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Broadband doctor: When your ethernet connection is stubbornly “limited”

Question: Firstly, I run my company from home. My WiFi connection is fine, but when I switch to an ethernet connection it just says ?limited connection?. It started a few days ago and has been a constant problem since. As far as I know nothing has changed between when it was working and now and troubleshooting reveals nothing.

Answer: The first thing to say, is that this is very likely to be nothing to do with your broadband provider, or your router (particularly if you have another device that connects over ethernet and that is working perfectly well). This issue is most often down to problems with the IP configuration of the computer involved, or possibly a driver issue (particularly if you know the computer just recently had an update).

Most computer ethernet connections have a status light on the socket so first check that this is working, and swap to a different cable and a different LAN port on the router. On Windows, to force a new IP address for the PC, the commands IPCONFIG /RELEASE and IPCONFIG /RENEW ran from the command prompt will refresh any dynamic IP address.

Another option is that you may have manually configured the IP address on the PC in the past but the settings are now wrong, so try switching the ethernet network interface back to getting its IP address automatically (otherwise known as DHCP).

If using Windows 10 this problem is common enough that Microsoft has a “Fix network connection issues in Windows 10” page.

While many broadband providers will try and help with PC type issues they cannot help with them all, and if online resources are not helping it may be worth finding a local IT person who will attend and work through the issue.

Word of mouth recommendation from others is a good guide, as the complexity of PC problems means it is all too easy for people to use magic and techie terminology to fool us into parting with money.

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes and feel to ask us your broadband queries. Get in touch via email ([email protected]) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

Image: Shutterstock


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