Why is the Internet so ***ing slow when it rains?
When it’s raining, I like staying indoors and eating something hot and crispy while watching TV. I watch my TV through the Internet (of course) and I was terribly annoyed today because Lie to Me on Hulu was stopping to buffer every 15 seconds, and I’m not exaggerating.
At least regular web-surfing is okay, but as more of our content because reliable on Internet connection that is time-sensitive (think of streaming, online gaming, distance learning) what are we going to do about these weather problems? Will people living in tropical areas (with more precipitation) have slower Internet connection? In a future age where Internet is essential to all aspects of society-economy, politics, religion, education, etc.- is it fair that people in geographic locations with more precipitation be at a disadvantage? What is it about rain and snow that blocks up the Internet?
And it’s not just Comcast, even though high-speed internet connection in the US is not exactly high. Even in Korea, where I had 100mbps coming through on cable, there would be rainy days when the Internet just didn’t live up to expectations. The odd thing, however, is that I don’t understand why it is so. Physics is the last thing I’m good at, so forgive me if my theories are wrong, but it doesn’t make sense, because even when Internet connection would be screwy at home, PC rooms would have great connection. And when you’re in a country where Starcraft is a national pastime, that’s extremely important.
So what is it? Were the PC rooms paying for more bandwidth? And if they were, what is it about rain that clogs up the Internet arteries? Is water the cholesterol of the Internet? How much more people use the Internet simultaneously when it rains? Is that number so high that it makes the Internet freeze at home, but not PC rooms? Weird.
To some extent, I am sympathetic about wireless and satellite Internet because perhaps the precipitation affects the airwaves. I know light is affected by water; don’t know about how sound works, but since water is a dense physical component, I wouldn’t be surprised if precipitation warped air transmission. But I don’t understand how water would affect fiber optic cables and copper pipes. Does it affect the conductivity? Electricity travels faster when it’s wet, but what about bits?
Everything would make so much more sense if the Internet were run by hamsters. If it rains, their fur gets soggy and heavy, so they have no choice but to run slower
Update (7/23): According to comments below, apparently when it is rainy, the rain and clouds affects the airwaves traveling to and from, and between satellites. Even cables are connected to satellites at some point, so this explains slow cable Internet. Also, water builds up resistance in the cable. I guess this makes sense, but it still doesn’t explain why PC rooms have fast Internet when homes do not, so I think there is still a bandwidth component that I am sure ISPs are reluctant to talk about.