Internet Keeps Dropping? Here’s why, and what you need to do to fix it
Today, a fast and reliable internet connection has become essential in every workplace. However, technological developments and advancements are not exempted from flaws. A repeatedly dropping internet connection at unexpected times is one of the most frustrating things anybody can experience.
Whether you are accessing a remote application from your device or working from home and conducting online meetings and conferences, a consistent internet can make all the difference. There are several reasons an otherwise reliable connection can start dropping all of a sudden. However, it is important to diagnose the exact problem to be able to find an appropriate solution.
Below, we explain the most common reasons why your internet keeps dropping and some easy fixes that you can apply to bring back your speedy internet for an uninterrupted experience.
5 Reasons Why Your Internet Keeps Dropping
Everybody faces an unexpected internet drop sometimes or the other. When the internet keeps dropping on your smartphone or computer, it can cause a lot of inconvenience and frustration, with jittery video and constant buffering.
In many cases, this can be caused by dated hardware, such as router or modem. A quick fix may be as straightforward as replacing you existing equipment with a more modern, and technologically advanced wireless cable modem combo device.
Nonetheless, whether you are a student learning from online classes, or working from home and trying to attend a video conference, an internet problem can affect the experience and cause frustration. For remote workers, a dropping internet might result in disconnection of online meetings and waste a lot of time.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your internet could keep dropping.
1. Wrong Wi-Fi Network
Sometimes, two locations may have unsecured Wi-Fi networks with the same name and your device can unknowingly connect to the wrong network. Such a mistake would result in a lot of problems including frequent disconnecting and reconnecting of Wi-Fi as the device leaves one and connects to the other.
In this case, the device also loses connection whenever the wrong network gets turned off, even when the original network is running properly. Moreover, your device may experience problems whenever the other network suffers from bandwidth issues. This is because too many people use a network that is unsecured.
To avoid this problem, always take proper security measures to make sure your computers and other devices connect to the right network. Set up your smartphones, tablets, and laptops to not join networks automatically so that they don’t pick up unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Take steps to secure your network and ask your neighbours to keep their Wi-Fi networks protected.
See also: Securing your wireless network
2. Broken Cables
Your ISP is not always responsible for a problem with your internet. There are several other reasons you may not get the desired output. You can check for the connection at the right-hand corner of your toolbar to see if it is disconnected. This is not a serious problem and should get resolved quickly.
Loose or broken cables are one of the main reasons you can see a frequent drop in your internet connection. A lot of internet issues arise from cables connected to your router and modem. When you have old or broken cables, the equipment may not give consistent performance and an optimal internet experience.
Inspect the cable connection to identify any faults with wires connecting the components. Simply unplugging and plugging the cables back should fix the problem in most cases. However, sometimes they may need to be replaced with new ones to get a stable connection. Internal damage in the connectors and cables cannot be identified through physical examination, so it is a good idea to replace them at regular intervals to avoid any problem.
3. Network Overload
Your home network and hardware may be set up to avoid interference but sometimes, network interference can lead to problems. If you have low bandwidth, too many devices connecting to the same network at the same time can cause a drop in your internet as the available bandwidth for each device is limited.
When the devices lack sufficient bandwidth, you can experience problems playing videos, opening websites, and even see the device connecting and disconnecting every now and then as it tries to keep using the network. This issue becomes more serious when multiple devices are streaming content or downloading files.
Use the speed tests to confirm whether you are getting the speed promised by your service provider. If the test results show a slower speed than what you expect, there is either a problem with your modem or router or you have an overcrowded network. You can try disconnecting a few devices from the network to improve the connection.
You can free some bandwidth by turning off a device that was streaming movies. You can also ask some people connected to the network to pause their games to see if your internet improves. It is also possible to allocate bandwidth limits to different users on the network so that you always have enough bandwidth available.
Once you have turned off interfering devices, you can check the consistency of the connection to find out if the problem gets resolved. You can even consider changing your plan to suit your usage requirements.
