As a North Carolinian, I am familiar with frequent summer storms that seem to come out of nowhere. And while I love opening the windows to let in the smell of rain or curling up with a good book when it’s cloudy, rainy weather is less than ideal if it causes the internet to drop.
It is true that extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, high wind speeds, wintry conditions and even heavy cloud cover can interfere with yourindependence of You have. is most susceptible to service disruptions due to weather, but those with fixed wireless or the connection may also have weather-related internet issues. , and connections are far more reliable. However, a particularly strong storm with the potential to knock out power — like a hurricane — could affect the and in your home.
Before an internet outage hits your parade, it’s important to know what to expect from your service ahead of the impending bad weather and what preventative or countermeasures you can take to reduce your chances of experiencing problems.
Satellite Internet is the most vulnerable
Perhaps unsurprisingly, you are most likely to experience service disruptions due to rain, snow and ice, heavy cloud cover, and so on with.
Satellite signals have to travel quite a distance to get from an orbiting satellite — which often flies 22,000 miles or more above the earth — to your home. Any obstacles in the way, such as rain or heavy clouds and the signal-scattering water droplets that come with them, can disrupt your Internet service.
Not only that, but the bowl itself can become jammed with snow and ice, which, while less likely to cause problems than heavy rain or cloud cover, can still affect your service.
Heavy rain and cloud cover are satellite kryptonite
Installing a rain shield or something to protect your satellite dish may seem like a simple solution to prevent temporary outages, but unfortunately it’s unlikely to help.
Because satellite signals must travel miles to reach your home, they can encounter conditions that interfere with service anywhere along the way, not just near your antenna. Because of this, you may experience weather-related Internet outages even if it’s not raining or cloudy directly above your home. This is also why a rain shield will not help prevent connectivity issues. If anything, placing a solid surface over or around your antenna can also block the signal, leading to even more interference with service.
So, in the event of an internet outage due to rain or cloud cover, there is nothing you can do but wait for it to pass and the service resumes. It’s not all bad news, however, as satellite providers have made improvements in recent years to minimize the effect of bad weather on your internet connection.
Design and technological improvements byand , such as smaller, sleeker antennas and stronger Internet signals, have helped reduce satellite Internet’s vulnerability to rain and cloud coverage. You’ll also find innovative satellite technology which contains an along with low-orbit satellite technology to minimize disruption due to weather. while significantly improving speed, latency and overall performance. That’s not to say that weather-related issues won’t happen with satellite Internet; they are simply not as common as they may have been in the past.
But you can do something about snow and ice
Rain and clouds will eventually pass, but snow and ice may linger in some areas for days or weeks. A light snow or thin layer of ice will likely have little or no impact on your Internet service, but a significant accumulation of an inch or more (here in the South, an inch really matters) can cause a problem.
When snow or ice builds up on your satellite dish and affects your Internet service, you may be able to remove it yourself—as long as you can do it safely. It is not uncommon for satellite dishes to be located on a roof, deck railing, or other hard-to-reach location, which can make access and cleaning difficult and dangerous, especially in icy conditions. Do not attempt to clear snow or ice from the container if you cannot safely access it.
If you can safely reach the container, try to remove the snow by hand or with a soft-bristled brush, such as a hand broom. Be gentle and try to avoid pushing or moving the dish as this, even by a few centimeters, can dislodge the dish and reduce the signal quality or lose the signal altogether. Also, avoid using anything that can scratch the surface, such as a windshield scraper, to avoid damaging the pan.
In case of ice build-up, applying a little warm water will usually solve the problem. For best results and to avoid dislocating the pan or damaging any internal components, use a spray bottle and apply a gentle stream of warm water until the ice is gone or internet service is restored. Again, you’ll want to avoid using anything that could damage or move the bowl, such as an ice scraper.
Won’t dish warmers or lids work for me?
It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I don’t know if this is entirely the case with satellite dish heaters and covers, but it’s worth a try.
