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Steam downloads much faster over Wifi connection compared to 20ft ethernet

MacGuy
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I noticed this recently and it has me puzzled.  I was downloading a 55GB game over ethernet and my wife downloaded the same game over wifi much faster.  I later did a quick experiment when I was the only one in the house to ensure nobody else was downloading: started the 55GB download over ethernet, and my speed stabilized at about 100Mbps.  When I unplugged the ethernet cable during the download, it shot up to 700+ Mbps.  Further perplexing, if I plug the cable back in the higher speed remains.  Speedtest.net results are almost identical over Wifi or ethernet (700-900 Mbps).

 

Has anyone experienced this before?  I wasn't able to find a Steam setting that would prefer Wifi, or any strange router settings throttling my ethernet.  If its helpful, my motherboard is Asus B550I with a 2.5Gbps lan, and my router lan ports are all rated to 1Gbps (Asus RT-AC5300)

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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Probably a bad cable if you only get 100 Mbps over the cable. Windows also prefers Ethernet cable over WiFi.

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13 minutes ago, jj9987 said:

Probably a bad cable if you only get 100 Mbps over the cable. Windows also prefers Ethernet cable over WiFi.

I thought that too when I first started down this rabbit hole, but I do get the expected speeds when using Speedtest.net, and after plugging the ethernet cable back in during the download.  I did try a shorter 6 ft cable before coming here to post, both cables are CAT6.  Just weird behavior.

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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Just now, Jimmy_Neutron said:

So does the shorter cable change anything?

 

No change when using the shorter cable.

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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Could be router issue with LAN, could be driver issue, could be the ethernet port on the Motherboard but a quick search shows that people have had up problems with LAN with the  B550  series and Realtek 2.5G so it could be just your motherboard. If your wife doesn't have Realtek 2.5g or a B550 series then you could see if the same thing happens.

 

Also is it using Wi-Fi after plug in or ethernet or still Wi-Fi 

AND i really don't know anything about PCs so... 

I literally won't be able to help at all, l just thought I would (try) to say something helpful 👍

 

Imo (which is not that great as i don't know anything about PCs)  it is either Realtek or motherboard.

 

 

[Support] B550 F with ethernet problems : ASUS (reddit.com) 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Jimmy_Neutron said:

Could be router issue with LAN, could be driver issue, could be the ethernet port on the Motherboard but a quick search shows that people have had up problems with LAN with the  B550  series and Realtek 2.5G so it could be just your motherboard. If your wife doesn't have Realtek 2.5g or a B550 series then you could see if the same thing happens.

 

Also is it using Wi-Fi after plug in or ethernet or still Wi-Fi 

AND i really don't know anything about PCs so... 

I literally won't be able to help at all, l just thought I would (try) to say something helpful 👍

 

Imo (which is not that great as i don't know anything about PCs)  it is either Realtek or motherboard.

 

 

[Support] B550 F with ethernet problems : ASUS (reddit.com) 

 

 

Thanks, I'll read up on this!

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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2 hours ago, MacGuy said:

Further perplexing, if I plug the cable back in the higher speed remains.  Speedtest.net results are almost identical over Wifi or ethernet (700-900 Mbps).

Ive found If you plug in a ethernet cable while its doing somthing on the network it will not automatically swap over

So it was likley still using wifi

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8 minutes ago, Hachi_Roku256563 said:

Ive found If you plug in a ethernet cable while its doing somthing on the network it will not automatically swap over

So it was likley still using wifi

Ahh good to know, thanks!

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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5 hours ago, Jimmy_Neutron said:

Could be router issue with LAN, could be driver issue, could be the ethernet port on the Motherboard but a quick search shows that people have had up problems with LAN with the  B550  series and Realtek 2.5G so it could be just your motherboard. If your wife doesn't have Realtek 2.5g or a B550 series then you could see if the same thing happens.

 

Also is it using Wi-Fi after plug in or ethernet or still Wi-Fi 

AND i really don't know anything about PCs so... 

I literally won't be able to help at all, l just thought I would (try) to say something helpful 👍

 

Imo (which is not that great as i don't know anything about PCs)  it is either Realtek or motherboard.

 

 

[Support] B550 F with ethernet problems : ASUS (reddit.com) 

 

 

So I read up on this thread and a bit of googling on my own, however this issue is a bit different than my own.  The users here are not able to use ethernet at all, where as mine only seems to have strange behavior when I download a game from Steam.  I guess I should count myself lucky that the port works at all.  I'd try it on my wife's PC but we have the same motherboard.

