Who ever thought that such a major portion of our lives could be disrupted by such small variables? Most of the world depends on the Internet for essential communications. And yet this global configuration is affected by Internet outage causes that range from complex to mundane.
No matter how big or small an internet service provider, all are susceptible to internet outages. And yet, when we say ‘Internet outages,’ we typically mean some problem that prevents our connection to the Internet. The Internet is a global connection of networks that is very likely still operating.
Therefore, when we get an error message, or the browser times out loading a web page, the worldwide connection of networks has not failed. It is only some problem with how we connect to the Internet from our current location. These can range from large-scale failures to small issues.
Types of Internet Outages
Internet connectivity problems fall under one of the following categories.
Often, some problem occurs with our localized equipment that prevents our connection to the Internet. This can range from unplugged cables, to software glitches, to hardware failure in our own computer system.
Software can need an upgrade or patch to adapt to recent system changes. Viruses or malware can prevent connections. There could even be some line issue within the wall of your building, like squirrels building a nest or mice chewing through a cable.
These are problems that materialize outside your location but are still nearby. They are typically out of your control. Regional internet outages can be caused by severe weather, electrical power outages, or even physical damage to a data center or its building.
Anything from an earthquake to a simple car accident can damage infrastructure and cause an outage. There could even be a rodent chewing on exposed cabling or a disgruntled employee purposely cutting cables out of spite.
Major Service Provider Issues
These are usually at the top of our suspected Internet outage causes. Whenever anything prevents our connection, we are quick to blame our ISP. And occasionally, they do encounter problems that sever us from our Internet lifeline. These can be system configuration errors, software failures, database failures, power outages, fiber cuts, hardware failures, or system overloads.
Occasional Internet outages can be caused by problems in the backbone of all global connectivity: fiber-optic cables that criss-cross the globe between continents, even under the oceans. When issues occur affecting these vital Internet arteries, major areas suffer Internet outages.
How Should Consumers Deal with Internet Outages?
Random events intersect with our lives near and far, and can affect us from the other side of the world. If you encounter that dreaded error screen, how should you react?
Be patient. Small glitches cause brief Internet outages all the time, and are usually resolved within seconds. If your browser times out or you get an error screen, try again two or three times, right away.
Check your connection. Ensure all cables are securely connected, including those attached to your PC, router, network, and modem. If you experience trouble over a wireless network (WiFi), try connecting with a cable.
Restart systems. Sometimes your computer or router/modem needs to restart to repair configurations. Save all your work and restart your computer, modem, and router. Don’t just reset: unplug, wait one minute, plug in again, and allow them time to reboot.
Call your ISP for assistance. If the above steps did not reconcile your Internet outage, the problem is beyond your control and further help is needed. Call your local ISP to report the problem and ask for assistance.
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