Extreme Cold and the Internet: Does Temperature Have an Effect?

January 25, 2020

Have you heard that extreme cold reduces internet speed in Montana? You might be wondering if that could possibly be true, but are frustrated with the way your streaming services cut out on the stormiest days. While it’s true that extreme cold can have an effect on your internet speed, it’s probably not for the reasons you think. Read on to learn more.

How your internet works

To troubleshoot just why your connection is slowing down on nasty winter days, you’ll need to know what kind of internet you’re using. Most Americans today use a broadband service, whether DSL, cable or fiber optic:

  • DSL: DSL connections use your regular phone lines to transmit digital information. DSL speeds tend to be a bit slower than cable or fiber optic, but the speed usually remains at a steady average.
  • Cable: Cable internet uses the cables from television providers to transmit data at higher speeds than DSL. However, if too many users are connected to the network at once, the speeds can drop significantly.
  • Fiber optic: Fiber optic cables use pulsing light to transmit information over longer distances, as opposed to DSL and cable, which rely on electricity.

How bad weather can affect your internet speed

Now that you know how these types of internet work, here’s how extreme cold and other inclement weather can affect your internet. Your average storm isn’t going to have any effect on your internet speed, but large storms or tornadoes that knock out electrical lines may disrupt your cable or DSL connection. When “ground heaves” occur, those can tear the copper lines, and extreme cold can cause electrical components to malfunction. In other words, the cold, wind and water have to have a significant effect in order to disrupt your internet service—but it is possible. If your town is simply stuck indoors because of miserable weather, your internet speed might be slowing down due to the fact that there is a heavier system load than normal.

Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, don’t use electricity. That means they’re not as susceptible to outages as other types of internet, although it’s always possible for a cable to be severed somehow. That is a far less likely option.

If you’re experiencing internet issues and believe cold weather has reduced your internet speed, we recommend calling your Montana IT professional, rather than trying to fix the problem yourself. They will be able to give you more information about why the network might be down, as well as provide troubleshooting solutions.

Business internet and networking solutions in Montana

Your business needs a solid internet connection and the infrastructure to support it. At Tech Service Company, we specialize in designing, installing and supporting smart technological solutions for your business. Whether you’re a multinational company or a mom-and-pop shop, having a reliable and fast internet connection is crucial to doing business today. Our IT professionals can help businesses of all sizes. We offer 24/7 tech support and the friendly, reliable customer service you need. Call us today to get started.

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