ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS
This is why your internet slows down or won’t work when it rains.
Does your internet connection slow down or go out when it rains?
Learn why that’s it and how to fix it with this in-depth article.
Let’s get started!
Why Your Internet Goes Out When It Rains
“Oh, it’s raining again! Why does my internet go out when it rains?”
When it gets dark and drizzly outside, there’s nothing you want to do more except cuddle up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa while watching your favorite movie or show on Netflix… but what if you can’t?
Usually, a rainy day or light snowfall here and there won’t affect your internet. There may be other reasons why your signal becomes weak.
But there are times when the weather can cause major internet problems.
It’s frustrating when your internet connection drops out—especially at a time when you need it most.
Sometimes a rainy day can make your internet connection just as slow and dreary as your mood, but what’s the reason behind this?
Why Your Internet Stops Working When It Rains
There’s likely two reasons why your internet connection isn’t working.
Traditional Copper Wiring
Firstly, if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) provides a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), ADSL (Asymmetric), or SDSL (Symmetric), this means your internet runs over copper phone lines that bury beneath the ground or hover on the utility poles for a long enough time.
Unfortunately, these copper wires are at least a decade old and haven’t been designed according to the growing digital world.
The wires are more susceptible to failure during extreme weather conditions, and copper is only fitting for voice service.
The copper wires transmit data with an electrical pulse. Since copper conducts electricity, using copper cables for your ISP often causes your signal to drop during a rainstorm.
When rainfall gets into the hanging cable’s covering or penetrates the underground cable traps, it interferes with the electric signal and breaks it down.
The result is a slow, weak internet connection that won’t even load a website.
Even if your copper cables happen to survive the rain, that doesn’t mean they’ll last through sudden high volumes of internet traffic.
During rainy weather, most people tend to stay indoors and end up consuming more power.
When a large number of people are gaming, streaming, and downloading all at the same time, the speed of your internet may slow down due to an above-average demand for bandwidth. Plus, the internet supply is fairly limited.
To manage the excessive demand of data transfer, most ISPs install data throttling or similar optimizations to prevent hiccups—on an extremely rainy day, that can shut down your internet speed altogether.
Does Weather Affect the Internet?
Here’s a scenario.
You contact your Internet service. They send someone out. They fiddle around with wires and claim it’s fixed. But the next time it rains, the line goes out again.
If this is the case, you may need to look into a new service.
Regarding whether or not weather does affect your connection, the short answer is yes. But it depends on what kind of internet you have and if the weather is bad enough to jumble up signals. If it’s a repeated problem, there may be a deeper issue.
Rain does impact the strength of your connection.
Rainfall creates interference which causes a weak signal. So instead of thinking it as, “My Internet isn’t working because it’s raining,” it’s more like, “My Internet isn’t working because of the weak signal, which is due to the rain.”
In simpler terms, weak internet and poor weather are a case of correlation, not causation.
Here are some potential causes of internet slowdowns during those thunder-ridden nights and snowstorms:
High Internet Traffic
When it’s a bad weather day, more people are stuck at home. Because of this, it’s more likely for people to be online.
Whether it’s streaming movies, surfing the web, or working remotely, your poor connection might be due to the sudden amount of high-traffic volume.
Temperature Doesn’t Matter
Fiber optic and copper wires are practically immune to the cold, but critically low temperatures might cause damage or tear underground wires.
However, higher temperatures might cause your modem or router to overheat.
Heating a cold router is much easier than cooling an overheated device, so this may cause the Wi-Fi system to operate slower than usual.
Physical Damage to Infrastructure
More extreme weather conditions, like heavy snowfalls, high winds, and other large storms can cause more physical damage to your internet system.
Floodwaters can soak into electrical systems, waste matter can knock down satellite dishes, and trees can collapse onto power lines.
However, if your internet fails during a large storm, you’ll know the reason almost immediately.
Rain and Satellite Internet Do Not Mix
For those of you with satellite internet service, you’re more likely to suffer from poor connection during bad weather than people with other types of internet, especially since data has to travel through the air, not through wires buried underground.
By following the direction the data travels, you’ll notice a path traveling from your house to a satellite thousands of miles away, then back to a ground station at Earth.
Then, the signal travels back to you the same way. During this journey, bad weather can block, deflect, or weaken the satellite signal.
Satellite signals are transmitted via radio waves and travel smoothly through open, unobstructed air; however, they may get dispersed or deflected when passing through buildings, heavy foliage, or water.
This is why satellite signals tend to weaken or crash during snow, rain, or even dust storms. The dust or water particles in the air deflect and pierce through the radio signal, resulting in a weak or spotty signal.
Another big reason satellite signals are weak during poor weather is that satellite internet equipment is mounted outdoors—vulnerable to the elements.
Even though satellite dishes are generally highly resistant to all sorts of storms and weather conditions, they can be damaged during extreme events like tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods, which can push the dish out of alignment or damage the equipment further.
What About More Extreme Weather Conditions?
More extreme weather conditions pose a bigger threat to life and property, which in turn, threatens your internet. Conditions like floods, blizzards, hurricanes, ice storms, and windstorms are something you should look for when it comes to extreme weather events.
These conditions have the potential to knock out the internet in your area, possibly even for days or weeks.
There are numerous ways poor weather can cause internet outages: the extreme conditions can cause infrastructure failures that cause internet outages (like cable lines cracking during a prolonged freeze) or it may impede the signal (like heavy rain hindering a stable satellite signal from reaching your home).
Regarding satellite internet, bad weather can damage your outdoor satellite equipment.
Construction or landscaping may cause lines to sever, or snowstorms can freeze and crack cables. Thunderstorms can knock out servers, power lines, and phone lines. All of these issues contribute to weak internet or power outages.
Fortunately, these extreme weather conditions are rare in most areas of the world. But they can still cause quite a bit of damage, so make sure to be prepared.
Out of all weather conditions, the rain has the most effect on internet service. Hail, fog, and snow don’t cause nearly as much internet signal loss as rain.
With rain, it’s all about density. Raindrops can be up to eight times denser than snow and thus cause signals to weaken. Rain can also interfere with satellite TV and cell phone signals.
But not all rainstorms are alike. The bigger the raindrops, the more damage they can cause. A drizzle here and there shouldn’t affect your internet signal.
Does Rain Affect Mobile Signals?
So, why does my internet go out when it rains? Similar to internet signals, public Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile phone signals can weaken during bad weather.
Since cell phone signals are also transmitted via radio waves, and radio waves tend to be less stable and reliable when passing through water in the atmosphere.
Whether it’s sleet, rain, or snow, precipitation of any type can contribute to weak cell phone signals.
But weather affects satellite internet much more than mobile signals. Satellite internet signals travel over 60,000 miles, while cell phone signals travel just five or ten miles to the nearest cell phone tower.
What Should I Do When the Rain Affects My Internet Connection?
If your internet has shut off or your signal is weak, don’t panic. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you get your internet back up and running again:
- Do try resetting your modem and/or router; you can also unplug them, wait a few minutes, and plug them back in.
- Do move your device closer to your router. In some cases, decreasing the distance between your device and your router can help fix a bad internet connection.
- Do check other devices. If your phone is working but your computer isn’t, the issue may be related to your device instead of your network.
- Don’t try to fix it yourself! Contact a technician and let them handle the issue.
- Don’t venture outdoors until the storm subsides. If your debris in your satellite dish, fallen power lines, damaged equipment, or other technical problems, contact a technician.