Connectivity tools and troubleshooting tips
Learn more about factors that affect connectivity, the difference between bits and bytes and how to troubleshoot issues.
Step 1: Verify connections
- Verify that one end of the coaxial cable is securely connected to the wall outlet, and that the other is securely connected to the cable modem.
- Verify that the power cord is securely connected.
- Verify that one end of the Ethernet cable is securely connected to the modem's Ethernet port and that the other is securely connected to the computer's Ethernet port. If using a router, securely connect the Ethernet cable to the router's Internet, WAN or modem port.
Step 2: Reboot the modem and router (if any)
- Press the reset button on the modem. If the modem does not have a reset button, you may reset it by unplugging the power cable from the modem (and your router if you are using one).
- Wait for approximately one minute for the modem to reset.
- If you have unplugged the power cable from the modem or router, plug your modem back in first, then your router. If you are using a router, allow about two minutes for the router to "sync" (i.e. reconnect) with the cable modem.
- Wait for the lights to stop blinking on the modem and wireless router if you have one. Allow up to two minutes for the router to "sync" with the cable modem.
- If you are connecting wirelessly, make sure you're within range of your wireless router, and that the wireless connection on your computer is turned on.
Step 3: Restart your computer
- Close all open applications and files.
- Restart your computer. The restart option is generally near a computer’s shut down option.
- Once your computer has restarted, open a browser.
- Test your Internet connection by going to at least two websites.
Bits per second
Internet speed is measured in bits per second (bps), which is the standard for describing the speed of computer communications. One Kbps (kilobits-per-second) equals 1,000 bits per second and 1 Mbps (megabits-per-second) equals 1,000,000 bits per second. Example: Spectrum's Standard Internet service at 15 Mbps more than 200 times faster than the average speeds you'll see from a dial-up modem at 64 Kbps and 2.5 times faster than the fastest DSL service at 6 Mbps.
Bytes per second
File download speeds from your web browser are reported in bytes per second (Bps), kilobytes per second (kBps) or megabytes per second (mBps). The speed of your modem is listed in terms of bits per second or kilobits per-second (kbps). The uppercase "B" means bytes; the lowercase "b" means bits. A 100 kBps download is eight times faster than a 100 kbps download.
How do we measure speed
As a rule, always measure the speed of the Internet in terms of bits per second. If you see a speed listed in terms of bytes per second (or using an abbreviation with an uppercase "B"), multiply this number by eight to convert to bits per second. If your browser reports a file downloaded at 150 KBps, you'll know this is 1200 kbps or about 1.2 Mbps.
Many factors external to the Internet delivered to your home can affect your Internet speed and performance.
Wired or wireless
For the best Internet experience, a wired connection using an Ethernet cable that connects your device directly to your Internet Modem is always recommended. Devices that are particularly data-intensive and require more bandwidth, such as gaming systems or streaming video players, also perform better when wired.
If you are connecting over WiFi using a wireless device (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.), your speed will be slower, but there are several things you can do to maximize performance.
Type of device or equipment
Internet devices vary in their performance, from desktops to laptops, gaming devices to smart TVs. Each of them has a maximum Internet speed that can be reached, and, depending on the age of your device, you may not be able to reach the maximum speed to which you’re subscribed. For example, an older computer with a slower processor and less memory (RAM) may run more slowly than a newer computer with a faster processor and more RAM.
Number of devices and activity
Multiple devices sharing your Internet connection at the same time, whether wired or using WiFi, can affect your Internet speed. Data-heavy activities, such as streaming HD movies, online gaming, video conferencing, etc., especially if done at the same time, will reduce the amount of bandwidth available for other Internet users. The more devices and users that are doing activities at the same time, the higher the speed you need for optimal performance.
Your Internet Modem
If you have an older modem or if you have received speed upgrades from Spectrum, you may need to replace your modem to support your higher speed and/or changes in technology. If you are leasing a modem from Spectrum, we will replace it at no cost to you. If you bought your own modem, see if it is compatible with your subscribed speed and replace it as needed.
Other networks and websites you visit
When browsing or downloading, there are a number of factors that could affect your experience, including:
- Other websites may not have the same network speeds as you.
- The website server capacity may be underpowered for the number of people using it at the same time.
- The website owners’ Internet connection could be slow, limiting the number of simultaneous users accessing it or slowing the amount of data that can be sent to the users.
- Some sites may throttle download rate on a per-user or per-connection basis.
- Visiting sites at high peak times.
A corrupted or poorly configured web browser is one of the most common bottlenecks for fast web browsing. Check if you need to upgrade to the latest version of your browser.
Adware or spyware
If your computer is infected with "adware", "spyware" or "malware", then you'll likely see reduced computer performance. This will likely cause everything on your computer to work more slowly. Download our free Security Suite by McAfee® software that will shield your computer from the latest security threats and learn more about Internet security.
Your computer’s hardware
The processor, hard drive, network card, graphics accelerator and even the amount of RAM impact the speed with which your computer can process Internet data. Upgrading your RAM is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to boost speed. In general, older computers will limit the speed you receive with your Spectrum, or any other, Internet service.
Your operating system
With extensive use, any computer operating system can become corrupt, inefficient or misconfigured, which will affect its speed. Upgrading to a major new release of your operating system may help. You can also try reinstalling your operating system. If you're unsure how to do this, call your computer manufacturer or work with a qualified consultant.