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How the weather can affect your internet

Internet communications towers blue sky

Wind, rain or even the heat - all types of weather can affect your home broadband connection. Your broadband connection type can play a big part in any disruption you may have, but the biggest impact may just be other internet users.

The type of technology used in your connection, ranging from different types of fixed line connections to the wireless and satellite offerings, can also dictate the extent of interruptions you can experience in weather of all kinds.

We’ve broken down some common issues experienced in different types of weather below.

How heatwaves and hot weather affect your internet

Chances are no matter where in Australia you are, you’re used to the hot weather. Unfortunately, your internet tech might not have adapted so well to the scorching summers as you have, with heatwaves a particular source of trouble for those with a satellite connection.

The rural and remote areas where satellite internet is most commonly used is also where Australia features some of its hottest conditions. Heatwaves can cause issues with the satellite dish installed on a customer’s rooftop, with the potential for warping or flexing under extreme heat meaning the way the satellite waves are sent/received can be impacted.

Satellite waves can also be affected by extreme weather of all sorts, due to the large distance they need to travel.

In terms of fixed line connections, issues with hardware during hot weather is less common, however copper wiring and other cabling can experience damage during extreme heat. Other tech can be susceptible to overheating, which can cause part or all of your connection to shut down and potentially need repairs.

Rain and storms can cause issues with internet

Whether you’re on a fixed line connection or a wireless offering, heavy rain or thunderstorms can cause problems for internet stability and connectivity.

For those with a fixed line connection, most cabling that connects you to the NBN network or other provider networks will be located underground, and thus susceptible to flooding. Heavy rains can cause moisture to reach your internet cabling or connections, which can cause short-circuiting or signal interference.

Wireless signals are susceptible to interference by rain or storms as well. Raindrops actually partially absorb and block the radio waves that your Wi-Fi travels across. Using devices in close proximity to your router minimises the chances of you experiencing interruption as the radio waves travel less distance. You’re more likely to experience interference if you’re trying to connect to Wi-Fi outside of your home, such as a neighbour’s or a public Wi-Fi connection.

If you’re using devices inside your house via Wi-Fi on a fixed line connection, you’re also less likely to experience interruption than someone relying on a satellite or fixed-wireless connection. In the case of the latter, the waves that are sent to your home to access the internet can be interrupted the same way as Wi-Fi waves are.

The electrostatic discharge of energy from lightning can also affect your Wi-Fi connection, particularly if you’re connecting outside of your own home. Again, being in a closer proximity to your router is likely to lessen any impact here, outside of power-outages caused by any lightning strikes.

Humidity can cause slower internet speeds

Humidity can have an effect on your internet separate from the higher temperatures it causes. To put it simply, the moisture present in the area during high humidity causes disruptions in the internet waves as they are transmitted.

Again, this is another factor that can cause more issues for satellite or wireless connections than their fixed line counterparts, due to the distance the signal has to travel. Minor humidity is likely not to cause too many issues, but extreme humidity events can cause major connection problems or drops of speed.

Users getting online during bad weather causes most issues

If you’re stuck inside due to a storm or heavy rain, chances are you’re going to be streaming a series or gaming online with friends to pass the time.

Issues with congestion are the main cause of slow or ineffective internet connections during bad weather. That same factor that’s keeping you inside and hooked on Netflix, browsing Instagram on your phone and playing music over your speaker is keeping your neighbours home doing the same, and all that traffic on the internet is causing slower speeds!

More often than not, it isn’t a hardware issue nor an issue with your signal that causes slow speeds, just your poor neighbours trying to pass time the same as you are while everyone waits for some better weather.

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Last updated 13 July 2024
Cooper Langby
Cooper Langby
Money writer

Cooper writes across all aspects of personal finance here at Mozo. With a double degree in Journalism and Communications & Media from the University of Wollongong, Cooper has previously written sports content for the Fansided network. He is now turning his focus to finances and is always looking for new ways to educate himself and our readers on the best ways to save money, and budget effectively.