustrating when we can’t get the job done because we are having trouble with our Internet connection. Now, you might think that it’s because of the bandwidth.

Bandwidth is the capacity of information that goes through a connection in a certain amount of time. It’s not equivalent to Internet speed. It’s basically how much information you can receive every second.

Internet speed refers to how fast you receive the information, i.e., how fast you can download files, how quickly your YouTube videos render, etc.

Apart from issues with bandwidth and speed, there are other reasons why your Internet connection might be slow.

Wi-Fi Speed Issues

If we experience slow speeds over a Wi-Fi connection, there are several reasons why this might be happening.

The first and most logical one is that we have a slow internet speed due to our ISP. If that’s the case, then we should consider switching to a better provider. 

Simply do a speed test on a device connected via Ethernet cable, and you’ll know whether your ISP is delivering on the speeds promised in the contract.

The second reason might be that you’re using a low-quality wireless router, which doesn’t support your Internet connection’s full velocity. In that case, it’s time for an upgrade.

The third reason might be that your wireless router is in a bad spot. Wi-Fi works by spreading radio waves across a certain area. 

Radio waves come in different frequencies, so a higher frequency such as 5 GHz has difficulty penetrating walls and solid objects.

Try repositioning your router for a better signal and faster internet.

The fourth reason is that there is just an overload. The connection is overloaded with numerous devices, and they’re all siphoning the speed. The more users, the slower it gets.

Plus, background apps on all devices constantly draw the speed from your wireless network even if you aren’t using the device. This can be a serious issue. So you might want to either disconnect some devices or turn off some background apps.

Cable Speed Issues

Statistically speaking, Wi-Fi is much slower than cable, but you can also experience speed issues via cable connections. 

Although cable connections are generally considered more stable and reliable, they aren’t without their problems.

The first reason why a cable connection might cause slow speeds is that there is a problem with the modem or the Ethernet switch.

If there’s a problem with the modem, you can upgrade it to a better one or simply update the software the modem is using. Before doing this, you might want to check whether your devices and any background apps that continuously use the internet are updated.

The second reason might be the length of the cable. If the cable is very long, naturally the Internet speed will be slower on the device because data transmission has to travel a long way to get to the endpoint.

Usually, this doesn’t cause too much speed loss. The difference can be insignificant, but it can also affect the way you work in some cases. 

For example, if you’re having a video conference or a conference call through your laptop or computer, you can expect to have some interference during the calls.

The third reason for a slow Internet speed is any damage to the cable. If this happens, it’s recommended you replace the cable for full functionality.

Ethernet Switch and Internet Speed

We often confuse Ethernet switches with Ethernet hubs because they look similar.

They have a certain number of ports (the things you plug your Ethernet cable into) and one that is reserved for input, typically the cable that connects it to the modem for Internet access. 

So, the difference is that a hub takes everything that comes in through the input, and sends it through all the ports. This is where data packets (the information that goes through the cables) collide and can cause issues.

Network quality gets much worse due to this simple fault in the hardware of an Ethernet hub. Unfortunately, a switch and a hub look almost identical, so this can be very frustrating.

An Ethernet switch is, simply put, like a smart device. There are no collision problems because the switch manages all incoming and outgoing data packets. As a result, fewer problems occur with switches. That’s why hubs are becoming obsolete.

Ethernet Switch Speed Issues

So, like with any other piece of machinery or software, it’s typical that sometimes we experience issues with Ethernet switches. These issues can often manifest as slow Internet speeds.

There are three possible reasons for a slow Internet connection when it comes to Ethernet switches. 

The first one being that the hardware, the Ethernet switch is failing. It happens with all hardware at some point.

It might be the most expensive top-quality hardware (device) that you buy, but after a while, it can simply get worn out. You know what the next step is—troubleshooting. 

Test it on multiple devices. Test the speed on these devices. Then, determine if it is indeed the switch that is failing.

The second reason might be that we have an old Ethernet switch, one that cannot support our current bandwidth or speed because it just wasn’t built for it. With Internet connection speeds on the rise, it can be hard to keep up with the hardware.

However, most of the routers that come from your ISP support the network bandwidth and speed, and you can easily connect multiple devices to them. There will be no drawbacks unless…

You guessed it, the network is overloaded! This is the third reason we might have issues with Internet speeds. 