4. Outdated Drivers and Software
Another common reason that could cause a drop in your internet is that your computer does not have updated drivers. Each device connecting to the Wi-Fi network relies on the drivers which may become corrupted or obsolete over time. When the computer drivers are outdated, they cause several wireless problems including network drop.
Outdated drivers are not always responsible for an internet drop. If your connection worked properly when you first established it, this should not be a reason for an issue faced later. However, updating your drivers solves most problems at times and can give you stable internet.
Always make sure you have an up-to-date version of the router firmware as timely updates of the router get you rid of most connectivity issues. Also, turn on automatic updates for all the devices connected to the network so that they can handle the latest technology employed by your service provider.
5. Problem with Internet Service Provider
One of the most common reasons for a sudden internet drop is a problem with the internet service provider. If your ISP has some issue, there is no point trying to find out what is wrong or what you can do about it. You simply need to contact the support team of your provider and report the problem. The ISP should resolve the issue to improve your internet performance.
It is common to see the internet dropping once in a while because of the ISP settings. However, if you experience the issue every now and then or you find the signal strength dropping all the time, you should take some steps. You can easily identify if there is a problem with the settings of the internet subscription. Here is what you need to do:
- Go to the command prompt on your computer.
- Type ping (URL of a website) or ping (IP address of a computer in the same network).
- If the computer shows receiving and sending packets or bytes, there is no problem with your ISP.
See: Continuous ping in Windows, Linux, and MacOS
If everything is functioning well, you should receive a message that some packets have been transferred or received. In that case, you should look for other factors that could be causing a problem for your internet.
Related: Choosing the best internet service for your business
Quick Fixes if your Internet keeps disconnecting
Now that you know some of the most common reasons that could cause a drop in the internet, let us discuss some effective solutions for these problems. With these fixes, you will be able to identify the exact cause of an internet issue and resolve it quickly. Here are some of the things you can try to get your internet back and running smoothly in no time.
Check the Cables
Your internet is likely to keep disconnecting if you are using old, broken cables on your network. Regardless of the type of internet you use, there are a few cables you will need to plug in the modem and connect the router to the modem. Most home connections have three types of cables:
- Ethernet cable – If your modem and router are not a package, you will need this cable. It also connects the router to your computer to enjoy a direct signal.
- Coaxial cable – This cable connects a modem to the cable network in the home.
- Phone cable – Your modem/router combo or modem connects to the DSL internet line with this cable.
If any one of these cables doesn’t work properly, your entire network can suffer. You may either notice that it doesn’t work at all or see an unreliable connection that drops out now and then. To fix this problem, inspect the cables to ensure they are plugged into the right ports. Moreover, you can check and confirm their function by replacing them with other ones if you have them.
An essential step is to regularly check the coax lines, connectors, and cables to find any signs of bends or damage. You should also check the quality of your connectors and replace them when necessary. Make sure you keep them tightened securely as loose ones can cause leakage.
What is the Best Ethernet Cable?
You may have purchased Cat-5 Ethernet cables a few years ago, but as time passes, it’s likely time to consider changing to a more contemporary choice.
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Move Closer to the Router
Your wireless access point has a limited range. When you try to access the internet at a distance greater than the limit, you can notice a drop in the Wi-Fi connection. If you move further from the router or modem, you will lose the connection entirely. The placement of your router affects the signal strength and performance of your Wi-Fi to a great extent.
A weak Wi-Fi access from the router’s placement can lead to a variety of problems like frequent internet drops. You might have placed it away from the devices or in a closet and the solution is to move it closer to you as much as possible. Lessening the distance between the device and the router will strengthen the connection. A Wi-Fi-enabled device like a tablet or smartphone can be easily moved to a spot where the signal is the strongest. However, relocating a computer or other peripheral is not always practical.
Related: Boost your Wi Fi
Power Cycle your Components
When a router or modem is run for long hours, it tends to suffer from problems like memory leaks and may not perform optimally. Giving it a short break would power cycle the router and fix a lot of problems, including the frequent dropping of the internet. If you find that your internet is not stable, you can choose to power cycle your devices as well.
