zorinlynx

macrumors 604
Original poster
May 31, 2007
6,610
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Florida, USA
I recently upgraded my internet to 150mbps down and noticed that when my Apple TV HD (ATV4) is connected to wired ethernet, it maxes out at around 66mbps on a speedtest. When I unplug the ethernet and let it join WiFi, it maxes out at around 173mbps!

Do others have this experience too or is something screwy with my network? I'm aware that it is a 100mbps network port so I don't expect faster than 100mbps but at least I should get that if the WiFi can do 173mbps!
 

mhmercer

macrumors newbie
Jul 19, 2019
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I have gigabit Ethernet and a gigabit router. Hardwired, I see more than 900 Mb/s both upload and download. With a 5 GHz WiFi signal, I see about 250 Mb/s both ways.
 
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brucewayne

macrumors regular
Nov 8, 2005
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I have gigabit Ethernet and a gigabit router. Hardwired, I see more than 900 Mb/s both upload and download. With a 5 GHz WiFi signal, I see about 250 Mb/s both ways.

You likely have a 4K with gigabit, the OP with an HD has 10/100

I recently upgraded my internet to 150mbps down and noticed that when my Apple TV HD (ATV4) is connected to wired ethernet, it maxes out at around 66mbps on a speedtest. When I unplug the ethernet and let it join WiFi, it maxes out at around 173mbps!

Do others have this experience too or is something screwy with my network? I'm aware that it is a 100mbps network port so I don't expect faster than 100mbps but at least I should get that if the WiFi can do 173mbps!


Lots of things affect your ethernet speed - overhead in the router, error correction etc. Even though the wireless peaks faster I'd rather have the wired connection at 66

Honestly I wouldn't worry about it much since even the ATV 4k starts choking on content over 30-35Mbps (like full blu-ray rips) and most streaming 1080 programming doesn't exceed 8-10Mbps.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
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Wireless, I am able to get well over 300Mbps on my ATV4 which is two floors away from by 6th gen AirPort Extreme. Wired, I get about 94Mbps.

I recently upgraded my internet to 150mbps down and noticed that when my Apple TV HD (ATV4) is connected to wired ethernet, it maxes out at around 66mbps on a speedtest. When I unplug the ethernet and let it join WiFi, it maxes out at around 173mbps!
Check your cable. Are you reusing a cable that you had sitting around?

Some devices that come with CAT5e cables only have 2 pairs inside. This would drop top speed a little under 100Mbps on a Gigabit port. Kind of weird that yours is all the way down to 66Mbps, but maybe it is because the ATV4 has a 10/100 port.

Not sure if that is your issue, but worth checking out.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
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Test your local network speed, not the speed provided by your ISP, by using a program such as Lakehorns' Network Speed Tester. You run a server program on your Mac (or other Apple Device), and the client app on your Apple TV, iPad, iPhone etc. This gives you the speed on your local network. If the values are low then you know you have to look at your router connection.

Client image is from my iPhone as my Apple TV Developer Hud screen shot is not working.

IMG_0581.jpg

Since even the ATV 4k starts choking on content over 30-35Mbps (like full blu-ray rips) and most streaming 1080 programming doesn't exceed 8-10Mbps.

I've never experienced that, with speeds over 100 Mbps with 4K UHD sources. For example I'm streaming Enders Game at a total bitrate of 73 Mbps with no problems:

IMG_0582.jpg
 
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Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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Funny timing for this thread. I just recently upgraded to gigabit service and decided to speed test my devices. Similar to the OP, I noticed that my ATV4 HD was maxing out at about 55Mbps. I don't think I realized the extra overhead slowing down a 10/100 connection. On Wifi I'm getting around 450Mbps. I think I'm going to try wifi for a while, despite the commonly accepted practice of preferring ethernet. Maybe it'll help with the Plex buffering I get hitting my local server.
 
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HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
3,088
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I just recently upgraded to gigabit service and decided to speed test my devices. Similar to the OP, I noticed that my ATV4 HD was maxing out at about 55Mbps. I don't think I realized the extra overhead slowing down a 10/100 connection.

Not sure I understand. You say you have gigabit internet service, but a 10/100 hardwired connection? That would be unusual as gigabit ethernet is pretty much the standard, unless you have a slow switch/hub.

For a wired connection doing an internet speed test you should be getting speeds in the 800-900 Gbps range, which is just about the theoretical maximum. If you aren't then you need to start troubleshooting all of the hardware in the chain - cables, modems, routers, switches, hubs, etc.
 
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ruka.snow

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Jun 6, 2017
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10/100 and even 55 Mbps should be more than fast enough for streaming to the ATV4 HD. Perhaps some deliberate limit like the Nintendo Switch or the cable run is too long. Ether way, I would not worry about it.
 
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Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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My point wasn't that 55Mbps isn't enough for streaming. It was that 1) I was surprised at the overhead, getting only 55Mbps and nowhere near 100Mbps when connected via ethernet, and 2) since my wifi speeds with it are soooo much faster, I'm going to give wifi a try, despite conventional wisdom to always use ethernet when available. Wifi has come a long way, and considering my apple tv sits literally 12 inches from the router, why not try it.


10/100 and even 55 Mbps should be more than fast enough for streaming to the ATV4 HD. Perhaps some deliberate limit like the Nintendo Switch or the cable run is too long. Ether way, I would not worry about it.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
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despite conventional wisdom to always use ethernet when available.
Even with the advances in Wifi, for most devices a wired connection is still a better way to connect for many different reasons, such as latency, jitter, packet loss, interference, transfer speed, security, etc.

Wifi has one main advantage, that being convenience, and wired is better for most other things.

