Why is Internet Slow When it Rains?

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.


27 responses to “Why is Internet Slow When it Rains?

  1. why my internet get slow when it rain but after a few weeks it back to normal what could cause it? does anybody know?

  2. i am replying on this at the time when here is raining hope it will be succesfull post i think in the wireless internet the electromagnetic waves are use and there is lott of experiments have prove that the electromagnetic waves are effected in water by dicreasing there speed so it can be cause of it

  3. Glad I came across this blog. I live in Hawaii and needless to say , it rains here a lot. More during winter but still very often annually. I’ve noticed superior drag during rain events vs any other day. Difficult enough getting decent connection out here in the middle of the Pacific but during a rainy period , forget it. Borderline Stone Age connectivity. I’d say maybe its a clear sign to get out and enjoy the beaches and such but then again , …it’s raining.

  4. OMG out of subject but u watched lie to me, i love that drama, so are u like an asian drama feak just like me? please contact me at eriakhap@yahoo.com if it is true k thx bye <3

  5. THe reason why rain slows down (and trust me on this) The frequency of the Wave Travels at the air (No duh)and then When Rain comes the Frquency touches the rain and Bounces off (imagine this ———–> I= –>) only some of the Frequency gets truh without dying in the rain… xD GO ROBLOX

  6. im downloading a 5mb file and it is taking me more that 18 hours….. omfg what should i do… it is raining..

  7. “Simple Answer” why the Internet is slowing when rain comes!
    because signal that is Received by your Internet Receiver is blocked
    by rain.
    Signal came`s from Satellite`s then goes to your Internet Receiver
    so that you can have Internet
    so simple as that.

  8. Google works, tada!

    > ‘whenever there’s more than a day of rain, Internet connections can slow down. The exterior cables that conduct the transmission tend to absorb some of the rain’s moisture. In turn, resistance builds up and the transmission tends to slow down’

  9. If hamsters did run the internet, then we could just shave them and gave em rain boots…*sigh*

    @Emma – Seriously? Sydney isn’t the capital? o.O
    *goes back to google*

  10. Although cable is mostly cable, there are conjunctions which must be made by satelite. Thus, there is room for speed Try asking comcast this issue and it will be denied.

  11. Why hello!
    I live in canberra, the capital city here in australia. (surprise surprise, its not sydney)
    and today is a rainy, rainy day.

    today i decided, (as slow as my internet is ATM) to google up “why is internet slow on rainy days?” and this was the third article…


    and i still have no idea why the internet is slow when it rains :( which makes matters worse… i have pondered the questions posed above by yourself for many a year, and with no luck (as there IS NO LOGICAL answer)…

    i have nice speedy new cables…. a nice speedy mac… and i live in the nicest, most speedy internet area in the city… and still…. D:

    hopefully some amazing internet person will stumble across this page sometime soon and answer our questions… but until then…all we can do is wait for everything to buffer :(


    • I believe the only logical answer would be that more people use the Internet on rainy days, thus clogging up bandwidth. either that or there is something about fiber optic cables that makes data transmission slower when the environment is wet!! (but that doesn’t really make sense either~)

      • I totally agree but i would think the second one would be more or less it becuz when it rain as soon as it rains my internet is all otta wack

    • When it’s cloudy outside, as somebody else had said, then the clouds can reflect your airwaves traveling up to the satellites and it can bounce all around until it luckily finds a spot to catch a signal, and when it reaches that signal, it bounces all around again because it has to manage to find a way back down.

    • Actually It slower because Settellite Use point to point or line of sight, means if you block the view of your settellite disc internet will be down, but if it rain it is like you are opening your eyes under……let me know if it help

      • on rainy days clouds cover the sky…so it is difficult for settellite disc to communicate with the other settellite in the space……..leta me know if it helps….

    • make sure that there is no water getting into the box on the side of the house it worked for me but could be deff. for you

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