What Causes Internet Outages? 5 Common Ways
July 14, 2023
You’re using fast, gig-speed Internet to stream your favorite show, get work done, or video-call an out-of-town friend. But all of a sudden, everything stops. Your screen either freezes or keeps loading, and there’s no way to get it to work again. You open other windows, browsers, programs, apps, and even devices, only to find that none are connecting to the Internet.
You might be experiencing an Internet outage—likely because either your Internet provider’s network or your connection to it was damaged or interrupted. It’s possible your whole area lost Internet access as well. How is this possible, and what can be done about it?
We’ve put together a list of some of the most common causes of Internet outages.
So, what causes the Internet to go out?
- Equipment Malfunctions
- Severed Lines
- Network Congestion
The simplest cause, and solution, is that either your modem or Wi-Fi router isn’t working. You can start by rebooting and troubleshooting your equipment. If your Internet provider provided your modem and router, we’d recommend troubleshooting with their tech support.
As you troubleshoot, make sure your router is placed in the best possible location in your house.
It would also be a good time to check how old your equipment is and whether it needs to be replaced.
Hopefully, your Internet provider has prevented equipment-related issues by providing you with a top-of-the-line modem and Wi-Fi router that deliver the service you’re paying for.
If you’re sure there are no issues with your equipment, you should figure out how many other people in your area have lost service. You can reach out to your Internet provider if you haven't yet. But if there really is an outage, you might be on hold for a while.
Go to downdetector.com and type in your provider's name. It will tell you how many other people in your area are reporting outages with that provider.
Weather is a very common cause of network outages—that's especially true in Texas. A thunderstorm or winter freeze is often enough to take down Internet connections. If you lose your Internet connection during or after harsh weather conditions, it’s likely not a coincidence.
This is especially likely to happen with cable Internet lines. Fiber-optic cables are far less susceptible to severe weather conditions, which is why fiber-optic Internet is not only the fastest Internet connection type but the most reliable as well.
Keep in mind: not all Fiber connections are the same. Fiber Internet services that are not 100% fiber-to-the-home are vulnerable to weather as well. That's because the last mile of these networks is copper cable, and therefore susceptible to the same risks cable networks are.
Hopefully, your Internet provider has taken extra steps to protect you from this—such as a 100% fiber-optic network that is more weather resistant than traditional copper cable lines and backup generators at each community cabinet to keep anyone with power connected.
Yes, you read that right. Both power outages and Internet outages have a history of being caused by animals—namely birds and squirrels. Any aerial or exposed power or communications lines are open to squirrel-induced attacks.
Hopefully, your Internet provider took the necessary precautions against this—such as burying their network at least two feet deep.
Even a buried fiber-optic line is susceptible to an accident. Maybe a construction crew working in your area cut a line in your provider's network while digging. It's possible the network was damaged by a car accident. Sometimes, even hand tools are all it takes to damage a line.
Accidents happen, and they're often unavoidable.
Hopefully, your Internet provider has safeguards in place to keep you connected if something like this happens—such as network redundancy which uses alternate lines to keep you online if a Fiber line is cut.
To help avoid damaging buried utility lines near you, call 811 before you dig! Learn more about when you should call Texas811 and what problems it can prevent.
When too many users try to go online at the same time, especially during peak hours in the evening or over the weekend, the Internet provider's network can become congested, which can lead to slower speeds and outages.
This happens when there is:
- Increased Internet use. Like we stated above, many homeowners typically try to go online around the same time after they get home from work.
- Limited bandwidth. During peak hours, an Internet provider may not have enough bandwidth to deliver all of their customers the speeds they were promised.
While you won't see this cause outages too often, it is the most likely reason behind any routine slowdowns you might see during peak hours. Be on the lookout for these slowdowns, and remember to run a speed test if one occurs.
Hopefully, your Internet service provider has optimized their network, using the latest network equipment and infrastructure, in order to provide enough bandwidth for all of their customers.
Your Internet May Have Fast Speeds, But Is It Reliable?
While most causes for outages are out of your control, they’re not completely out of your Internet provider’s control. How are they making sure you can always keep the speeds they promised you?
Is your Internet service provider doing everything possible to ensure you stay online during even the harshest conditions? Find out if they’ve taken all the steps in bold above to guarantee consistent download and upload speeds without interruptions.
If you want Internet from a 100% Fiber network that is buried, capable of delivering more than enough bandwidth to its communities, supported by backup generators at each cabinet, built with full network redundancy, and installed with the latest customer equipment, look no further!
By taking precautions against all of the above issues, Tachus provides an ultra-reliable Internet service that guarantees consistent speeds with no slowdowns or interruptions. Stream, work, and game with no lagging, no wait times, and no worries.
If Tachus isn't yet in your area, read our guide on how to bring us to your community.