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Does rain affect your internet service?

Wild weather can affect your internet connection, but it’s not the only reason for your buffering Netflix stream.

Have you been in the middle of important work or binge-watching the latest TV show only to get stuck on a crawling internet connection when it's pouring outside?

Let's unpack the possible causes so you know why your internet is so slow when it rains and if there's anything you can do about it.

Severe rainstorms are likely to affect your internet service

You might be affected by heavy rainfall in the following ways:

Telegraph pole with wires
Physical damage to the network

Thunderstorm
Water seeping into electrical connections

Weak WIFI signals
Wi-Fi signal interference

People streaming video
The behaviour of other humans in response to changes in weather

These are all likely to cause slower internet speeds or, in more extreme cases, network outages.

Rain can easily wreak havoc on old infrastructure

Most Australian households are connected to the NBN for broadband. But because there's no one-size-fits-all approach to the NBN rollout, the impact of the rain is different depending on the NBN connection type in your home.

Different types of NBN connections in Australia
  • FTTN/FTTC connections are more likely to get slow internet during bad weather since these still use quite a bit of old copper wires from the old ADSL build.
  • Connections built mostly with fibre optic cables like FTTB and FTTP (otherwise known as FTTH) are less likely affected by rain as these have fewer old copper wires.

Satellite internet is affected the most

Why?

Satellite NBN dish on top of house
 
  • Data has to travel through the air instead of wires buried underground.
  • The equipment for satellite internet is placed outdoors and more prone to getting damaged.

For context, the path the data travels goes from the wire you see outside your house all the way to a satellite miles away in space and then back to earth to a station on ground.

That's a long journey and bad weather can easily block or weaken satellite signals via radio waves.

It could just be your Wi-Fi connection

Blaming your Wi-Fi network when it's raining may be a waste of time if it's in fact the Wi-Fi signals travelling to your home that bad weather has disrupted.

There's little your internet provider can do until the skies settle down.

home wifi connection

Human behaviour is most likely the main cause of slow internet during bad weather

While wet weather can affect your internet cabling and cause outages, the main reason for your super slow internet is more likely because everybody has decided to stay indoors and jump online, just like you.

This causes an increase in network traffic, meaning more congestion resulting in slower speeds.

To navigate a spotty internet connection, you could consider some of the following quick solutions:

  1. Limiting the number of devices connected to the internet.
  2. Moving your device closer to the modem/router.
  3. Switching off your modem/router for a minute and then turning it back on again.
  4. Consider turning on your dehumidifier or investing in one as humidity can sometimes affect the strength of Wi-Fi signals.

Frequently asked questions


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