Internet outages at home: 5 common causes and how to fix them

Is there a good time to get Wi-Fi off? of course not. Whatever you were using the internet at the time (TV StreamAnd the Online gamesAnd the Work from home or a combination of all of that) to a sudden and frustrating stop. Even when you are away, internet outages can cripple your device WiFi security camerasAnd the smart light switches and other devices connected offline.

While there isn’t much you can do about internet outages when you’re away from home, troubleshooting and resolving occasional service failures can be fairly quick and simple. Here are the most common causes of internet outages and how to fix the problem, if possible. Spoiler alert: Not always wrong Internet service provider.

Common causes of internet outages at home

1. Modem / Router Malfunctions

2. Insufficient speeds or equipment

3. Hacking or network problems

4. bad weather

5. ISP outage and network congestion

Narrowing down the exact issue can take some investigation and troubleshooting. Start by verifying that the connection problem is not specific to a single website, server, or device.

If you lose your Netflix connection in the middle of a show, check to see if other streaming services can still be accessed and turned on. If so, then it’s possible that the problem is with Netflix and not your internet connection. If you are having trouble connecting to other streaming services, it could be the smart TV or streaming device being used, so try to stream on another device if possible to verify that the internet outage is indeed the culprit.

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When the internet in your home drops, it is most likely due to a faulty modem and/or router. Often the solution is simple: restart your devices by unplugging them, wait 10 seconds or so, plug them back in and allow them to restart. Often times, this will resolve the power outage.

When restarting your router, I recommend cutting off the power by unplugging it rather than pressing or pressing any buttons on the device itself. Doing so can prompt the device to perform a hard reset, which will return it to factory settings and may erase your Wi-Fi network settings. Sure, the reset will most likely re-establish your internet connection, but you’ll also have the additional task of setting up your Wi-Fi again.

Also keep in mind that your device may have a spare battery. If the lights on your modem or router won’t go out when you unplug it, check to see if there are batteries installed somewhere and temporarily remove them when you restart your device.

Sarah Teo / CNET

Insufficient speeds or equipment

Maybe your internet isn’t necessarily “out”, it can’t keep up with what you’re trying to do or where you’re doing.

Constant buffering, excessive lags, Wi-Fi “dead zones”, and other connectivity issues could be the result of not having the speed, bandwidth, or coverage of your Wi-Fi network to handle all of your devices. There are two ways to handle the situation: lower your expectations and use of the internet, or make some upgrades.

Keep in mind the internet speed you need Determine if your current plan is capable of providing these speeds. If your plan lacks the speeds you need, upgrading to a faster plan (assuming one is available) will be your best option. many cable And the Fiber Optic Internet Service Providers Offers speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or higherwhich is a great speed for the average home.

On the other hand, if you feel that your current plan should meet your needs, it is likely that your equipment is to blame. make a little speed tests Around your home to measure the speeds you get and where your Wi-Fi signal might not be strong. Sometimes simply Move your router to a more efficient place It will improve the quality of the connection and remove or at least soften any dead areas.

Otherwise, you may want to invest in Better router or Wi-Fi extenders To boost the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. If you rent equipment from a provider, Call to inquire about getting a better device.

Try adjusting your router settings

Your router should allow you to route connected devices to a specific pod or extender if you have it, and between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You’ll get a stronger signal on the 5GHz band, but only if your device is within range (5GHz band is shorter than 2.4GHz) and if there aren’t many other devices connected to the 5GHz. So, if your connection quality is poor on a particular device, try switching the bands on the device or moving some other device from the band you are using.

Use a wired connection

Connecting directly to your modem, router, or pods/extensors directly with an Ethernet cable will be your best bet for establishing and maintaining a strong connection. If possible, use a wired connection for most bandwidth-hungry devices, such as smart TVs and game consoles. Not only will this often provide a better and faster connection, but it will also reduce the stress of your Wi-Fi network.

James Martin / CNET

A less likely but still possible cause of the internet outage is a file hacked network. If hackers gain access to your Wi-Fi, they can completely restrict your internet access to any or all of the devices.

If you suspect someone is gaining unauthorized access to your network, immediately Go to your router settings And recreate your Wi-Fi (preferably) with a different network name and (definitely) a different password – a password with some complexity or randomness that will make it hard for a hacker to figure it out.

