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Do Bad Weather and Storms Really Affect Internet Connections?

Do Bad Weather and Storms Really Affect Internet Connections?

If you’re like me, you’ve been told on several occasions that your ping was high or your download speed was low because of the bad weather outside. But is that really the case? Do storms really affect the quality of internet connections? And, if so, by how much? Well, let’s check it out!

Let's Benchmark the weather

For my testing, I decided to basically benchmark the weather. First up, for full transparency’s sake, here’s my testing methodology for Cable as well as WiFi: I used speedtest.net to measure my ping, download speed, and upload speed in sunny, cloudy, and stormy weather, using the same server for all tests for maximum consistency. I did all of my testings around noon and on the same devices.

For WiFi testing, I also made sure that the phone I was using was in the same place each time (on the corner of my desk). Another thing worth mentioning is that my connection is 500 Mb/s download, 200 Mb/s uploads.

So, let’s see what I have:

First up, cable, which is known to be more reliable than WiFi. As you can see on this chart right here, sunny weather and cloudy weather speed differences were within the margin of error, but when we throw a storm into the mix, things seem to change. Ping quadruples, going from around 4 to 16. It also seems that the delay is highly inconsistent during bad weather, as it varies between 9 and 20, whereas calm weather yielded a steady 4 ms across the board.

Do Bad Weather and Storms Really Affect Internet Connections?

Average download speeds also went down by about 40 Megabits/second, but I’m still getting over 500 Mb, which is what I’m paying for, so you could maybe overlook that, even though sunny and cloudy readings were extremely consistent.

On the other hand, Upload speeds hovered around a consistent 217 to 218 in all weather conditions.

This might indicate another cause for this problem, but we’ll get to that later in the article.

Now, let’s take a look at the WiFi results, where the disparities seem much more pronounced. Again, cloudy and sunny weather seems to basically be the same, so I just averaged them together and displayed them as one. However, if you go ahead and take a look at stormy weather, the difference is there.

Not only is ping over 300% higher, but my average download speed went from 44.4 Mb/s all the way down to 24, which is nearly half. Upload speeds did also fall from 33.6 to 28.3, but that, again, seems like a much smaller difference relative to the others.

Do Bad Weather and Storms Really Affect Internet Connections?

So, we’ve seen the data, but what should you make of this? There are two options here.

First of all, adverse weather conditions can directly impact your connection to the internet. Factors like high humidity have been known to impact WiFi signal range and temperatures may affect poor quality cables, lowering the quality of your connection.

But there is another way in which bad weather affects your internet connection indirectly, which explains why download speeds and ping took a much bigger hit than upload speeds.

Think about it:

When the weather outside is nice, people go out, but during bad weather conditions, they are stuck inside. And what do you do when you have to be indoors? You watch a movie, browse Facebook, watch youtube videos, go on Twitter, and so on. All of these are very download-intensive activities.

For example, streaming a movie or a video from the internet takes a lot of downloading but little to no uploading. This puts a lot more stress on the network, lowering the overall quality for everybody. Moreover, wifi network interference skyrockets, further damaging connection quality.

And all of that is even more true in summer when I am running these tests when kids don’t have to go to school and are more likely to be home during bad weather. And that’s about it! If you want to see my results for yourself to a google spreadsheet with all the numbers.

Otherwise, I really do hope you found this article helpful. let me know your thoughts in the comment section below and share it with your friends.

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