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Uninterrupted connection is the true meaning of communication in today’s modern era of technology. Most aspects of our everyday lives depend on a strong connection to the internet. Our work, communication, learning, entertainment and much more relies strongly on reliable internet access.

Therefore, even the slightest disruption to the internet connection may cause us to feel like we are losing track with the world. However, with so many people plugged in, cyberspace is becoming a crowded place and outages are sometimes inevitable.

For every internet outage there is a cause & solution, and there are two steps in this process: to determine that cause and then to resolve it. The starting point in identifying the problem is to determine the cause of the outage. In this article you can find the most common causes for an internet outage to get yourself prepared for the next biggest tragedy –“No internet connection”.

Laptop Man Scared
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Equipment Failure

When experiencing an outage, the first thing you should do is determine if anything has changed in the setup. The best way to start troubleshooting is to exclude the possibility of an equipment failure. Did you recently install new hardware? Hardware failure is the most common reason to cause network blackouts. The many interconnected elements of the network setup can easily come with a fault and cause disruptions. A partial failure in one of the devices can be the single cause or a cause of a complete network failure.

Your equipment may not be properly grounded and protected and this may lead to short circuits and damaging of the cables and the modem, due to power fluctuations and surges. Moreover, power fluctuations can sometimes cause a problem of “confusion” between switches and modems that may also lead to network disruption.

Incompatibility between the firmware and the hardware may also be the cause of connecting issues. Although, this is a rare case scenario, if you are suspecting this issue it is advisable to consult a technician or update all your hardware devices to the latest firmware versions.

Sometimes technical issues can be easily solved by replacing faulty or end-of-life (EOL) equipment with quality, updated hardware.

Power Outage

A power outage is an obvious reason for an internet outage in your home or office. However, recent power outages or unstable power supply may fry or damage your cables or equipment causing a permanent problem. Moreover, this will make a persisting problem even after the power supply becomes stable.

Keep in mind that just because you have power, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a power outage upstream from your network connection. Perhaps your internet connection relies on repeater devices installed on telephone poles many blocks or miles away – if there’s a power outage in one of those areas, you’re likely to be affected.

Congested Network

With more and more people plugging in everyday, ISPs have had to work to keep up with the increased load. When a lot of people are using the same lines, congestion can cause outages or intermittent connectivity.

Congested network results in temporary blackouts in certain areas where a vast number of people are trying to access the network at the same time. Too many attempts to access may slow down the network or cause disruption. Congestion is a problem that is very predictable as it often happens in public places. Luckily for network administrators this outage problem can be managed and prevented more easily than others listed below

Operation Error

Network downtime may be caused when an internet connection is not installed properly. Cabled plugged into the wrong ports, misconfigured firewalls, and incorrect IP addresses, or duplicate IPs are also a common operator errors.

Weather Disasters

Bad weather can also affect the internet speed and cause network links to fail.

Floods, storms, hurricanes, and high winds can cause temporary or permanent disruption of internet connection. The result could be a lost connection, intermittent service, or a slower speed than normal due to outdoor equipment damage. Weather conditions can also cause wire damages as they can get frayed or broken due to extreme heat or cold.

People and Animals

Damages to infrastructures can be caused by people getting into accidents and damaging equipment that connects to your internet line. Sadly, there are those rare cases in which people purposely damage equipment with malicious intent to cause an outage.

Furthermore, there are accidents that result in damaged equipment caused by animals. The concrete jungle isn’t what their natural habitat used to look like, and nesting in a bundle of cables might seem like a good idea.

router switch internet
Photo by Misha Feshchak on Unsplash

Speed Fluctuation from the ISP

Internet speed fluctuations issue usually results in slower internet speed than expected. However, speed fluctuations sometimes lead to network interruptions because the lines from your provider are not optimized as well as they could be, resulting in congestion. It’s another reason we all hate our Internet providers.

Unfortunately, congested network results in consecutive disruptions and short reconnections. Moreover, this may be very irritating as the case often may be that you are paying for a specific rate but receiving a slower rate service. These disruptions also tend to occur at peak usage times such as later in the evening when users all tend to hit the Internet at the same time.

In some cases you may be experiencing a larger outage impact that affects the whole area due to maintenance work or problems with your service provider. Therefore it is recommended to report the outage on the outage map.

A Failed Link to Service Provider

When the link between your device and server is interrupted by a third party an outage will occur. Often times a failed link may happen as a result of a thunderstorm, construction work, high wind or animals or human factor.

These types of outages are much more common than the ones that are caused by the internal equipment failures.


Featured Image Credit: Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Sam Hoffman
Marketing Consultant

Sam Hoffman is a business and marketing consultant who helps digital businesses reach their exact audience. Sam is passionate about optimization and analytics. His current focus is helping decision-makers design their perfect business tools. He frequently writes about the latest advancements in the digital marketing industry. 


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Sam Hoffman

Sam Hoffman is a business and marketing consultant who helps digital businesses reach their exact audience. Sam is passionate about optimization and analytics. His current focus is helping decision-makers design their perfect business tools. He frequently writes about the latest advancements in the digital marketing industry.