You’ll probably get the best results with a dish warmer. Starlink cookware comes with a built-in heater (much to my delight cold weather kittens who might be tempted to turn your dish into a personal oasis), but you can also buy it online for HughesNet or Viasat for a few hundred dollars. Keep in mind that they will also add a bit to your electric bill, but most units have a temperature gauge and automatically turn on when needed to prevent snow and ice build-up, helping to keep energy consumption low.
Covers for satellite dishes are a cheaper option, but are usually less efficient. You’ll have no problem finding a dish cover for less than $50 online, but the results may be short-lived. Dish covers can accumulate dirt, dust and pollen, creating a prime surface for snow and ice, so you can still clean the dish by hand, even with a dish cover.
Fixed wireless and 5G internet are not entirely clear
Wireless Internet services such as fixed wireless Internet and home 5G Internet are subject to many of the same service disruptions as satellite Internet, but to a lesser extent.
With both services, internet signals travel much shorter distances, typically only five to 10 miles at most, so there’s less chance of encountering bad weather en route. In addition, the fixed wireless and cell towers used for 5G are not miles above the Earth, meaning that extensive cloud coverage should not affect service.
Heavy rain, on the other hand, can be a different matter. Fixed wireless internet works by broadcasting internet signals in a straight line or fixed position between the tower and your home. Anything that interferes with that signal, such as a seasonal downpour, can disrupt the signal and therefore your internet connection.
Rain is less of a problem with 5G home internet services such asor because, unlike fixed wireless internet, 5G works by sending signals in all directions. Even if some signals are blocked or diverted by rain or snowfall, others will still safely reach your equipment and maintain your internet, although the signal may not be as strong.
Snow and ice are also less of a concern with 5G because there is no external receiver. Fixed wireless service, however, requires the installation of an antenna or receiver (although often much smaller than a satellite dish) that could accumulate frozen precipitation. For fixed wireless equipment, heaters and covers are harder to find, so you may need to manually remove any deposits if they interfere with your Internet connection.
What about cable, DSL and fiber?
Cable, DSL, and fiber lines run directly to your home, so they’re not nearly as susceptible to weather disruptions as wireless delivery methods like satellite, fixed wireless, and 5G. Rain, snow and clouds will not affect your internet service, except in extreme cases where the line becomes damaged over time due to exposure.
The biggest threat to your cable, DSL or fiber internet during inclement weather is a power outage. Losing power to your home will likely render your modem and router inoperable, meaning that even if an internet signal still reaches your home, you won’t be able to use it unless your equipment has a battery backup.
And if a blackout hits your provider, you might be out of luck. Severe weather can crash the servers or systems of Internet providers, resulting in massive outages. So even if there is no power in your home, bad weather can affect your internet connection. What’s worse, you won’t be able to do anything about it except wait for the service to come back.
There is also a small chance that electrical surges can interfere with cable or DSL Internet signals, which are carried over highly conductive copper cables, and affect the quality of your connection. The chances of this happening are higher on older DSL networks compared to newer cable Internet systems, but the risk is still relatively low in both types of service.
How Weather Affects Your Internet FAQ
Can I use weathering sprays on my satellite dish?
It is not recommended to use any type of chemical coating on your satellite dish, including weathering sprays or sprays, cooking sprays (to prevent snow from sticking), or anything else not intended for use on a satellite dish. In addition to damaging the pan’s surface, many sprays can attract dirt, dust, and pollen, creating a surface prone to snow or ice buildup.
Should I clean my satellite dish?
Dishwashing is often unnecessary except to maintain curb appeal. As mentioned above, cleaning the pan of dirt and other deposits can help prevent snow and ice build-up, but otherwise will not improve performance.
If you decide to clean your satellite dish, do so gently using a soft sponge and warm water. Avoid using any cleaning products other than mild dishwashing detergent, as harsh chemicals can damage the surface of your dishes. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to clean your pan with something you wouldn’t use to clean your TV screen.
Will extreme heat affect my internet service?
As with bad thunderstorms, extreme heat has relatively no effect on Internet signals, but it can affect the systems that transmit them. Increased energy needs during a heat wave put additional stress on the power grid, which can affect internet service in your home or somewhere on the road.