Why Does Your Internet Keep Disconnecting?

There is nothing more frustrating than an unreliable internet connection. Whether you’re working from home or simply looking to unwind with your favorite Netflix show, an interrupted connection can be downright annoying. But what is actually causing your internet to keep disconnecting? Finding out the root of the problem can help you manage your internet better and ensure you don’t suffer from an interrupted connection again.

Whether it’s your internet speed, the number or users, bad weather, or your modem, there is plenty you can do to fix the problem and enjoy a more reliable internet connection. In this guide, we’ll explain what causes most disconnections, and what you can do to fix the problem.

Your internet speed is too slow

A connection that is too slow for your internet usage can be a major culprit behind an interrupted internet connection. For example, if you’re frequently on Zoom video calls but your internet speed is less than 25Mbps, you might find your internet becomes disconnected. If you are streaming Netflix shows or multiple people are using different devices at once, an internet package with a slower speed could result in a lost connection. Ideally, to avoid issues with an overtaxed network, your internet speed should align with your internet usage.

How to fix slow speed internet

The first thing you need to do is evaluate your needs. How many users are in your home? What activities are you doing on the internet most? Video calls, streaming, and downloading large files will require faster speeds. If you are just checking your email, less speed may be fine. In general, you should consider speeds of 15 to 25Mbps if you are one user who does not stream or make video calls regularly. Consider speeds above 25Mbps if you have multiple users who stream, make video calls, or even game at the same time.

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Your router is too old

A good router will typically have a lifespan of five to seven years. Of course, if you upgrade your internet to a speed tier that is above the capabilities of your outdated router, it could cause delays and interruptions. If your router is too old to support the technology you have, it will not be able to perform the way you need it to.

How to fix an outdated router

When you upgrade your internet plan, be sure to let your internet provider know what type of router you have and ask if it is sufficient. If not, then you will either have to go with a slower internet connection or you will need to return and replace your router.

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Faulty cables

Is your speed sufficient and your router up-to-date, but you’re still dealing with an unreliable internet connection? It’s time to check out the cables of your modem and router to ensure they aren’t broken or damaged. Cables that have been water damaged or have mold on them may not only be a reason for your bad connection. They’re dangerous, too. If the wires seem to look alright, unplug them and verify that they are intact inside. If the inside is even slightly pulled or ripped, the connection will not be very strong. If the cable is loose and falls out of the Ethernet port easily, that could also be the reason for your interrupted connection.

How to fix faulty cables

If you have faulty cables, you need to replace them immediately and dispose of the old ones correctly. Do not leave them lying around the house as they could be a danger.

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Service provider outages

In some cases, the issue may not be with your equipment. Sometimes your internet service provider (ISP) is experiencing delays or technical problems that are causing subscribers to have difficulty logging on and staying connected to the internet. If the weather is particularly bad, that could be a reason for poor service, but ISPs can also have non-weather-related problems. To find out if this is the case, check with your ISP to find out if there are any service interruptions.

How to a fix service provider outage

If your internet is down because the ISP’s network is down, there isn’t much you can do. Most of the time, you will just have to wait until the provider resolves the issue. If it is a service provider issue, you may ask for a credit for the time you were left without internet or without a good enough connection.

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Dust is blocking your devices

This actually happens more often than you’d think. If your router or modem is covered in dust, you can assume many of those dust particles have made their way into the device. This can block the device or slow it down. Check your device to see if it’s dusty and you may solve the problem on the spot.

How to fix a dusty device

The first step is to wipe it clean with a dry microfiber cloth. Next, take a vacuum and place the gentle attachment on the end. This can help get rid of the dust that is trapped inside the device causing the router or modem to slow down or stop working altogether. If there is a few years’ worth of dust, you may need to unscrew the device and carefully clean it out. To avoid this, be sure to dust your modem or router on a regular basis.

