Does weather impact internet connection speeds?


Establishing if your Internet speed will be affected by weather depends on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and how severe the weather is. A small rain shower isn’t likely to slow down your connection, but a torrential downpour could certainly put a damper on your midday Netflix binge.

Internet speed and weather

Different ISPs have different ways of connecting you to the Web, which can have an impact during inclement weather. Fiber-optic Internet, for instance, is less susceptible to lower speeds and outages because it uses cables that rely on pulses of light to transmit information. The cables are typically underground and weather doesn’t really affect the transmission of light pulses the same way it might satellite transmissions.

Customers using ADSL or similar types of broadband Internet are a little more at risk. Coaxial and ADSL Internet is typically transferred between phone lines and a strong storm could knock over these power lines, causing your speeds to slow or stop. You’ll often see Internet speeds change in extreme cold weather. A heavy snowfall can pile up on power lines, causing them to bend or fall, resulting in a lost connection for you.

Satellite Internet might be the most susceptible to weather. A dish can be knocked over, blocked or broken by strong winds, snow, or rain. The satellite signals travel long distances to reach your home and even a storm that’s not currently in your area can have an impact on your connection speeds if it’s blocking the path your dish uses to transmit signals.

Even a sunny day can see Internet connection speeds slowing down if there’s heavy wind to go with it.

ISPs relying on copper lines beneath the ground encounter problems during cold weather due ground heaves, which can actually break the lines and disrupt your Internet connections.

What you can do

It’s best not to try and fix connection issues on your own. The best solution for combatting reduced connection speeds during bad weather is simply to wait it out. Many of the issues cannot be solved due to outside factors. Stepping outside to adjust satellite dishes, cables, or power lines during a storm can put a person at risk for injury or death.

When people are stuck indoors during a storm, it’s possible that more users are getting online to pass the time, which can also have an affect your Internet speeds. Next time there’s a bad storm in your area, consider getting out board games and spending some time bonding as a family instead.

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