Connect with us
Image by Google Gemini Image creator, based on a prompt by Gadget.

Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: Do downpours spell downtime?

A reader asks if ongoing wet weather is to blame for poor mobile signals and fibre connectivity going down. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has a soggy answer.

Q: I love a good downpour but not when it carries on and on, and especially not when it affects my connectivity. Can bad weather affect my cell signal and mobile data? And oes too much rain damage my fibre connection?

While we all love good rains, but after a while it puts a damper on our moods as well as our connectivity. Yes, you’re right, wet weather can lead to frustrating internet connection issues.

The Trouble with Wet, firstly, is that heavy rain, strong winds, and hail can damage the physical infrastructure that carries internet signals. Aside from downed power lines, damaged cell towers, or flooded underground cables that feed these towers, water itself can create signal interference. Water scatters and absorbs radio waves, which can weaken the signal strength for 4G and 5G mobile data, as well as for Wi-Fi signals traveling long distances outdoors.

Fibre optic cables are generally buried underground and less susceptible to physical damage, but even there soaking rains can cause outages. While fibre uses light pulses to transmit data, which is unaffected by rain or moisture, heavy rains can lead to soil subsiding, which can damage the cables. Light cannot travel through a damaged fibre optic line.

Old-style mobile data connections and traditional broadband connections that rely on copper wires, like ADSL, are highly susceptible to interference from wet weather, as heavy rain can cause static on phone lines and weaken the signal.

The best solution: always have multiple forms of backup for connectivity, so that, when one plays up due to weather, you can move over to another.

Subscribe to our free newsletter
To Top