At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.
There’s almost nothing more irritating than your technology not functioning when you need it to. On a rainy day when you can’t play outside, you might try to stream movies but sometimes your connection seems just as bogged down by the poor weather as you are. Could the mist be clogging up cyberspace? Is the snow freezing your system’s circuits? Does weather affect internet speeds?
Why is my internet so slow in poor weather?
Anecdotally, it may seem like bad weather and slow internet are a cause and effect pair. “Evidence from communities with light-pole-based public Wi-Fi suggest that rainy days had an impact on signal strength. While rainfall can create interference — in much the same way that it limits visibility for human eyes — attenuation due to distance from the router is a much likelier culprit for low signal strength,” according to Techwalla.
In other words, slow internet and bad weather is a case of correlation, not causation. Here’s what’s really happening during those snowstorms and thunder-ridden nights that are causing your internet slowdowns.
High internet traffic to blame for slow internet
Instead of the weather itself, a poor internet connection on a bad weather day is probably due to high-traffic volume. When more people are stuck at home, they are more likely to be online, entertaining themselves by surfing, streaming and gaming.
Temperature has little effect on internet speed
Copper and fiber optic wires aren’t susceptible to the cold, but extremely low temperatures can cause ground heaves, which may damage or tear underground wires. “Physical damage to Wi-Fi conduits and an overflow of users are offshoot causes of weather-related Wi-Fi problems,” according to Bustle.
On the other hand, high temperatures can cause your equipment (e.g. router, modem) to overheat. Since it’s more difficult to cool an overheated device than it is to heat a cold one, an overheated Wi-Fi system may function a bit slower than usual.
Large storms can cause physical damage to internet infrastructure
Stronger weather conditions, like high winds, heavy snowfalls and other large storms can cause greater physical damage to your internet system. Trees can fall onto power lines, debris can knock over satellite dishes and floodwaters can seep into electrical systems. However, if your internet fails during a large storm, you’ll likely know why right away!
Expert tip: Distance from your router can be another culprit for slow download speeds.
If the sky looks gloomy or there’s snow on the ground, you may want to go upstairs to your bedroom to read a blog or head down to the den to stream shows and movies. This cocooning tendency may put you farther from your internet router, which can cause slow Wi-Fi.
What should I do if the weather affects my internet service?
If you think your internet is working slowly or has shut off, don’t panic! Here are five dos and don’ts to help you get your internet up and running again:
Do try resetting your router and/or modem, or unplug them and wait for a moment before plugging them back in.
Do move closer to your router. Sometimes, just decreasing the distance between your device and your router can help fix a bad internet connection.
Do check other devices. If your computer is connecting but your phone is not, the issue may be related to your device, not your network.
Don’t try to fix it yourself. Let a technician handle the tech.
Don’t go outside until the weather is calm. If you see any downed power lines, debris in your satellite dish or other technical problems, contact a technician. Be sure to contact your electric company as well to report any outages or issues.
Shop popular providers, compare plans by speed and data, then order service on Allconnect.Compare providers
Written by:Lisa Iscrupe
Writer, Broadband & Data Content
Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. In Lisa’s Words: Ever… Read more
Edited by:Shannon Ullman
Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content
- Featured30% of Americans say their internet is too slow. Here’s how to fix it Joe Supan — 4 min read
- FeaturedAirlines with in-flight Wi-Fi: Your guide to staying connected at 35,000 feet David Anders — 5 min read
- FeaturedAll you need to know about streaming TV — A beginner’s guide Joe Supan — 7 min read
Wednesday, April 14, 2021What is your state doing to address the digital divide?
Ari Howard — 14 min read
Monday, April 12, 2021Want the fastest internet in the world? Move to Singapore
Joe Supan — 4 min read
Sunday, April 11, 2021Does this Tennessee city have the blueprint to solve the digital divide?
Ari Howard — 8 min read