 

Thanks for the response though!

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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On 11/29/2021 at 2:43 AM, MacGuy said:

So I read up on this thread and a bit of googling on my own, however this issue is a bit different than my own.  The users here are not able to use ethernet at all, where as mine only seems to have strange behavior when I download a game from Steam.  I guess I should count myself lucky that the port works at all.  I'd try it on my wife's PC but we have the same motherboard.

 

Thanks for the response though!

Check your installed software carefully in case there is some sort of game optimisation control panel that throttles downloads.  It might be set to only act on ethernet for some reason.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak) + Ubiquiti nanoHD (OpenWRT)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + Lebara 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~700Mbit during quiet hours, ~500Mbit peak hours)

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On 11/29/2021 at 8:42 AM, mtz_federico said:

Have you checked the adapter settings to see if your PC is using gigabit?

Hey, can confirm, the adapter is set to 1000Mbps

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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14 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Check your installed software carefully in case there is some sort of game optimisation control panel that throttles downloads.  It might be set to only act on ethernet for some reason.

Hey I thought you cracked it, I did have something in my anti-virus (Bitdefender) that said it was in "game mode" and that it was "optimizing game performance." I retried the download after completely disabling the optimization as well as anti-virus as a whole, but no difference.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if the limit is a soft limit on the Steam server side.  For example, if Steam normally see me online and I only use ~100Mbps because that's all it needs to use, it remembers me and I default to that speed for download? Total guess, but to me it would kind of make sense, and changing my connection from ethernet to WiFi would make me look just different enough to the server to have it try pushing the speed? Again, I'm making this up as I go not knowing if that's a thing, just seems strange to only have this happen on Steam downloads specifically🤷🏻‍♂️.

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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Do you have another switch in your network you are connecting too?  My brother got bell 1gbit internet but had a 100mbit switch in his basement.  He was connecting through it, so wifi was fast, ethernet was capped at 100mbit.    Also some routers come with fast WIFI but only 100mbit LAN ports.  Are you connecting directly to your router with the ethernet?  What model of router do you have?

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19 minutes ago, Allan B said:

Do you have another switch in your network you are connecting too?  My brother got bell 1gbit internet but had a 100mbit switch in his basement.  He was connecting through it, so wifi was fast, ethernet was capped at 100mbit.    Also some routers come with fast WIFI but only 100mbit LAN ports.  Are you connecting directly to your router with the ethernet?  What model of router do you have?

I did verify that the port on the router (Asus RT AC5300) and my motherboard are at least 1Gbps.  The motherboard is actually 2.5Gbps and is directly connected to the router. The thing is I can speed test at 800+Mbps on both ethernet and WiFi, but Steam downloading specifically is much slower or ethernet.

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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7 hours ago, MacGuy said:

I'm beginning to wonder if the limit is a soft limit on the Steam server side.  For example, if Steam normally see me online and I only use ~100Mbps because that's all it needs to use, it remembers me and I default to that speed for download? Total guess, but to me it would kind of make sense, and changing my connection from ethernet to WiFi would make me look just different enough to the server to have it try pushing the speed? Again, I'm making this up as I go not knowing if that's a thing, just seems strange to only have this happen on Steam downloads specifically🤷🏻‍♂️.

As far as Steam is concerned it wont care if you are on WiFi or Wired, it still sees the same IP address coming from your router so it should make zero difference.  This almost certainly has to be something on your PC doing this as its Windows that sees Wired and Wireless as different networks and can treat them differently.

Router: i5-7200U appliance running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak) + Ubiquiti nanoHD (OpenWRT)
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + Lebara 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~700Mbit during quiet hours, ~500Mbit peak hours)

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11 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

As far as Steam is concerned it wont care if you are on WiFi or Wired, it still sees the same IP address coming from your router so it should make zero difference.  This almost certainly has to be something on your PC doing this as its Windows that sees Wired and Wireless as different networks and can treat them differently.

The thing that's strange though is its only Steam downloads that are affected, and I can't find anything that would single out Steam in any way.  The system is pretty new, and has very little software installed since its gaming only.  Its pretty much Steam, Discord, Bitdefender, Razor Synapse (headphones), NZXT CAM.  Super strange

Daily driver: Mac Mini 2018

Gaming: 5800x/3080ti

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Check the Steam settings for a speed limit.

 

The only other thing that I can think of is to clean the ethernet ports on both your motherboard and router.

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