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We’ve all experienced less than ideal internet connections, which can lead to interruptions in service, super slow internet connectivity, or – joy of joys – the internet signal dropping out completely, suddenly, and seemingly randomly.
If you’re having these kind of problems with your internet, read on…
FYI, the first half of this article talks about a total loss of internet and what might be causing it.
The second half of the article is all about why your internet might be super slow all the time.
Solutions are provided throughout. Hope it helps!
The All Consuming Rage of The Random Signal Drop
If you work from home or happen to be doing anything important online (define “important” however you like), you probably have felt the rage of an internet connection that disconnects randomly, right in the middle of a Skype call talking to a co-worker, family member, boss, and so forth.
Or maybe when you’re updating your blog and then – BOOM – suddenly no internet without you noticing, and you end up saving your work to the void, losing hours of work because revisions on WordPress was turned off.
When a loss of internet signal occurs, it usually happens right when you’re “in the zone” and happily getting things done. It is almost always infuriating.
Another thing that is nearly as bad as no internet is super slow internet, although not quite the same problem and having different solutions.
The purpose of this article is to explore the potential causes of dropped signals so you are more informed on the topic of WIFI signal interruptions and also very slow internet, and can correct these problems yourself in some cases, whenever they occur.
Why Is My Internet Not Working? (Wi-Fi Not Available)
When these things happen, where do we point the finger? Who or what has caused this sudden and seemingly random interruption in service?
First let’s look at the potential causes for a signal dropping out completely.
When the signal drops, often the first people we call is our service provider.
And why not? They’re providing the internet, aren’t they? They must have screwed up somehow, causing this interruption.
And if they didn’t cause it outright, maybe they know what caused it. One way or another, they’re usually the ones who get called.
What Kind Of Internet Do You Use?
But let’s take a step back for a minute. What kind of internet is it that you have?
For instance, is it satellite internet? Is it cable internet? Is it fiber optic internet? Is it DSL internet?
We will get deeper into each of these types of internet in another article, but you should at least know that, depending on what type of internet your home has, it will determine how fast or slow your internet will be, or how flaky the signal can be in general.
Obviously, if you are the owner of the internet at your home, you will probably know what kind of internet it is. You bought the package, after all.
Most people base the decision for which internet they’re purchasing on what provides the best speed, and the least problems.
Of course, even some people who do purchase their own internet may, by some miracle, not know what type of internet they have.
Also, if you’re just someone who lives at the house or apartment, but you aren’t the one paying for the internet, you may be a bit foggier about what kind it is.
Maybe someone just told you how much the internet costs for you, and you pay them, and that’s about it.
You may have not noticed where the signal is coming from. Just know this…
Different Types of Internet Signals Function Differently
Just know that each type of internet has a different set of pros and cons that goes along with it.
For instance, satellite internet actually uses .. that’s right, a satellite, which beams the signal down from space.
To illustrate our point, here’s the earth from space.
Here’s the earth from space, with all the internet satellites floating around it.
And here’s what your home might look like, with it’s own satellite to catch the signal from your internet providers satellite.
This right here should tell you something about what might go wrong with a satellite internet signal, considering the number of satellites and the number of signals and the number of houses.
Just picture that satellite somewhere above your house, up there in some kind of orbit, floating in space, keeping you connected to your internet.
It’s amazing, really, but it’s also somewhat understandable if that signal cuts out sometimes. It’s not supposed to happen, but it can, and it does.
Think about weather systems that move in, potentially interfering with signals from space.
Not to mention that with satellite internet, it’s not just being beamed down to your satellite on your house, which then connects to your router. Your home’s satellite also sends information to the satellite, including the various requests you have to visit certain websites, including this one!
The signals are also going to and from the base station (ie. your provider), which helps to power the satellite and keep the internet running.
Alright, so now that you have a fairly good idea of how satellite internet works, let’s talk about some of the other reasons a signal might drop if you have another type of internet, such as cable internet.
Like the satellite attached to your home, you might instead have a cable box that is outside somewhere, which then wires the signal to your router inside your house, providing you with the internet.
Since this box is outside, and involves wires, think about what can happen. Although this box is meant to withstand harsh weather, this box will sometimes has problems if weather conditions get too harsh.
There are also animals outside, and other things, like bugs. Unless this box is 100% kept in perfect condition and weather, animals, bugs, are kept at bay, you may experience a signal loss from time to time.
This sometimes requires the cable guy to come into your yard and fix the problem, if it persists.
Then there’s the other box that sits somewhere in your neighbourhood, ie. the telecom box. You know, the fairly unobtrusive box that sends telecom capabilities to your house, and every other house, in your vicinity.
Well, that thing isn’t invincible either. Maybe a car jumped the curb and hit it. Maybe a neighbourhood punk hit it with a baseball bat. Maybe a racoon now lives in it.
On top of all of these things, there’s also something else to consider, and that is incompetence.
Yes, besides things like weather and animals interfering with the electronics related to your internet, there is also the sad fact that the people who hook up all this magical machinery aren’t always overly qualified to do so.