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Your Wi-Fi isn’t password protected

If you don’t have a password on your Wi-Fi, there’s a possibility that neighbors or anyone else nearby can log on to your connection. The more users there are on a network, the slower the connection will be. Depending on what you are trying to access online, slow speeds could get you logged off the site you’re trying to access. Too many users and too many devices will result in very unstable connectivity for everyone on the network.

How to fix Wi-Fi security

When you have your Wi-Fi installed, always add a password to protect your connection. If only you and your household members are using it, you will not likely have any issues with your connection.

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You’re using the wrong AP band

Your router should have a range of 5GHz if you plan to take advantage of the fastest speeds. However, if your devices are located close enough to your modem, you don’t necessarily need to be using it. It could be the reason your internet connection is constantly being disrupted.

How to fix the AP band

Try switching to 2.4GHz. It may be a slightly slower connection if you have multiple users on at once, but it may stop the connection from being interrupted. This is a quick fix in the device’s settings menu.

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Corrupted PC files

In some cases, corrupted files on a PC that has been compromised can be the reason for a faulty connection. If your internet works fine on your phone or tablet but freezes and shuts off with your PC, you may have corrupted files on your computer.

How to fix corrupted PC files

Installing antivirus software is highly recommended with PCs. This can repair your PC if it has been compromised or prevent issues from happening in the first place. You may want to consider checking your antivirus software status on a regular basis if you encounter issues with connectivity.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

My router is on and working but my connection still gets interrupted. Why?

If your router is far away from your devices, such as in a basement, it could be the reason your signal is a little unreliable. To prevent this from happening, put your router in a more accessible spot, closer to the devices you are using. You can also buy a router extender that will increase the range of your router if devices are spread throughout your home. This can make your signal much stronger and prevent internet service disruptions.

Why does my internet cut out on only one of my devices?

This happens quite often and it may appear as though the internet is cutting out entirely. But it’s actually due to the device. If all of your other devices work just fine, the one experiencing trouble may be outdated or corrupted. You can have your computer software and/or hardware updated to make this problem disappear. If you are using a tablet or smartphone, make sure you are using the latest software available to ensure a strong connection and optimal functionality.

Why do I lose my connection at the same every day?

One reason could be because your internet connection is on the same circuit as a heavy-duty household appliance like the washer or dryer, for example. Putting your router on its own circuit can help fix this issue. Another reason could be if you are on satellite internet. During high-traffic times, the connection will slow down or be interrupted for many users. If there is a faster speed internet connection available in your area, you should consider switching to avoid this problem.

Why does my router drop my internet connection every few minutes?

This is normally because the router is outdated. However, it can also be because the router is not suitable for your internet connection or devices. You can ask you ISP to offer you some router suggestions to make sure you have the right technology to use your internet without disruption.

How do I improve my internet connection in a rural area?

Another reason internet connections can be interrupted is if you live in a rural area, far from 5G towers and fiber optic internet infrastructure. Dial-up, cable, and satellite connections can be a little more prone to disconnecting from time to time. If you find this connection issue to be troublesome, you can call your ISP to see what services are available in your area or coming to your area soon to improve connectivity. And you can also minimize your internet usage by keeping your camera off during Zoom meetings whenever possible or pre-downloading videos or shows you want to watch on streaming services to prevent buffering while you watch.

Why does my Wi-Fi cut on my smartphone all the time?

If internet service disruptions are more common on your smartphone, remove your Wi-Fi network by clicking on “Forget Network” in your Wi-Fi settings. Then, reconnect to the network. Very often, the connection just needs to be reset to function properly.

How do I reset my cable modem?

If you are using a cable modem, you may need to do a hard reset to get things working again. You will have to unplug the modem and leave it unplugged for at least five minutes. Then, reconnect and reinstall your modem. Try reconnecting to see if the internet connection is better. If it isn’t, you may need to consider a new modem or updated firmware for your modem instead.

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 4/18/22.

Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.