Why is Spectrum internet slow? Possible fixes

Anton P. | November 13, 2023

Spectrum internet slow speeds can stem from a handful of causes. Among other things, router placement, number of connected devices, and browser cache can slow down your internet connection.

Simple ways to increase Spectrum internet speed include restarting your router and disconnecting unused devices. 

Below, you will find additional tips for fixing a slow Spectrum internet connection.

One of a myriad of issues could be making Spectrum internet slow but there are ways to fix these issues.

What can make Spectrum internet slow?

Your Spectrum internet might be slow because your internet plan won’t allow for faster speeds. In this case, you might consider upgrading to a faster internet service plan.

Before you do, though, you should consider other potential causes of slow internet speeds.

  • Additional programs might be running in the background, consuming bandwidth. A typical example of such a background app is peer-to-peer sharing software.
  • You might be having hardware issues. For example, the network adapter of the connected device could be damaged or outdated. Or your router might be incapable of handling higher speeds.
  • Physical objects blocking your router or modem could also be the cause of a slow Wi-Fi connection.
  • If you are using an Ethernet connection, your Ethernet cables might be damaged.
  • Too many devices connected to the same modem or router might be causing network congestion.
  • Temporary files piled up in your browser cache could make Spectrum internet slow.
  • Malware infecting your device could also cause connectivity problems and slow internet speed.
  • You might be suffering from ISP throttling. In 2018, Charter Communications Inc., whose trade name is Spectrum, paid $174 million to settle a Netflix throttling lawsuit.

Luckily, these issues that make your Spectrum internet slow correlate with possible solutions.

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Fixes for slow Spectrum internet

The best way to identify the issue that makes Spectrum internet slow is by taking steps to fix it. Try the following methods when applicable for your particular case.

Check what programs are running on your device

Force shut down the apps that you are not actively using if necessary. Pause all downloads and uploads running in the background if you can. Alternatively, wait for them to finish and check if your Spectrum internet speed increases.

Make sure your hardware and software are in working order

Check for updates for all your network software. See if your modem and router are capable of handling higher internet speeds. You might find this information either on the devices, in the manuals that came with them, or online.

You might want to consult a tech professional if you suspect any hardware damage. Before you do it, however, check other fixes on this list that you can do yourself.

Restart your modem and router

Try the oldest trick in the IT fixes book - restart your routing devices. Your modem or router might have a short-term problem, like overheating or low memory space.

Like with any computer, rebooting these devices halts all unfinished procedures. By waiting 10 seconds or longer, you ensure the memory clears, and the machine can start afresh.

Relocate your routing device

Make sure that your router is as close to the device you use for browsing as possible. If you need multiple devices to be connected, your router should be centrally located for best performance.

Additionally, remove all the objects around your device or router that might interfere with the connection.

Check Ethernet cable

Check the cable if your Spectrum internet is slow on an Ethernet connection. Your Ethernet cable might be cut, damaged, or pressed with a heavy object.

Unplug and replug the cable to ensure it is plugged in correctly. See if there is any visible damage on the connector at the end of the cable.

Switch from Wi-Fi to direct connection or vice versa

The best way to check if your connection method is making your Spectrum internet slow is by switching between connections. 

If you are using Wi-Fi, try connecting with an Ethernet cable and see if it makes a difference. And vice versa - if you are using the cable but the Wi-Fi option is available, try that.

Manage connected devices

Check how many and what devices are connected to your network. See if you recognize all the devices. Someone might be piggybacking on your Wi-Fi and slowing down your connection. In that case, you should set up or change your Wi-Fi password.

Consider your own devices and whether you need them connected all at once. Maybe you can sometimes disconnect some of them to improve Spectrum internet speeds.

Clear your browser cache

Data in your browser cache from previous sessions might clog up memory and slow down browser performance. Go to your browser history and clear browsing data that you do not need to be saved.

Scan for malware

Use antivirus software to scan your computer for malware. Malicious software might be slowing down your internet, stealing data, and doing further damage to your device.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will help protect your network. a VPN will hide your traffic from third parties. This decreases the chance of malicious actors having access to your connection.

Contact Spectrum customer support

If none of the above methods work, it is probably time to check with Spectrum themselves. Contact their tech support to see if they can inform you about what is currently making Spectrum internet slow. They might also provide insight into other possible solutions.

Running a speed test

In order to find out whether your internet speed matches what is advertised on your Spectrum plan, run a speed test. You can do this using one of the free online tools for speed testing. 

Run multiple tests at different times of the day and keep a record. The metrics you need to keep track of are:

  • Download speed
  • Upload speed
  • Latency

When contacting Spectrum support, you can use it to prove that your internet speed is below the agreed-upon speed.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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