This means, when your internet goes down, and they send a guy out to fix it, he might just not show up. Maybe he wanted a pizza instead. Maybe he fell asleep when his boss texted him. Maybe he DID show up, opened the telecom box, and realized he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and left.
We like to hope that the people looking after our internet, who are assigned to our home, apartment, or neighbourhood by our particular internet provider, are good, qualified people. But … are they?
Proper Router Placement for the Best Wi-Fi Signal
And then there’s your router.
In terms of slow connectivity, maybe your router just isn’t in a good spot in your home, and there are things, such as certain materials, making the signal slow down as the signal passes through them.
For instance, consider line of sight. If your computer is within sight of your router, chances are the signal will be good and strong.
So you have to consider where your router is in relation to the device that needs the internet. If you are on the other side of the house, where the signal has to travel a great distance, and travel through metal, concrete, and your goldfish bowl, this isn’t going to help you out much.
Here is a chart with building materials and which ones are the worst offenders when it comes to slowing or stopping an internet signal.
But you might say that you have a great internet package and it’s supposed to have the fastest speeds available.
That may be true, but what about if your router just sucks, ie. it’s not a good router to begin with. It is possible to have great internet, but a bad router. While in most cases, you will have a router that matches your potential internet capabilities, there is always the chance they do not match up very well.
Something to think about is this – where did you get your router? Did it come with your internet package, recommended by your provider? Did you buy it yourself on sale somewhere? Or…did you find it in the garbage can?
How did you end up with the router you currently have?
If your router is something you spent $5 on, take another look at it. A good hard look. Consider what brand it is, what model it is, and maybe read a review or two on that particular model.
If you did get it from your aunt and she doesn’t know anything about the internet and neither do you, maybe it’s time to get a better router.
Because even if your internet package boasts super high speeds, a super crap router is going to result in slower speeds or even dropped signals.
Consider a Central Location For Your Router
The best place, overall, for a router to be, is somewhere central. This way, regardless of where you go in the house, your router provides equal opportunity for good signal.
If you combine this strategy with the knowledge of the various materials, and how they can affect the Wi-Fi signal, you should lessen the chances of slow signals, or dropped signals.
Of course, not everyone is going to place their router in the exact center of their house, but it is definitely worth considering, depending on who uses the internet the most and what they use it for.
Who uses your internet? Hmmm… good question.
The number of people who are using the same internet signal at the same time, are going to eat up bandwidth on that connection. Especially if someone watches a lot of videos or, worse, is a gamer.
What is internet bandwidth?
Internet bandwidth is amount of internet data that can be sent over a given internet connection at a given time, measured in millions of bits per second (Mbps = mega bits per second) or billions of bits per second (Gbps = Giga bits per second).
The difference between internet speed and internet bandwidth is that the speed is the rate of data transfer and the bandwidth is the amount of data being transferred
Test your internet speed here: https://testmy.net/
A Few Different Scenarios…
Let’s look at some scenarios that can lead to slow internet in your home, or dropped signals, if things get really bad.
- Lots of people using the internet, and limited bandwidth so the speed slows down for everyone
- Bad placement of a good quality router (say in the basement behind some concrete walls)
- Using old faulty wiring to connect your otherwise decent router, with decent internet
- Not many people using the internet, but an old dusty router that barely works
- Good internet package, good router, old malfunctioning computer
- Good placement of router, but a home that is full of metal and concrete to interfere with the signal
- Not many people using the internet, but one of them is a gamer and it eats all the bandwidth
- Good router, good internet, no gamers, but a truck hit the telecom box down the street
- Good router, good internet, no gamers, but it’s really super freezing and one of the wires broke
- Good router, good internet, no gamers, electrical storm interfering with satellite signal
A Few More Tips For Better Internet
Your best bet is to put a router higher than lower, to get the best signal.
For instance, if you have a two-storey home, you should have it on the top floor, as opposed to in the basement.
Interference Inside Your Home
Keep your router away from other electronic devices that may interfere with its signal.
Try to put your router in a place where it is at a distance from other electronic devices. Other electronics or large metal objects can hinder the signals and eventually, it can slow down the internet.
Especially, try to put your router away from a microwave. Your microwave tends to operate at the similar frequency as most wireless routers. This is the reason your internet might get slow when your microwave is on.
Moreover, ensure that the antennas of your router do not stand at a same angle. Actually, these antennas are very helpful to direct the signals all over the place. So, if your router has two or more antennas, set them in different positions.
Your router should be placed where it is not exposed to thicker walls. Thicker walls can obstruct the Wi-Fi signals, as we alluded to before.
Furthermore, if there’s a fish tank or any other water-containing object near your router, make sure your router is not near them. This is due to the reason that water hampers router signals.
You can also try experimenting with different locations, in choosing a best place for your router. There’s always the chance that our recommended central location isn’t best for you for some reason. That’s ok.
This way, you can achieve the most optimal and reliable place, where-ever that may be in your home.
Let us know how this all works out for you, and if some of this advice was useful to you.
Using this advice, you should be able to avoid this…
And see more of this…
Best of luck!