Here are the steps you can follow:
- Firstly, power off your computer, modem, and router and wait for some time, at least 30 seconds.
- Next, power them back on in the order – modem, router, computer.
- See if your internet problem resolves.
Giving a rest to the devices and components often solves most problems. If you still see the internet dropping, you can try other fixes.
Update your Network Drivers and Firmware
An outdated or incompatible network adapter software or old drivers may be causing your internet to drop every now and then. If that is the case, updating your drivers and firmware can solve the problem. Updating your device software to the latest version can also make the computer fast and stable, often resolving the internet issue.
Sometimes, your computer may have incompatible software installed on it, such as services and patches that affect the networking capabilities of the system. Such a problem is likely to be noticed after an update or software installation. You should first update the drivers and then check for any corrupted or incompatible programs on the device.
Download the latest drivers from the website of your adapter or computer to see if the problem resolves. Updating the drivers often solves most internet problems. Here are the steps to easily install the latest network drivers:
- Open the Start menu and look for Device Manager.
- In the Device Manager, you will find Network Adapters.
- Click on the arrow next to the option to see a list of drivers.
- Search for the appropriate drivers on the web to find their latest updates.
When you look for drivers, always download them from the official website and go through the details carefully to avoid downloading any additional programs. Once downloaded, run the file and follow the process. It is best to restart the system after installing the drivers. Then, you can run a test to see if the problem is fixed.
Disable Cloud-Based Apps
At times, your computer may work perfectly but some apps may take up bandwidth and cause a lag for a short while. The most common of these apps are cloud-based backups. Applications like OneDrive and other apps accessing the cloud network generally run in the background and don’t affect normal internet usage. However, you may need to restrict their access to the internet when you want to do something intensive, like playing a game or streaming video.
Each of the cloud-based apps has different settings. However, let us try to understand how you can stop OneDrive from running in the background. This is the default cloud storage app on Windows that runs by default without your awareness.
- Click on the arrow in the notification area on the bottom right of the screen.
- Find the OneDrive cloud icon and right-click it to see a number of options.
- Click on ‘Pause Syncing’ and select one of the options available.
With this option, you pause the sync for a specific period of time after which you must pause it again. However, if you want to permanently disable OneDrive, you should unlink it from your account because most Windows versions don’t allow uninstalling it.
Here are the steps you can follow:
- Open the toolbar in the notification area and right-click on the OneDrive icon.
- Next, click on Settings to open a new window.
- Click on the ‘Unlink PC’ option and select ‘Unlink Account’ when prompted.
If you want to remove some other cloud-based storage app, you can do it from the ‘Add/Remove Programs’ option in the Start Menu.
Limit Network Activity
If you haven’t yet found a solution to your internet problem, you can try monitoring your home network activity when you see the internet dropping. This can involve some trial and error but you can start by disconnecting all the devices from the network and then connect them one by one, running tests in between. You should easily find the device that is causing the issue.
Once you know what device is responsible for your internet drops, you can check it for any background program downloading or uploading data. It can be a smartphone uploading files to a backup service or some devices like Google Assistant with a backup facility enabled. Pause such activities and you may see that the internet drop problem fixes.
Check for External Interference
Signal interference from other devices is one of the most common reasons you may find problems with your Wi-Fi. Radio signals coming from electronic products around the router can interfere with the network signals to result in issues like internet drops. Devices like cordless phones, microwave ovens, garage door openers, and others can disturb the Wi-Fi connection when they are running.
See if your phone experiences an internet drop when near to such a device. Whenever you get new devices into the house, it is best to check how they work and transmit signals so that you can understand whether they can interfere with your internet connection. You can try moving the network components or change Wi-Fi settings to solve this problem.
An easy fix is to power off the devices that may be interfering with your Wi-Fi. For example, if you see the internet dropping when you are in the kitchen, you can try moving away from the microwave or turn it off as long as you use your phone, laptop, or tablet near it.
