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How winter weather hampers your connectivity.

Nov 06, 2018

How winter weather hampers your connectivity.

Weather affects Wi-Fi & Mi-Fi: Fact or Fiction?

Frequent internet users often complain of slower Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi speeds during bad weather. Find out if there is something to these claims or if it is just in our minds.

Does Bad Weather Affect Wireless Signal?

It is winter. A major blizzard has set in, and the wind's howling outside your door as the temperature drops. You're not going outside in that maelstrom, so you curl up with a hot coffee and your laptop, only to discover your internet speed or cell phone connection is moving at glacial rates. What gives? Why does my internet slow down when the weather turns lousy? We know that rain, moisture, snow, etc. attenuates or reduces cellular signal propagation from cell towers to your mobile device whether indoor or outdoor. However, does cold weather affect broadband wireless signals as well, or is something else at work here?

Why is my internet slow during bad weather?

If you have ever typed "why my internet is so slow during bad weather?" into Google, you're not alone. Most of the evidence for "internet weather" is anecdotal, with little evidence weather directly affects Wi-Fi signals. Indirectly, however, there are several ways winter weather can interrupt your signal.

High winds, heavy snow, ice, and rain can all damage infrastructure, tearing down power lines, causing power outages, and damaging broadcast towers. You don't have to see evidence of this damage locally to feel its effects: A power outage in one part of the city can limit the routes internet traffic takes through the infrastructure during transmission. With higher than normal traffic along those routes, internet speed slows down. Extreme cold can also cause the ground to heave as it freezes, potentially damaging cable lines.

Another factor is our response to inclement weather. If you have decided to cocoon at home to ride out the storm, chances are many other people have decided to do just the same - and reached for their laptops, eBooks, and smartphones. With everyone inside because of the weather, internet traffic spikes, and internet speed drops for everyone.

Rain, humidity, and "Internet Weather”.

Apple lists water as one of the substances capable of blocking and interfering with Wi-Fi signals. With that in mind, can heavy rain slow signals down? Some evidence suggests rain droplets can absorb radio frequencies of 2.4 GHz, partially blocking Wi-Fi or cellular signals.

Rain won't interfere with indoor Wi-Fi, but could theoretically slow a signal moving across open outdoor spaces from one building to another. Again, the evidence is mostly anecdotal, and what research has been done doesn't include studying snow to see if it has a similar effect.

So why is my internet slow then?

Your personal habits may explain, at least partially, why internet weather seems to be a thing. Do you move away from your wireless router on cold days? If your router is on the first floor and you usually access Internet there, you may find the signal is weaker if you decide to ride out severe weather upstairs all curled up in bed and binge-watching your favorite TV show. The floor will absorb some of the Wi-Fi signal, slowing your connection.

If roommates or family members are also home for a snow day you might be encountering some wireless interference. Wireless devices and transmitters operating at 2.4 and 5 GHz can interfere with some networks, as can using microwaves close to the router.

Fighting "Internet weather" with a signal booster.

With all these factors combined, you can understand why people wonder if cold weather affects Wi-Fi signals. Using a wi-fi signal booster helps combat these problems, especially if your Wi-Fi router is on another floor or in a different building. For stronger cellular connectivity indoors, the following products are excellent for improving signal in small homes and offices:

For smaller homes and apartments the new Flare 3.0 boosts voice, text, 3G, and 4G signals in areas up to 3,000 square feet. The signal booster supports simultaneous use by multiple devices and users.

Homes and offices requiring strong signals in up to 4,000 square feet are better served by the Fusion 4, which improves 3G and 4G data speeds tremendously.

Need to boost cell phone reception up to 7,000 square feet for your large home or office building floor? The Fusion 5s works with all cell providers to support multiple devices.

Does cold weather affect Wi-Fi (Broadband wireless Internet)? We may not have a definitive answer, but we know it affects Mi-Fi (cellular wireless Internet). Either way, by using a signal booster for each scenario, you can at least ensure your internet connection is as strong and reliable as possible.

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  • Does wintry weather affect Wi-Fi? In my opinion and experience it does. That’s not a scientific sampling, but I notice wind and snow seem to disrupt my Wi-Fi regardless of if I’m in a car or at home. The one point you bring up is so important is the extra traffic that happens when a storm hits. There’s no getting around that problem that I’m aware of. If the system crashes, I don’t know if a cell phone booster is going to help.

    Norm Berger on
  • It’s April and I’m still getting occasional days of winter weather. When people ask me does weather affect a cell phone signal, I ask them to compare reception on a windy and/or snowy day to a clear day with little or no wind. Weather definitely affects signals and I’ve had days where it was very difficult to stay connected. I have a landline so I don’t use a phone booster. However, I have thought about getting one for when the weather acts up. Whether it’s cold weather, rains, or winds, weather can affect your cell phone and it can affect wi-fi too.

    Donaldo Tejada on
  • There are different types of winter storms and as you guys mention here, winter weather can disrupt your connections, whether it’s cell phones or Wi-Fi. I know from experience that high winds and rain reduce my ability to get a good signal for my cell phone, and the winter only makes it more difficult. If you ask what causes a winter storm, you’ll probably find it’s similar to what causes summer storms in terms of atmospheric disruptions, another factor that affects your cell phone and Wi-Fi signals. Seeing as I live in the northeast, I am considering getting a signal booster because I enjoy using my phone, but live in an area where there can be a lot of bad winter storms.

    Marc Stevenson on

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