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What Is an Ethernet Port?

Find out what Ethernet ports are and where they are used

one An Ethernet port (also known as a jack or plug) is an opening on a computer network device that connects an Ethernet cable. Its purpose is to connect wired network hardware in an Ethernet LAN, Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), or Wide Area Network (WAN).

Ethernet is pronounced with a long “e” in the word food† Ethernet ports are also known by other names, such as LAN port, Ethernet connection, Ethernet connector, LAN plug, and network port.

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Everything you need to know about Ethernet ports

what an ethernet port looks like

The Ethernet connection is located on the back of the computer or on the back or side of the laptop. A router can have multiple Ethernet ports to accommodate multiple wired devices on the network. The same goes for other networking hardware, such as hubs and modems.

The Ethernet port accepts cables with RJ-45 connectors. An alternative to using this cable with an Ethernet port is Wi-Fi, eliminating the need for the cable and port.

The Ethernet port is slightly wider than the phone jack. This shape prevents the Ethernet cable from plugging perfectly into the phone jack, which makes connecting the cable a little easier.

This is what an ethernet port looks like. It’s a square with some stiff areas at the bottom.

Michael Schwarzenberg /

Ethernet cables are constructed the same way, usually using clips to hold the cable in the Ethernet port.

Ethernet cable.

Jorge Gillen /

Ethernet port on your computer

Most desktop computers have a built-in Ethernet port for connecting devices to a wired network. The computer’s built-in Ethernet port connects to its internal Ethernet network adapter, called an Ethernet card, which connects to the motherboard.

Laptops often also have an Ethernet port for connecting to networks that do not have wireless capabilities. The exception is the MacBook Air, which doesn’t have an Ethernet port, but supports connecting an Ethernet dongle to a USB port on your computer.

Ethernet Port Troubleshooting

If your computer is having trouble connecting to the Internet, the first thing to look at is the Ethernet port.

Here are three reasons for connection problems:

  • The network cable has been disconnected.† This condition usually prevents the network cable from being disconnected. This error message occurs when moving a computer or laptop, causing the cable to be unplugged from the Ethernet port.
  • network card not inserted† If the computer has been moved, the Ethernet card may come out of the expansion slot on the system board.
  • Corrupted or missing network card driver† Another thing related to the Ethernet port is the network driver for the network card, which may be outdated, corrupted or missing. One of the easiest ways to install network drivers is to use a free driver update utility.

Ethernet port on the router

All popular broadband routers have one or more Ethernet ports. This setting allows multiple wired computers on the network to access the Internet and other connected devices on the network.

The uplink port (also called the WAN port) is a special Ethernet connector on the router that connects to the broadband modem. Wireless routers have one WAN port and usually four additional Ethernet ports for wired connections.

Ethernet Ports in Consumer Electronics

Other types of consumer devices, such as game consoles, digital video recorders, and televisions, include Ethernet ports for home networking. Another example is the Google Chromecast, for which you can buy an Ethernet adapter so you can use the Chromecast without Wi-Fi.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an Ethernet connection the fastest way to connect to the Internet? Ethernet cables can be much faster than Wi-Fi can reliably deliver, but not all cables and all routers are created equal, so a very good Wi-Fi setup can outperform a very good one.
  • Why is my ethernet port not working at the listed speed? The Ethernet cable used is just as important as the connection. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a cable that matches the speed your port supports, so check your router’s listed specs online or in its manual.
  • Do you need Ethernet to connect to the Internet? Ethernet is one way to access the Internet, and Wi-Fi is another. Either one will do, you don’t need both.

Content

What Is an Ethernet Port?

Learn what Ethernet ports are and where they are used

An Ethernet port (also called a jack or socket) is an opening on computer network equipment that Ethernet cables plug into. Their purpose is to connect wired network hardware in an Ethernet LAN, metropolitan area network (MAN), or wide area network (WAN).

Ethernet is pronounced with a long “e” as in the word eat. Ethernet ports go by other names also, such as LAN ports, Ethernet connections, Ethernet jacks, LAN sockets, and network ports.
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Everything You Need to Know About Ethernet Ports
What Ethernet Ports Look Like

Ethernet connections are found on the back of a computer or the back or side of a laptop. A router may have several Ethernet ports to accommodate multiple wired devices on a network. The same is true for other network hardware like hubs and modems.

An Ethernet port accepts a cable that has an RJ-45 connector. The alternative to using such a cable with an Ethernet port is Wi-Fi, which eliminates the need for both the cable and the port.

An Ethernet port is a little wider than a phone jack. Because of this shape, it’s impossible to neatly fit an Ethernet cable into a phone jack, which makes it a little easier when plugging in cables.

This is what an Ethernet port looks like. It’s a square with a couple of rigid areas at the bottom.

Michael Schwarzenberger / Pixabay
The Ethernet cable is built the same way, usually with a clip to hold the cable in the Ethernet port.

Jorge Guillen / Pixabay Ethernet Ports on Computers

Most desktop computers include one built-in Ethernet port that is used to connect the device to a wired network. A computer’s built-in Ethernet port is connected to its internal Ethernet network adapter, called an Ethernet card, which is attached to the motherboard.

Laptops usually have an Ethernet port, too, to connect to a network that doesn’t have wireless capabilities. An exception is the MacBook Air, which doesn’t have an Ethernet port but does support connecting an Ethernet dongle to a USB port on the computer.

Troubleshoot Ethernet Port Issues

If your computer experiences internet connectivity issues, the Ethernet port is the first place to look.

Here are three reasons for connectivity issues:

The network cable is unplugged. This condition often results in a network cable is unplugged error. This error message appears when a computer or laptop is moved, which can knock the cable out of the Ethernet port.
The network card is unseated. If the computer has been moved around, the Ethernet card may come unseated from the expansion slot on the motherboard.
Network card drivers are corrupt or missing. Something else related to the Ethernet port is the network driver for the network card, which can become outdated, corrupt, or missing. One of the easiest ways to install a network driver is with a free driver updater tool.
Ethernet Ports on Routers

All popular broadband routers feature one or more Ethernet ports. With this setup, multiple wired computers in a network can reach the internet and the other connected devices on the network.

An uplink port (also called a WAN port) is a special Ethernet jack on a router that connects to a broadband modem. Wireless routers include a WAN port and typically four additional Ethernet ports for wired connections.

Ethernet Ports on Consumer Electronics

Other types of consumer gadgets (such as video game consoles, digital video recorders, and televisions) include Ethernet ports for home networking. Another example is Google Chromecast, for which you can buy an Ethernet adapter so that you can use Chromecast without Wi-Fi.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is an ethernet connection the fastest way to connect to the internet? Ethernet cables can be rated for speeds much higher than what Wi-Fi can reliably transmit, but not every cable and every router is the same, so a very good Wi-Fi setup can outclass a very bad ethernet setup.
Why isn’t my ethernet port running at its listed speeds? The ethernet cable one uses is equally important as the connection. You have to make sure the cable you’re using is rated for the speed your port supports, so be sure to consult your router’s listed specifications online or in the manual.
Do you need ethernet to connect to the internet? Ethernet is one way to access the internet with Wi-Fi being the other major way. Either one works, and you won’t need both.

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Tài Chính Kinh Doanh

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