As a North Carolina native, I have become familiar with the frequent summer storms that come seemingly out of nowhere. And while I love opening the windows to smell the rain or curl up with a good book when it’s overcast, rainy weather isn’t ideal if it causes the internet to drop.
It is true that extreme weather conditions such as torrential rain, high wind speeds, wintry conditions and even heavy cloud cover can disrupt yourdepends on the you have. is most vulnerable to service outages due to weather, but those with fixed wireless or the connection may also have weather-related internet issues. , and connections are much more reliable. However, a particularly bad storm with the potential to knock out power — like a hurricane — could make an impact and in your house.
Before an internet outage hits your parade, it’s important to know what to expect from your services ahead of impending bad weather and what preventative or countermeasures you can take to reduce the likelihood of experiencing any issues.
Satellite Internet is the most vulnerable
Perhaps unsurprisingly, you are most likely to experience service outages due to rain, snow and ice, heavy cloud cover, etc..
Satellite signals have to travel quite a distance to get from the orbiting satellite – which often flies 22 thousand miles or more above the earth – to your home. Any obstacle 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 dish itself can become clogged 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 the satellite’s kryptonite
Installing a rain cover or something to shield your satellite dish may seem like a simple solution to prevent temporary outages, but unfortunately it probably won’t help.
Because satellite signals must travel miles to reach your home, they can encounter service-disrupting conditions anywhere along the way, not just near your dish. Therefore, you may experience weather-related Internet outages even if it is not raining or cloudy directly above your home. This is also why a rain cover will not help prevent connection problems. If anything, installing a solid surface over or around your dish can also block the signal, which can lead to even more service disruption.
So, in the event of an Internet outage due to rain or cloud cover, there is nothing left to do but wait for it to pass and the service to be restored. It’s not all bad news though, as satellite service providers have made improvements in recent years to minimize the effect of bad weather on your internet connection.
Design and technology improvements fromand , such as smaller, sleeker dishes and stronger Internet signals, have helped reduce satellite Internet’s vulnerability to rain and cloud cover. You will also find innovative satellite technology here which is characterized by an along with low-orbit satellite technology to help reduce weather-related outages. while significantly improving speed, latency and overall performance. This does not mean that satellite Internet will not experience weather-related service interruptions; they are just 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 dusting of snow or a thin layer of ice will probably have little or no effect on your Internet service, but a significant accumulation of an inch or more (an inch is really significant here in the South) could cause a problem.
When snow or ice builds up on your satellite dish and affects your Internet service, you can remove it yourself—as long as you can do it safely. It’s not uncommon for satellite dishes to sit on a roof, deck rail, or other hard-to-reach location, which can make access and cleaning difficult and difficult, especially in icy conditions. Do not attempt to remove snow or ice from dishes unless you have safe access to them.
If you can safely reach the dishes, try to remove the snow by hand or with a soft-bristled brush such as a hand broom. Be careful and try to avoid pushing or moving the dish, even by a few centimeters, it could knock the dish out of position and reduce the signal quality or lose the signal altogether. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid using anything that can scratch the surface, such as a windshield scraper, to prevent damage to the dishes.
In case of ice build-up, using a small amount of warm water will usually solve the problem. For best results and to avoid shifting dishes or damaging any internal components, use a sprayer to apply a light 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 dishes, such as an ice scraper.
Won’t dish warmers or covers do it for me?
It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I don’t know if this is fully the case with 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 buy it online for HughesNet or Viasat for a few hundred bucks. Keep in mind that they will also add a bit to your electric bill, but most units have a thermometer and will automatically turn on when needed to prevent snow and ice build-up, helping to keep energy consumption low.
Satellite dish covers are a cheaper option, but are usually less efficient. You’ll have no problem finding a dish cover online for less than $50, but the results may be short-lived. Dish covers can collect dirt, dust and pollen, creating a prime surface for snow and ice, so you can still wash dishes 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 5G home Internet, are prone to many of the same service outages as satellite Internet, but on a smaller scale.
With both services, internet signals travel much shorter distances, usually five to 10 miles at most, so there’s less chance of encountering bad weather along the way. Additionally, the fixed wireless and cell towers used for 5G are not miles above the Earth, meaning strong cloud coverage should not affect service.
Heavy rain can be another thing. Fixed wireless internet works by sending internet signals in a direct line or fixed position between the tower and your home. Anything that disrupts this signal, such as a seasonal downpour, can disrupt the signal and thus your internet connection.
Rain is less of a problem with 5G home internet servicesor because unlike fixed wireless internet, 5G works by broadcasting signals in all directions. Even if some signals are blocked or diverted due to rain or snow, others will still reach your device and keep your internet going, even though the signal may not be as strong.
Snow and ice are also less of a concern for 5G because there is no external receiver. However, fixed wireless service requires the installation of a dish or receiver (albeit often much smaller than a satellite dish) that could accumulate frozen precipitation. Heaters and covers are more difficult to access for fixed wireless devices, so you may need to manually remove any build-up if it interferes with your internet connection.
What about cable, DSL and fiber?
Cable, DSL, and fiber lines run directly into your home, so they’re not nearly as sensitive to weather fluctuations as wireless delivery methods like satellite, fixed wireless, and 5G. Rain, snow and cloud cover 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 bad weather is a power outage. Losing power in your home will likely render your modem and router inoperable, meaning that even if your home still has an internet signal, you won’t be able to use it unless your device has a battery backup.
And if the blackout hits your provider, you might be out of luck. Inclement weather can knock out servers or provider systems that deliver the Internet, resulting in widespread outages. So even if you don’t have electricity at home, bad weather can still affect your internet connection. Even worse, there is nothing you can do about it other than wait for the service to resume.
There is also a small possibility that electrical surges 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 with older DSL networks compared to newer cable Internet systems, but the risk is still relatively low for both types of service.
How Weather Affects Your Internet FAQ
Can I use weatherproof sprays on my satellite dish?
It is not recommended to use any type of chemical coating on the satellite dish, including weatherproof or cooking sprays, cooking sprays (to prevent snow from sticking), or anything else not intended for use on the dish. In addition to potentially damaging the surface of the dishes, many sprays could attract dirt, dust and pollen, making the surface more prone to snow or ice accumulation.
Do I need to clean the satellite dish?
Cleaning your dishes is often not necessary other than to maintain their appeal. As mentioned above, cleaning dishes of dirt and other deposits can help prevent snow and ice build-up, but otherwise usually won’t improve performance.
If you decide to clean the satellite dish, do it gently with a soft sponge and warm water. Do not use any cleaning agents other than mild dishwashing detergents, as harsh chemicals can damage the surface of your dishes. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to clean your dishes 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 little effect on Internet signals, but it can affect the systems that transmit them. Increased energy demands during a heat wave also put a strain on power grids, which could affect internet services at home or somewhere on the road.