Besides creating a strong password, be sure to update all the firmware on the router and any connected devices to help prevent hacking attempts. installation Antivirus software It will also help keep your devices protected. Many ISPs offer virus and malware protection at no additional cost.

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Yes, Mother Nature can mess with your internet connection. Some types of internet connection are more susceptible to this Internet outage during bad weather episodesHowever, heavy rain, violent thunderstorms, or even thick cloud cover may interfere with the signal.

satellite internet It is most susceptible to weather-induced internet outages, but a power outage can knock out any offline connection type. Having a modem and a router with a battery backup may help keep you connected during a power outage, although they would be useless if the power outage prevents your internet service from reaching your modem in the first place.

If you have satellite internet, a rain shield, snow shield, or dish heater can help prevent outages due to bad weather in the vicinity of your home. Signal interference can occur anywhere along the path between the satellite and your dish, however, heavy cloud coverage or rain can have an effect on your communication even if it is miles away. There isn’t much you can do about an internet outage in this case, unfortunately; You will just have to wait for the signal to return.

DownDetector / screenshot by CNET

ISP outage and network congestion

In spite of A lot of people have a negative impression of Internet providersHowever, widespread internet outages are uncommon, and outages in a single residence are virtually unheard of (unless, of course, you’ve forgotten to pay the bill). However, it is possible that the provider is experiencing problems.

If your internet is completely down and you’ve already tried restarting the router, check your provider’s social media pages, the official website, or sources like for updates and outage reports. You can also contact customer service, but be prepared for a long wait.

Other than making sure that your ISP is having issues, there is nothing you can do in such situations other than wait for the service to come back. The interruption is bad publicitySo rest assured that your ISP is doing its best to restore service as quickly as possible.

Outages are rare, but network congestion can be a more frequent problem, and while it won’t always completely disconnect your connection, it can certainly cause slow speeds. Cable, DSL and satellite internet are susceptible to network congestion, as is 5G home internet. T-Mobile acknowledges that network congestion can lead to slow speeds, noting that “during congestion, home Internet customers may notice lower speeds than customers using other T-Mobile services due to data prioritization.”

Network congestion means that speeds coming into your home slow down, so you can’t do much about it other than wait for the congestion to clear up. However, you can make the most of the speeds you get by ideally positioning your router, adjusting Wi-Fi settings or using an Ethernet connection, as mentioned above.

What do you do when your internet is down?

Apart from the above tips, there are two ways you can get back online.

The first is to use your mobile connection. Your phone will likely switch automatically to cellular service if Wi-Fi drops, so you’ll be able to use your phone just as if you were away from home. However, keep in mind that doing so will use your mobile data.

Additionally, some phones, carriers, and plans allow you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. It probably won’t power your home like your router, but it will enable you to connect some devices until your home network is back.

Second, and probably only applicable for longer outages or urgent internet needs like sending a school assignment on time, is to find a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Your local public library, café, or restaurant, among many other public places, may offer free Wi-Fi.

Keep in mind that using a public Wi-Fi connection is not as secure as your home network, so consider using a VPN or avoid any activity that involves sensitive data (passwords, banking information, taxation, etc.) while connected to a public network.

Frequently asked questions about internet outages

Why does my internet keep going off?

There may be a number of factors that affect your Internet connection. The first, and most likely, is your hardware problems. Restarting your modem/router should fix the problem.

Insufficient speeds, network congestion, and inclement weather are other reasons why you might stay online. It is possible that your service provider is experiencing an outage, but for frequent connection outages, I would like to look at the previously mentioned reasons, starting with your router.

Can I get a partial refund for ISP outages?

Many providers offer compensation for prolonged or frequent outages. Spectrum, for example, will provide “proportional credit for those eligible outages that last for 4 or more consecutive hours.” Call to report the outage as soon as possible and monitor how long it takes before requesting a refund.

Will a power outage disrupt my internet service?

Not always, but most likely. When the power goes out, it won’t necessarily prevent the Internet from reaching your home, but it can certainly limit your ability to use the Internet. Unless your modem and router have a battery backup, a power outage will disable these devices, leaving you unable to connect to the Internet.