This is a wild theory, but I think it could be a matter of whether the devices can handle crossover cables or not.
In the good old days normal cables were straight, in a network switch or hub the pins corresponding to the devices TX were RX and vice versa. This meant a straight cable could be used to connect a computer to a network switch or hub.
For uplink between two network switches you needed a crossover cable (cross-connecting TX to RX) because otherwise you would connect TX to TX and RX to RX.
Later on network switches were designed with a dedicated uplink port, which could be switched over between "straight" and "crossed" (manually or automatically). This meant you could always use straight cables (but crossover could still be used between network switches).
Modern network switches have autodetect for uplink on ALL ports (meaning any port can be used as uplink). This means they can handle both straight and crossover cables.
I think maybe also modern NICs for computers can have autodetect. If both ends support autodetect they might be able to negotiate a connection on "the wrong pairs" in the cable if "the right pairs" are not working. But if only one end supports autodetect this will fail.
I bought a cheap cable tester a week ago because I have always hated not knowing if the cable is working or not... And it's a pain to test using a multimeter or a buzzer of the ends of the cable are far apart. Now I just plug in the two parts of the tester in each end and watch the LEDs and see if there is open circuit or if some leads are crossed.