Again, it’s an identical issue to the one that can occur in a Wi-Fi network—your ISP might simply be “in over their heads,” as they say. It might be lacking the infrastructure to connect your entire neighborhood and guarantee top speeds all the time.

The more people use the devices connected to the internet, the more bandwidth splits. 

While we did make a difference between bandwidth and Internet speed, the volume of data packets also impacts the speed, to a certain degree. This is what happens when everyone in the neighborhood is home, streaming their favorite shows, playing games, and browsing YouTube all at the same time.

How To Make Sure Your Ethernet Cable Doesn’t Slow Down Your Network

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.






What is a network switch and what is it for?

A network switch is an electronic device that connects multiple computers and/or other digital devices in a local area network and allows them to exchange data. It has another common name — switch, which comes from the English word switch (switch, switch).


  • What is a switch in simple words

  • The principle of operation of the switch

  • Switching modes

  • The difference between a switch (switch) and a hub (hub)

  • The difference between a switch and a router

  • How to choose a switch

  • Basic transfer rate

  • Number of ports

  • Execution (installation method)

  • Control capability

  • PoE support

  • Availability of SFP ports

  • Availability of power saving function

  • VLAN support

  • Availability of traffic segmentation function

  • Stacking support

  • Broadcast storm protection

What is a switch in simple terms

Every year we are surrounded by more and more computers, laptops, mobile and other digital devices. They are used at home, in offices, administrative and many other premises. The problem of their connection for data transfer is becoming more and more urgent — one that would eliminate the need to transfer information, for example, on a USB flash drive. In the recent past, it was solved with the help of hubs, but by now they have almost been replaced by more intelligent devices — network switches, or switches. In simple terms, these are devices that allow you to combine several computers into a network and play the role of its core in it. This is really convenient, and in a variety of situations:

  • in an enterprise or office that has a large number of computers, network printers and other digital equipment;

  • in a small home local area network — for example, consisting of several computers, a laptop and a modern TV;

  • as part of a large-scale video surveillance system with a large number of cameras;

  • in an industrial network with numerous sensors that control technical processes and transmit data to the control room;

  • in many other cases.

How the switch works

The question of what a switch is is naturally followed by another one: on what principle does it work? Everything is both simple and complex at the same time. The switch receives data from devices accessing it and gradually fills the switching table with their MAC addresses. During subsequent accesses, the switch reads the address of the sending device, analyzes the switching table and determines from it which device the data should be sent to. Other computers, however, do not «know» about the fact of the transfer of information, since it has nothing to do with them. This ensures that the network operates in the so-called full duplex mode.

The new switch at the training stage, not finding the recipient’s MAC address in its table, sends data to all devices connected to it (of course, except for the sender). The correct recipient replies to the switch, and the latter creates a new entry in the switching table. In the future, the switch, receiving data with the same MAC address, “understands” where exactly they need to be sent, and no longer performs mass mailing, but strictly targeted sending. Traffic is thus localized and the network unloaded.

Above, the principle of operation of the so-called unmanaged switch, which operates at the second (link) OSI layer, was described. In addition to these, there are more advanced models that work at the third and fourth levels. They are much more functional, since they allow manual control (in particular, via the command line interface), support QoS, VLAN, mirroring, traffic storm detection, limiting data transfer rates for different ports, and many other useful features. Such devices are included in complex and branched networks — in particular, those deployed in large enterprises.

Switching modes

There are three modes in which the switch transmits data to the destination nodes. The key features of each mode are the degree of transmission reliability and associated latency.

The first mode is called Cut-Through — through. The switch receives data, reads only the address of the receiving host from them, and sends it to its destination without any additional checks. The waiting time in this case is minimal, but there is a possibility of transmitting data with errors.

The second mode is called Store and Forward — with intermediate storage. The switch not only reads the recipient’s address, but also analyzes all received information in order to find errors. Only then is the data transferred to its intended destination. The waiting time in comparison with the previous mode increases — it is necessary for the switch to check.

The third mode is called Fragment-Free — fragmentless, or hybrid. It is a combination of the two modes described above. The switch receives a data frame, reads the recipient’s address, and then checks the information for errors, but not all, but only the first 64 bytes. After verification, the switch sends the data to the recipient.

