What’s causing my broadband to fail?

What’s causing my broadband to fail?

Monday, 18 March, 2019

There’s never a good time for a broadband outage, but some occasions are more aggravating than others.

The loss of internet connectivity is often greeted like the End of Days, even though it’s typically just a temporary inconvenience.

More embarrassingly, it can occasionally be caused by your own actions (or inactions), rather than by a broadband provider.

Establishing what’s caused a broadband outage is crucial in terms of deciding how to respond.

Common causes of a broadband outage

  1. Installation issues. Internet connections may drop out during the first 24 hours after activation, but persistent issues probably indicate an installation problem.
  2. A power cut. On a sunny afternoon, the sudden absence of WiFi in the garden might be caused by the domestic electricity supply going off – even if it’s not instantly obvious.
  3. A broken router. Broadband connections are managed by a router or home hub. Like other electrical devices, this can overheat, malfunction or require a reboot.
  4. A faulty microfilter. Another sensitive piece of apparatus is the microfilter typically plugged into your master phone socket. Replacing these could resolve connection issues.
  5. Wireless issues. ISP tech support teams will ask you to hardwire a computer to the broadband router, so do this pre-emptively. If the device works, the issue is WiFi-based.
  6. Problems unique to one device. If your PS4 won’t connect to the Fortnite server, check whether other devices are still online. If they are, your connection isn’t to blame.
  7. Incorrect software setups. A badly configured IP address or an overly zealous firewall might explain a lack of connectivity, especially in new accounts.
  8. Disconnection. People get cut off because of outstanding debts, or confusion over moving house dates. A phone call may lead to a swift resolution.
  9. Network faults. Broadband companies sometimes have outages due to technical issues, or fibre cabling being severed by workmen. Check ISP websites for service updates.
  10. Network congestion. Networks occasionally get overloaded by traffic volumes and struggle to maintain reliable service.
  11. Weather. Storms knock out phone lines, low temperatures may affect local exchanges, and satellite broadband is obviously weather-dependent.

Important steps to take

Regardless of whether your broadband outage is a one-off or a regular occurrence, it’s important to remain calm and remember all things shall pass.

If none of the above steps achieve a resolution, a call to your ISP’s technical support team is required.

If it’s happened before, write down the time and date of each incident. This might help you to identify patterns, or it could enable the broadband firm to pinpoint issues.

Take screenshots of any error messages on devices – sometimes those alphanumeric error codes reveal more than simply a loss of connectivity.

If the outages are affecting productivity or income, contact your ISP in writing, succinctly outlining the issues with printed evidence, and making a reasonable compensation claim.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!