But just because wired is better doesn't mean wireless is bad, which is sometimes forgotten when people have this debate.

For the ATV4, it gets even more confusing on what to use considering Apple decided to use 10/100 over Gigabit and the Wifi is capable of much higher speeds.

The newer ATV4K has a Gigabit port and Gigabit Ethernet is pretty much the standard now, but in 2015, many people were not happy that Apple used the older ethernet standard for the ATV4, but maybe because Apple figured that 100Mbps was overkill for most users anyway, so why go even faster?

Even with wifi being potentially faster than ethernet on the ATV4, there are still plenty of reasons that using a slower wired connection would be better than using a faster Wifi connection.

Although, none of that explains why you are getting only 55Mbps.

My point wasn't that 55Mbps isn't enough for streaming. It was that 1) I was surprised at the overhead, getting only 55Mbps and nowhere near 100Mbps when connected via ethernet, and 2) since my wifi speeds with it are soooo much faster, I'm going to give wifi a try, despite conventional wisdom to always use ethernet when available.
Just like the OP, it is strange that you are getting such a low speed on your ATV4 when using a wired connection.

My guess is that it is the cable, the router, or maybe the ATV has some HW issues.

I would definitely try a different cable and also try a different port on the router or switch, and see if that helps.

Do you have another device that you can test the wired speed? This could help eliminate possible issues. If a different device gets the same speed when using the same connection, it is probably a cable issues, or something going on with the switch/router.

Or.....
Wifi has come a long way, and considering my apple tv sits literally 12 inches from the router, why not try it.
If you are happy with the experience on Wifi, just stick with that. I think for most users, Wifi would be fine.

While wired is generally better, many of the benefits of a wired connection won't matter as much when doing something like streaming Netflix or Disney Plus.

If you do stuff in realtime like gaming or AirPlay Mirroring, you could potentially see better performance with a wired connection.
 
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Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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I've tried new cables, new gigabit switch and new router. Didn't change anything. Other wired devices are getting normal/full speeds, so it's unique to the Apple TV. Not quite ready to factory restore it to see if that helps. I do use airplay quite a bit, so I'll see how using wifi works versus ethernet. It's an interesting experiment. Whenever Apple releases a new model I'll be picking that up, so don't really want to spend too much more time on it 😎


Even with the advances in Wifi, for most devices a wired connection is still a better way to connect for many different reasons, such as latency, jitter, packet loss, interference, transfer speed, security, etc.

Wifi has one main advantage, that being convenience, and wired is better for most other things.

But just because wired is better doesn't mean wireless is bad, which is sometimes forgotten when people have this debate.

For the ATV4, it gets even more confusing on what to use considering Apple decided to use 10/100 over Gigabit and the Wifi is capable of much higher speeds.

The newer ATV4K has a Gigabit port and Gigabit Ethernet is pretty much the standard now, but in 2015, many people were not happy that Apple used the older ethernet standard for the ATV4, but maybe because Apple figured that 100Mbps was overkill for most users anyway, so why go even faster?

Even with wifi being potentially faster than ethernet on the ATV4, there are still plenty of reasons that using a slower wired connection would be better than using a faster Wifi connection.

Although, none of that explains why you are getting only 55Mbps.


Just like the OP, it is strange that you are getting such a low speed on your ATV4 when using a wired connection.

My guess is that it is the cable, the router, or maybe the ATV has some HW issues.

I would definitely try a different cable and also try a different port on the router or switch, and see if that helps.

Do you have another device that you can test the wired speed? This could help eliminate possible issues. If a different device gets the same speed when using the same connection, it is probably a cable issues, or something going on with the switch/router.

Or.....

If you are happy with the experience on Wifi, just stick with that. I think for most users, Wifi would be fine.

While wired is generally better, many of the benefits of a wired connection won't matter as much when doing something like streaming Netflix or Disney Plus.

If you do stuff in realtime like gaming or AirPlay Mirroring, you could potentially see better performance with a wired connection.
 
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AManInACan

macrumors member
Oct 2, 2015
45
80
I've tried new cables, new gigabit switch and new router. Didn't change anything. Other wired devices are getting normal/full speeds, so it's unique to the Apple TV. Not quite ready to factory restore it to see if that helps. I do use airplay quite a bit, so I'll see how using wifi works versus ethernet. It's an interesting experiment. Whenever Apple releases a new model I'll be picking that up, so don't really want to spend too much more time on it 😎

You don't say whether the other devices have 10/100 or Gigabit ethernet. I was just reading that 100Mb ethernet is only good for about 80Mbps under ideal conditions due to the overhead of signalling protocols, etc. If you factor in some interference from other devices on your network you might easily get down to 66Mbps. In your case the WiFi has a higher maximum throughput than the wires and that's what appears to be creating the difference. As others have pointed out, the Apple TV should work fine at 66Mbps and that's what counts.
 
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Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
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706
All my other wired devices use gigabit connections.

And again, even 50Mbps is fine for streaming. The point I was trying to make was that 1) I was surprised at how much 'loss' there is, and 2) since wifi appears to be so much faster on the Apple TV, I'm going to try it and see how it compares. It's easy enough to plug the cable back in. But perhaps I don't need to. We'll see.

You don't say whether the other devices have 10/100 or Gigabit ethernet. I was just reading that 100Mb ethernet is only good for about 80Mbps under ideal conditions due to the overhead of signalling protocols, etc. If you factor in some interference from other devices on your network you might easily get down to 66Mbps. In your case the WiFi has a higher maximum throughput than the wires and that's what appears to be creating the difference. As others have pointed out, the Apple TV should work fine at 66Mbps and that's what counts.
 
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