Data transmission conditions are not constant — they change over time. It is useful to have a switch that implements adaptive adjustment to these conditions. At the start of operation, such a device enables pass-through switching mode for all ports. Then, those ports on which there are too many errors are automatically switched to hybrid (non-fragment) mode. Finally, if too many errors remain after this, the ports are put into store-and-forward mode.

Difference between switch and hub

In the recent past, hubs were widespread. These devices operate on a broadcast model. In simpler terms, the hub, receiving network traffic, simply sends it to all devices connected to it without exception. The function of determining the addressee, which is in the switch, is not implemented in it, and this is the main difference between hub and switch. Broadcast data transmission is fraught with at least two pitfalls: firstly, it heavily loads the network and noticeably slows down data transfer, and secondly, it entails the risk of a large number of errors, especially when new computers are added to the network. The use of network switches eliminates these problems — which is why these devices have almost replaced hubs by now.

Difference between switch and router

A switch is more functional than a hub, but even more functions are implemented in a router (or, as it is also called, a router). This device operates at the third OSI layer and is responsible not only for the distribution of traffic to destination nodes, but also for communication between different networks with different architectures. A routing table is stored in its memory, based on the data from which the router decides where to forward the incoming data packet. Forwarding is performed according to the rules set by the administrator when configuring the router.

The router allows you to reduce network load by dividing it into broadcast domains and filtering packets. It makes it possible to combine an Ethernet network and WAN connections — for example, to organize access to the Internet. In this case, the router not only translates addresses, but also plays the role of a firewall, thereby ensuring information security. In fact, any router is a miniature computer with a lot of customizable settings. By the way, this is why any personal computer can play the role of a router — provided that specialized routing software is installed and configured on it.

How to choose a switch

There are a great many models of switches on sale, which differ significantly from each other both in functionality and in price. An IT specialist needs to know the main characteristics of switches (read — selection criteria).

Basic baud rate

In most cases, the characteristics of the switches indicate several speeds at once (an example of a record is 10/100 Mbps). You need to focus on the highest value — this is the maximum for this device. If data arrives at the switch at a rate less than this maximum, it will automatically adjust to it. Models of the upper price range can operate at speeds of 10/20/100/200/1000/2000Mbps. Consider the characteristics of your network and the characteristics of the devices included in it, and make the right choice.

Number of ports

On sale are models with a number of ports from 5 to 48. Choose a switch, taking into account not only the actual number of devices that will be connected to it immediately, but also the prospects for expanding the network in the future. Experience shows that for networks deployed at home and in small offices, switches with the number of ports from 5 to 15 are optimal. For an enterprise, a device with a number of ports from 15 to 48 is suitable.

Version (mounting method)

Manufacturers offer:

  • desktop switches. These are compact models for small networks. They do not cause the slightest difficulty during installation — they can simply be put on the table;

  • wall models. They are also relatively compact, but they have special grooves that allow them to be fixed on the wall. As experience shows, many wall switches can not be mounted on a vertical base, but simply put on a table;

  • rack switches. This category includes the most advanced enterprise models that mount in a standard 19-inch telecommunications equipment rack.


One category is formed by unmanaged switches. They do not allow fine-tuning, which is a minus for a large enterprise, but a plus for use at home or in a small office. Unmanaged models, as a rule, are compact and have a low cost.

The second category includes managed models. They allow flexible configuration using specialized software or a web interface. The administrator can change numerous parameters of the managed switch — the priorities of connected devices, general network settings, and others. Such models are well suited for use in complex and branched networks, however, their configuration requires special knowledge and experience.

PoE 9 support0148

Choose a switch with this feature if you need to supply power to devices directly over the network cable (twisted pair). One possible example is IP cameras connected to the local network. PoE (Power over Ethernet) is a very convenient feature: it eliminates the need for power cables without reducing the quality of data transmission in any way.

Availability of SFP ports

You will need a switch with these ports if you need to connect it to other switches or higher-level devices. Please note: SFP is just a port, you must first install a special module in it, which, in turn, will enable non-standard connections (for example, via fiber optics).

