Does Bad Weather Affect Broadband Internet?

Does Bad Weather Affect Broadband Internet

If you’re having connection issues when trying to use your internet during lousy weather, you may be tempted to blame the rain or snow. But does bad weather affect broadband internet that much? We’ll examine how this service works to figure out if the elements are really your enemy or just a coincidence.

How Broadband Internet Works

Most people in America will have some kind of internet service, and broadband internet is widely available from an ADSL or cable connection offered by a local service provider. These service providers include companies such as:

  • Comcast
  • AT&T
  • Cable One
  • Altice USA
  • Charter Communications
  • Frontier Communications
  • TDS Telecom
  • Verizon

There are countless other service providers, but many of them are only available in certain areas, and depending on where you live your options may be limited.

Cable internet was the service of choice before fiber-optic cable became an option through several service providers. Cable internet can become slower as more users log on and start to use the internet, so the weather may not be the only factor when dealing with connectivity issues.

ADSL connections use higher frequencies to transmit information using conventional phone lines which carry digital data. Cable internet is different because it uses the cable lines that come to your home, which are faster and able to transmit more significant amounts of data at a higher speed.

An ADSL line can offer middle of the road performance with only a few dips in speeds available, but a cable connection provides much higher rates. Both methods use the same physical transmission of electricity conducted using copper wires.

Dealing with Weather

Light weather such as a little rain or wind shouldn’t disrupt your cable internet connection too much, and it’s much more likely that having too many users logged on is causing a connection to become slow.

There is some variation between internet service providers on how your exact wiring is set up, and in most cases fiber-optic internet is the least susceptible to lower speeds due to a higher number of users or outages due to weather.

So, does bad weather affect broadband internet then? The answer is it’s possible with the right conditions and the correct wiring. For example, fiber optic cables are typically underground, and this helps to protect them from changes in temperature or other weather.

Cable internet is wired using existing cable lines in most cases, and this means that the condition of the lines could impact whether you have a good reception during bad weather or poor reception.

Broadband internet may be transferred using phone lines, and these are susceptible to service disruptions during torrential rain or high winds.

Old Infrastructure and Storms

Older lines are more likely to have connection issues that can be made worse during high winds, ice storms, or rain. It’s also possible for snow to build up on the lines and cause the connections to weaken or break, which will directly impact the internet speeds you experience.

Ice storms and snow build-up, in particular, can cause the cable lines to become disconnected from the local pole near your home, and this severs any connection you had for internet.

Reconnecting these lines may take hours or days depending on your location, the weather conditions, and the damage done to the lines themselves.

Satellite internet is one of the most vulnerable services when it comes to bad weather, and both internet service and TV service can suffer disruptions.

There’s not much you can do about disruptions when you have a satellite, and there’s severe weather, and there may be very little that your internet service provider can do to help you.

If you have broadband internet and your internet service provider uses copper lines buried below the ground, you may be experiencing connection issues for different reasons. Winter weather can cause the ground to freeze and thaw, and this movement has been known to break copper lines and coaxial cables, causing a lack of connection.

What You Can Do

If your internet connection is slow or non-existent during bad weather there’s typically very little that you can do. If you want to be thorough, try restarting your devices, including your modem and router, and see if that helps.

Restarting these devices may have no impact, and if you’re trying to use the internet during peak times in a populated area, that may be the cause of your slow connection and not the weather.

Unusually severe weather can disconnect lines, break utility poles, and cause damage to other components that work as part of a system that ensures you have internet.

If your internet connection is down and it’s not your devices at fault, there’s not much you can do to fix the broadband lines. Other online gaming fans know how frustrating this can be. It’s not recommended that you try to connect broken lines or engage in any work on the utility pole as this is dangerous for you and potentially other utility workers.

Remember that utility poles carry multiple different types of lines from electrical to cable, and phone services, and touching these components can result in serious injury.

Final Thoughts

So, does bad weather affect broadband internet? It’s definitely possible! If you are experiencing internet connection issues in your home, the best course of action is to call your internet service provider and follow their instructions on how to best proceed.

The customer service representatives are in the best position to understand your issues, and may elevate your request to their technical department if you need further assistance.

Severe weather can impact your broadband internet if it’s strong enough to do damage to the lines, but light rain, wind, and snow are unlikely to be the cause of slow speeds.

Broadband internet is not the most reliable form of internet, and this means that multiple things can cause it to misbehave, and there’s little you can do to prevent them.

If you want to have an internet service that is less likely to have connection issues you can look at the fiber optic internet options in your area. Some of these options will be cheaper than broadband or cable, but it’s also possible for the price to be set differently depending on where you live.

Blair Campbell

Founder of GetInternet. Blair studied computer science at the California Institute of Technology Computing and Mathematical Sciences program, but he enjoys writing on the side. He grew up in southern California and now lives in Denver, Colorado.