Improving Internet Speed

The download speed experienced on your computer depends on its distance from your router and the type of connection.

With my router at the opposite end of my house, my WiFi speed is around 16MB. When using an ethernet cable (to connect the computer to the router), the speed is around 90MB. But when I plug that same cable into an ethernet adapter, and the adapter into a UBS post, the speed jumps to around 270MB.

I have no idea why. But the gain in speed from using an adapter is more than worth its sub-$20 cost.

Arindam

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You must be using USB C connector on either a USB 3.2 (second gen?) port (Thunderbolt 3) or a USB4 port (Thunderbolt 4).

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Yea that really isn’t possible. You can’t jump from an ethernet cable to an adapter and get 3 times the speed. What you are getting from the ethernet cable is the correct speed.

Andy

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Andy,

My speeds are as I reported them. With the ethernet cable plugged into the computer’s ethernet port, I get 90MB download. But when an adapter is intervened and the UBS port is used, the speed averages 270MB.

The computer is a low end, Lenovo ideapad 330. The computer I just bought didn’t have an ethernet port, as don’t many of the lower-end, newer computers, just USB ports. So I had to buy an adapter, and then I thought to test to see what might be its impact.

Supposedly, my service plan is for 75MB. Obviously, I’m getting more.

Arindam

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Jerry,

The laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad 330. I have no idea what generation the USB ports are, but I doubt more than 2.0. The adapter is 3.0.

Arindam

How are you measuring those speeds?

–Peter

2 x USB 3, 1 x USB-C, Gigabit ethernet.

I recommend https://speed.cloudflare.com/ for measuring speed and latency.

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Arindam, I am not saying that is what you are reading, what I am saying that it is impossible. You can’t speed up the internet speed by putting an adapter and usb port onto it. The “True” speed is what is actually coming out of your ethernet port on your router from your ethernet cable.

Andy

Your provider chokes your speed from the port you are coming out of on their equipment. The speed can’t be any faster than the port you come out of. Think of it as a water faucet. When you turn the faucet on so water is flowing out of it at the maximum rate you can’t put a hose on the faucet and then hook something to the hose to make more water come out.

Andy

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I was surprised a few weeks ago when I found my limiting factor was the ethernet cable. I changed and in the process went from a Cat6 to a Cat5. Lowered my download from 370 Mbps to under 90. At that point, I did sort through my cables and ditched anything that was not Cat6 or better.

If somebody wants to measure their bandwidth, I suggest SpeedTest. They have apps for for computers and hand held devices. Also they have an internet version at SpeedTest.net And there is another internet one I commonly use at SpeedOf.me

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Andy,

I’m not saying that I’m speeding up the stream of bits and bytes. I’m saying that a fire hydrant of a stream was available to me that I wasn’t taking advantage of, and I
didn’t even know was available until I stumbled onto it.

A later poster in this thread says the same thing about the cables he was using. By upgrading them, he reduced his latency.

What has always been the sales push from the computer shops/mfgrs? That, of course, you want/need the latest, fastest, bestest. Well, that improved speed costs big bucks, and the dollars spent become wasted money in 3 months time as the next gen equipment/software hits the market.

Were it up to me, the world would still be running on DOS 5 --or better yet-- a Linux distro, and there’d be neighborhood computer shops where we’d still be buying parts and building our own. ((‘member “over-clocking”?) But “progress” happened, and I --and everyone else-- could soon buy for cheaper than we could build and Gates’ pastiche became a mostly useful OS (that then became a surveillance tool).

It’s been years since I’ve inside a computer, and I miss those days of being able to understand and fix the hardware/software I was using. What’s happened to car engines is what’s happened to computers. Yeah, things are faster, but also more fragile.

Arindam

Ok I think I understand what you are doing now. When you plug your ethernet cord into your computer your nic card is probably a 10/100 nic card. If you pay 14.99 and put a 1 gig nic card into your computer you will realize a faster speed. But instead you put an adapter on and are going through your usb port. So the speed was always at your modem port it was the Nic card in your computer that was limiting you?

Andy

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Andy,

BINGO! Your suggestion to replace the nic card is what I need to do. I just need to figure out how to do it, because I’ve never opened up a laptop.

Desktops? Built/rebuilt plenty of them, maybe 40 in all. I had boxes and boxes full of parts, a closet full of cases. But when laptops got so cheap, fast, and good, the hobby gradually died. These days, I don’t even know how to access the BIOS so I could set up a dual boot.

Arindam

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Raylight,

Thanks for the link, which is more comprehensive than most sites. But the reported speeds were very similar and --again-- pointed to the fact that my nic card needs upgrading.

Arindam

Arindam

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You may be stuck with the laptop. There is unlikely to be a separate, replaceable NIC card in a laptop.

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Thanks! Dug deeper on the Lenovo Ideapad 330 and to my surprise it looks like there’s a version with a 10/100 integrated NIC:

As tamhas pointed out, the NIC is likely part of the motherboard/chipset.

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If it uses USB C connector, then it is probably USB 3.2 (gen 2) up to maybe 10gb/sec = sub-5 MB/sec. TB3 is 20gb and TB4 is 40gb.

Most home networks don’t require anything more than a 10/100 nic . If you transfer very large files routinely/daily you might use a faster card if your router has the 10/100/1000 rating (for home network) and if your internet connection is 1 gig (for world wide web data transfer). HTH…doc

Below was a good read:
How to determine whether the network adapter is Gigabit Ethernet (wisecleaner.com)

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I just opened this thread (Topic), and figured from the start the speed of the ethernet port on the laptop was the issue. When it comes to anything ethernet I’ve been buying nothing less than gigabit capable for several years. I think I have an old 10/100 switch lying around somewhere. My ISP is charging me for 500 Mbps down, but I get 600. Do I need it? Probably not, but I’d rather have too much than too little. I had the luxury of being able to install a few ethernet outlets around the house (office, TV, stereo), running back to a switch at the router, so the most important stuff is plugged in.

When I switched to living on a laptop for the first time not too long ago I was surprised that it has no ethernet port! Normally it is plugged into a dock station that does have one, so I had forgotten until I was traveling. I pulled out the ethernet cable… and couldn’t use it. Since then I bought a USB/Ethernet dongle.

Playing with my Wifi, for years sourced on an older Apple Airport Extreme, with an Airport Express extension into the family room and the above Speed test, (https://speed.cloudflare.com/), I found the older Wifi units are pretty slow, but I have a newer, 5G Airport in my ‘office’ so it pulls the same as my ethernet via Comcast pulls. I may be limited by older switches in the LAN, too…

I hate to think I need to redo it all, redo all the gadgets tied to it… Maybe next year…

No real complaints, even as slow as it is… Some of the ethernet runs, Cat5, are pretty long, in conduit to get from my ‘office’ out to DW’s iMac, through the garage to get to the family room… So to upgrade to Cat6, new runs… And I’d have to actually buy a reel, I had a lot of Cat5 left over from my working days, hmmm, that was 20 years ago…

Yeah, maybe next year…

I recall Mesh setups being discussed back a ways, by GWPotter, I think, and came across this article, may have to save up some spare change, but the ford one is HomeKit compatible, so that might be the one I’d go for… Best Mesh Network Routers for Macs 2023 | Macworld

weco

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