Switch to Ethernet
An unreliable Wi-Fi connection is one of the biggest reasons you can experience internet dropping while watching videos, streaming, or playing games. Though you can opt for access points, repeaters, and other Wi-Fi aids, a Wi-Fi can never be relied upon for consistent performance. It always has variables and more latency as compared to traditional cable connections.
If you cannot afford to deal with the occasional internet drops, using an Ethernet cable is the best solution. A Wi-Fi can suffer from a variety of problems and will never be as reliable as plugging the Ethernet cable into the device and connecting it to the router. These cables are available in lengths up to 100 meters for affordable prices so it is easy to switch to this mode of connection.
Change the Router
An outdated or worn router is another common culprit for an internet going in and out. Your router may not work well on your current internet plan if it is five-years-old because it does not have the latest firmware meeting the current technical standards. Even a new router may not comply with the latest Wi-Fi communication standard and cause some problems.
Make sure your router has Wi-Fi 5 or 6 compatibility. Contact your wireless provider to test the router and see if it needs a replacement. You can also buy a new router yourself. Just ensure that it is compatible with your Wi-Fi service.
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Upgrading your Wireless Router
You should look to upgrade your router every two years. Manufacturers spend considerable time and money optimizing the performance of WiFi routers and adding new features to solve typical problems and drawbacks associated with wireless data transfer.
When purchasing a new router, ensure that it satisfies the following requirements:
Dual band capability, i.e. the ability to broadcast on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
Compatibility with 802.11ac
WMM support for prioritizing resource-intensive apps
Increased signal production and coverage through the use of advanced technologies such as beamforming
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Frequently Asked Questions
An internet that keeps dropping can be annoying, particularly when you are working from home. Finding the exact cause of an internet problem may take some time but once you find it, you can troubleshoot quickly to get a stable internet for an uninterrupted experience.
You can prevent your Internet from disconnecting by keeping your hardware and software up-to-date, using a wired connection if possible, reducing interference, and avoiding network congestion.
If, despite following the above guidelines, your Internet continues to drop, here are some FAQs to help you further diagnose the issue.
Why does my Wi-Fi connection keep dropping?
If your internet connection is intermittent, this could be caused by faulty Wi-Fi hardware. Your Wi-Fi connection could be cutting in and out, or dropping entirely due to a weak signal, distance from the router, interference from other devices, or outdated firmware. You can try moving closer to the router, reducing interference, updating firmware, or getting a Wi-Fi extender.
Why does my Internet keep going out at night/at certain times?
Your Internet may disconnect at night due to network congestion or many users on the same network. This can cause slow speeds and dropped connections. To fix this issue, consider upgrading to a higher bandwidth plan or switching to a less congested network.
Why does the Internet cut in and out on my laptop?
Your laptop may keep disconnecting from the Internet due to a weak signal, outdated software, or a problem with your network adapter. Try updating your drivers or resetting your network settings.
A virus or malware can also cause your Internet to keep disconnecting by disrupting your network connections or hijacking your bandwidth. Consider running a virus scan and removing any malware to fix this issue.
Why does my Internet keep going out during bad weather?
Your Internet may keep disconnecting during bad weather due to a problem with your ISP’s network, a power outage, or a problem with your modem or router. Try resetting your modem and router, moving them to a better location, or contacting your ISP for assistance.
How can I test my Internet connection?
You can test your internet connection by running a speed test online, checking your ping and latency, and monitoring your network traffic. This can help you identify any issues with your connection and determine the best course of action to fix them.
How can I improve my Internet speed?
You can improve your internet speed by upgrading your hardware or software, optimizing your network settings, reducing interference, or switching to a less congested network. You can also try limiting the number of devices on your network or upgrading to a higher bandwidth plan.
Who should I contact if my Internet keeps disconnecting?
If your Internet keeps disconnecting, you should contact your internet service provider or a technician for assistance. They can diagnose the issue and provide a solution based on the root cause.
Last update on 2023-03-07 / Price incl. tax, excl. shipping / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API