Energy saving function available

Switches with this feature are becoming more and more popular — the growing interest in environmental protection plays a role. These intelligent models monitor devices connected to them, detect inactive ports and temporarily put them to sleep. Manufacturers claim that the energy-saving function implemented in the switches allows you to save up to 80% (!) Of electricity.

VLAN 9 support0148

Choose a model with such a function if you need a logical distinction between individual sections of the local network. You can create your own segments for different departments, departments and branches of the company, organize a public access network.

Traffic segmentation

Switches with this feature allow you to configure ports or groups of ports so that they are completely separated from each other, but still have access to the server.

Stacking support

A device with this feature is needed if you need to create a single logical switch with more than 48 ports. It is easy to understand that stacking support is required in large-scale, branched networks deployed in large enterprises.

Broadcast storm protection present

One of the particular manifestations of such a storm is a DDoS attack on a local network. If the latter includes a regular switch without protection from a broadcast storm, as a result of an attack, the entire network can simply “lie down”. Models in which such protection is implemented detect flooding and cut it off in a timely manner, so that the network remains stable.

2-port Ethernet switch 10BASE-T1L over one pair of wires up to 1700 meters IVT-LAN9002SPE

Garant LLC, the official dealer of Infotech, presents to your attention a new series of IVT network equipment, built on the basis of the new industrial Ethernet 10BASE-T1L IEEE 802.3cg-2019 standard. The standard specifies how to operate and control 10 Mb/s Ethernet over a single pair of conductors over a distance of up to 1700 meters with AWG 14 conductors, or up to 1 km. with conductor gauge AWG 24 (UTP 3/5/6/cat.).

The new INFOTECH IVT-LAN9002SPE switches fully support the standard specification and can be connected both to each other and connect any devices with 10BASE-T1L at a distance of up to 1700 meters via two wires.

Key features of industrial switches INFOTECH IVT-LAN9002SPE

  • 2-port Ethernet switch 10BASE-T1L/10BASE-T
  • 10BASE-T1L Ethernet transmission over one pair of wires
  • 10BASE-T1L transmission distance up to 1700 meters without cascading
  • 10BASE-T interface transmission distance up to 100 meters
  • Constant transmission rate 10 Mb/s Full Duplex
  • No adjustment required
  • 10BASE-T1L line output — terminal connector
  • 10BASE-T output — RJ-45 connector
  • Power -12V
  • Temperature range: -40…+85° C.

Connection of IP cameras by one pair

The advantage of the new IVT-LAN9002SPE switches is the ability to use only one pair in a UTP or CCI cable or in a coaxial cable to connect IP cameras to a video surveillance system.

Fig 1. Connecting IVT-LAN9002SPE

The speed of the switch interfaces is 10 Mb/s Full Duplex, which allows you to transfer traffic without delay over a pair of wires from any IP cameras of any resolution, up to 8Mpix. Switches allow full use of the current installed twisted pair or coaxial cable to connect new IP cameras or replace old analog ones.

IP camera connection up to 1900 meters

Another advantage of the new INFOTECH IVT-LAN9002SPE switches is the range of IP cameras connection without intermediate cascading. Depending on the caliber (core diameter) of the wire used, the distance can reach:

  • For AWG 14 — up to 1900 meters
  • At AWG 24 (UTP 3/5/6 cat. ) — up to 1200 meters

Connection of IP cameras via UTP 5e/6 cat.

Accordingly, when using the most popular UTP 5e/6 cat. provides connection of IP cameras for a total distance of up to 1.2 km. without intermediate devices.

Connection of 16 IP cameras via one 4-pair UTP up to 1200 meters

The speed of the switch interfaces is 10 Mb/s Full Duplex throughout the entire transmission line, which allows you to transfer traffic from 4 IP cameras with FullHD 25fps quality over each pair of UTP or CCI cable without slowing down. Accordingly, for each 4-pair UTP, up to 16 FullHD IP cameras can be connected to the video surveillance system at a distance of up to 1200 meters.


IVT-LAN9002SPE — for SCS, ACS and other systems

The use of IVT-LAN9002SPE switches with support for the new 10BASE-T1L standard opens up new possibilities for building Ethernet networks and connecting remote IP devices in various systems, incl.