Optimizing Wired Network Speeds

The main factors that contribute to wired speeds are:

  • Physical (Layer 1) connections between your networking devices
  • Available device resources (e.g., CPU and Memory)
  • Protocol limitations
  • Software or configuration limitations


Check Your Cabling and Negotiated Port Speeds

Use the UniFi Network Application to look for unexpectedly low port speeds which can indicate that the cable is damaged, or not properly plugged in. First try to unplug and replug the cable, and then swap out the cable for a new one if issues remain. We recommend using SFP/SFP+ modules or DAC cables, when possible, to maximize speeds. Otherwise, use CAT6 RJ45 cables

Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Network Cabling for more information. 

Minimize Network Congestion

A high number of concurrent clients routing traffic through a local network device, like a single switch, may reduce throughput. To resolve this, we recommend using higher capacity switches and optimizing your wireless environment.

Be Aware of Protocol and Client Limitations

Certain protocols offer  lower performance. For example, L2TP VPNs are relatively slower compared to Wireguard or Teleport. Another example of a traditionally slow protocol is SMB file transfers.

Similarly, some clients may be limited by the resource intensity of the applications they run, independently of your network.

Use DHCP or Static WAN (Internet) Connection When Possible

PPPoE is a very CPU-intensive protocol that may reduce throughput compared to DHCP or Static IP configurations.

Remove Traffic Rules and Bandwidth Profiles That Limit Client Traffic

We always recommend taking a moment to verify that there are no active Traffic Rules or Bandwidth Profiles reducing client throughput.

Be Aware of Resource-intensive Software Features

Resource-intensive features such as Threat Management and Smart Queues may reduce throughput by up to 30%. Please consider this when prioritizing network speed, performance, and security.

Note: Smart Queues are only recommended if you have expected Internet speeds of 250 Mbps or less and you consistently have more internet traffic than your bandwidth can support.

Other features that may impact throughput include: 

  • Device and Traffic Identification (Deep Packet Inspection)
  • Firewall Rules
  • Content Filters
  • VPNs 

To approximate your deployment’s resource usage, try our UniFi Console Resource Calculator

Note: These features will only affect traffic routed through your gateway or to the internet. It should not affect LAN traffic between devices on the same network.

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