If your WiFi is working normally, but you’re experiencing problems with your Ethernet connection, you’re probably quite confused, especially if you’re not too familiar with the difference between the two.
Yes, one connection can fail while the other functions perfectly, as they’re two completely different connections.
In this guide, we will focus on locating the Ethernet problem and different methods you can use to fix this internet connection issue and establish a stable Ethernet connection.
Why is Ethernet not working but WiFi is?
Before we dive into the most common issues affecting your Ethernet connection, let’s take a second to define the crucial differences between your Ethernet and WiFi connection.
When you think about it, a WiFi connection gives you much more freedom. Since it is a wireless connection, you’re not bound to a specific location, which makes it quite convenient, especially if multiple users exist.
However, an Ethernet connection is something many people prefer due to the advantage in maximum speed.
Ethernet is faster than a wireless connection and offers a steady, stable connection, and there are no constant fluctuations in the Ethernet network’s speed. Moreover, a wired Ethernet network provides overall better connectivity due to decreased latency, which many users (especially gamers) appreciate greatly.
Ethernet is generally a dominant option, in this case, so you may wonder what could cause an Ethernet problem while the WiFi is working impeccably?
The device prefers a WiFi connection.
While your WiFi connection should never interfere with the wired connection (Ethernet), your device could choose the wireless option and not select Ethernet when establishing a connection.
Luckily, this is just a matter of preference and not a complex error that will affect your network connection in the future.
Damaged wires or cables
Sometimes the issue isn’t in the software, the local area connection, or the network connection in general but in the system’s physical components.
If you have pets, you should always be on the lookout for damaged cables and wires, especially the network and Ethernet cables, which are the most essential elements.
Cables and other elements can also get damaged due to regular wear and tear, but if you place them too close to other objects, such as walls, which may cause friction.
Issues with your computer
If your Ethernet network isn’t working, but the WiFi is connected, the issue may lie in your computer.
Internet access could be compromised by pending system updates, outdated drivers, automatic sleep mode, or a corrupted operating system.
What’s more, your computer could be exposed to malware affecting your wired connection and the entire system.
How to fix Ethernet not working but WiFi is
When it comes to Ethernet connection issues, the problems vary from the minor bugs in a system to more complex tasks that require more time and effort.
Nevertheless, we will present the most efficient methods you can use to fix an Ethernet connection and ensure that both the wired and the wireless connections are functioning without delays and hiccups.
1. Change the preferences
While both the Ethernet and the wireless connection should be working simultaneously, your computer could choose the WiFi option while disregarding the Ethernet. In this case, you could turn off the WiFi in network settings on your computer and practically force the system to choose Ethernet.
It is also necessary to ensure that you’ve correctly set up the Ethernet network and that it is turned on before selecting it on your device.
To ensure that the Ethernet network cable is enabled on your device, go to Settings and search for Network & Internet.
Select this tab. Then, navigate to Status and choose “Change adapter options.” In this menu, right-click on the Ethernet button and click “Enable.”
Once the Ethernet network cable is enabled, you can disable the WiFi option by finding the WiFi icon in your desktop’s bottom right corner and clicking on “WiFi” to turn it off temporarily.
If you also need WiFi and don’t want to turn it off for your Ethernet network to work, you can also try giving priority to Ethernet. In this case, the computer should automatically choose the Ethernet connection instead of the wireless.
To do so, go to Settings, find Network & Internet, and select Status. Choose Change Adapter Options, and navigate to Ethernet.
Right-click on the Ethernet button and click on Properties. Then, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and choose Properties.
Navigate to Advanced under the General tab, and find the Interface metric box, which should have a number indicated.
Delete this number and type in “1” to set the priority for the Ethernet. Confirm by clicking Ok.
2. Check all the cables and ports
The basis of every stable wired connection are proper, high-quality elements. Inspect every wire, cable, and port for defects and/or blockages when troubleshooting your device.
Tighten any loose connections and clean all ports using a vacuum cleaner and a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol.
The cables should not be pushed against an object or trapped underneath furniture, as this can cause friction and damage these important components.
If any cables are old or worn out, make sure to replace them with new ones. Always consult the user manual to ensure you’ve plugged the wires into their respective ports.
You also want to avoid using long cables, which could cause connectivity issues.
3. Check your computer
Specific settings or errors in your computer system could jeopardize the Ethernet connection and cause delays.
For instance, if your computer automatically goes into Sleep Mode, this setting will also interrupt the Ethernet connection. It is recommended to disable this mode by launching the Device Manager, then opening up the menu under “Network adapters.”
Right-click on the Ethernet cable, go to Properties and uncheck the “Allow the computer to turn off this device” box. This will allow the Ethernet connection to remain, even when your computer goes into Sleep Mode.
It is also essential to keep the system up to date and update the drivers regularly. If the updates haven’t been performed automatically, you can always start them manually.
Go to System, select Update & Security, click on Windows Updates, and finally navigate to “Check for new updates.”
You should also ensure that the network adapter drivers are updated by launching the Device Manager and selecting Network adapters.
Right-click on your Ethernet network cable and hit “Update driver” to start any pending updates.
Finally, anti-malware software will not only ensure that viruses don’t interfere with your internet connection but will also protect the entire system.
If you suspect that your system has been infected, run a virus scan and remove any detected malware that could be affecting your Ethernet network.
4. Use the network troubleshooter
Did you know that Windows has a network troubleshooter to help you detect and fix multiple issues, including Ethernet connectivity problems?
In the taskbar search box, type in “troubleshooter” and launch Additional troubleshooters. Find the Internet Connections under the “Get up and running” tab, and select Network adapter under the “Find and fix other problems” tab.
This highly efficient troubleshooter should detect and fix any bugs automatically.