Computers & Electronics

Help please...wired internet suddenly extremely slow.

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 25th, 2023 6:19 pm
Deal Addict
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Feb 12, 2002
3945 posts

Help please...wired internet suddenly extremely slow.

My parents are on 150mbps fido cable internet.
They have a sff Dell desktop wired directly to the Fido modem/router.
A few days ago, my dad called me saying that the internet on the dell stopped working, (though their tablet, phones, windows laptop and chromebook that connects to wifi are fine).
I went over with an extra ethernet cable, a spare usb ethernet adapter, and an old n300 usb wifi adapter just in case.
I get there and see the activity light on the modem/router port connected to the dell flashes orange instead of green. Network status in Windows 10 shows its connected to the internet, however speed is extremely slow and essentially unusable, like under 200 kbps.
Network troubleshooting is not a strength of mine.
I rebooted the modem/router, swapped cables. tried all ports, tried the usb ethernet adapter instead of the built in ethernet...same result - orange light, very slow internet.
Wired their windows laptop directly to the modem/ router and that worked just fine - green light, fast internet.
Obviously something specific to the dell hardwiring is messed up.
In the end, i stuck the old usb wifi stick in the back of the dell - internet speed more than adequate for their needs (mainly in the 30-40 mbps range which is fine), and left it at that.
Yesterday dad calls me again. tells me that the wifi on the dell (that I installed days prior) works most of the time but occasionally it loses connection and websites will time out or give an error, which can get annoying. I haven't used that usb in years but i recall that it can get very warm, and given its age, possibly not the most reliable for daily usage nowadays.
Then I remembered i had a very old Trendnet wired router in drawer at my folks. I thought, let me connect the Trendnet router to the fido modem/router...then connect the dell pc (wired) to the Trendnet router and see what happens...and that worked! Green flashing lights on both routers, and stable internet at 40-60 mbps (speed limitations of old router). we left it live streaming for a while over dinner to make sure it was reliable. and I left it set up that way.
Can anyone explain to me why the internet suddenly got all wonky (orange) when wired directly to the fido modem/router...but now it works fine again (albeit slower) using an old wired router as the "middleman".
And how can I fix it so it works again as set up originally with the dell pc wired directly to the fido modem/router??
Thanks for those that read all this and can offer some direction. I'm almost certain that there's a simple solution to all this, and I didn't have to type all of the above...but again, I'm no expert here...and damn, what a long post :)
Last edited by Fightguard on Jan 25th, 2023 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
3 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 10, 2004
2880 posts
If applicable,
Check/update the "DELL" BIOS.

If running Windows 10/11 with default automatic updates enabled,
Check if it has "updated" the network chip/LAN driver on the DELL.
If so, remove Windows driver and reinstall DELL's current LAN driver.
Deal Addict
Dec 11, 2008
1550 posts
Which modem do you have?

Check that your ethernet cable isn't something older than a CAT5e or so or only has 2 pairs of wires connecting or possibly damaged cable.
If that's ok, check the ethernet port on the computer and router and see if there are any bent pins in the ports.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to check the modem and feel if it's warm or even hot. If it is, replace it.

Having said that, I do remember that there was something about a bad Intel driver that was sent from the Microsoft Update servers but I think that it only related to a 2.5Gb/s network card.
Either way, you could go the website and select Support from the top menu. If it doesn't detect your Service Tag, it should be on a sticker on the top of the computer or possible on the side.
Check for network drivers and download and install.

Alternatively, go to the Intel website and download/install the Intel Driver & Support Assistant and have it scan your computer for updates and install:

The above should be the correct link but try the below if it doesn't work: ... stant.html
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
4880 posts
Fightguard wrote: tried the usb ethernet adapter instead of the built in ethernet...same result - orange light, very slow internet.
The USB ethernet adapter will very likely use different drivers than the SFF's motherboard. So if you got the same result but with a different NIC, it's likely not the drivers. Also, if it was the drivers, then plugging it into the Trendnet shouldn't make a difference since the drivers didn't change.

The steps you did to rule other everything were comprehensive and I can't really think of anything else that wasn't ruled out. I was leaning towards a bent pin in the SFF's port that plugging/unplugging a lot eventually fixed, but then it wouldn't explain why the USB ethernet adapter didn't work.

I've had many instances of bad wired internet that I've traced to something bending the cable 90 degrees or more. Although you changed the cable, if you followed the same path, and had to really bend the cable (or the cable or plug gets squished when you push it back towards the wall), you may get a bad signal. And perhaps by adding the Trendnet, you altered the path in a way that cable isn't bent?


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