It’s a fact of life – sometimes your internet connection will go down.
There have been some major incidents of this happening in recent years with companies such as BT, Virgin and TalkTalk all having suffered from outages of some magnitude.
The consequences of these can be quite severe for those who rely on the internet as their primary source of work, communication and websites becoming inaccessible.
So, what can you do to prevent disruptions when your internet goes down? Here are a few tips:
Take advantage of your network’s Wi-Fi capabilities
Many broadband providers allow customers to set up their own local area networks so that they can access the internet even if their main connection goes down.
This can provide a reliable alternative to switching providers or struggling with patchy service.
This can be done by connecting several devices such as smart phones, laptops and tablets to the same router. This way if one device loses its connection, the others can still maintain a connection with a stable internet service.
Invest in a mobile hotspot
This is especially useful if you need access to data on-the-go.
A mobile hotspot is a small device that you can carry around with you and which lets you connect to the internet wherever you are It creates a WiFi network and shares a 4G or 5G connection with any connected device.
All you need to do is turn it on, select your provider from the list of networks available, and then enter your user details.
You will need to pay for the data you are using and the cost will depend on the provider, but the cost is usually much lower than other forms of data access.
Many mobile phone networks offer these devices such as :
You can also buy them from certain electronics stores or online.
Use a VPN
This stands for Virtual Private Network and it’s a secure way to connect to the internet without your details being revealed.
Using a VPN can be useful when trying to access restricted websites or if you’re worried about your data being intercepted when you are using public Wi-Fi.
A VPN will also allow you to switch between different networks, so if one connection fails then you can easily switch over to another.
Use a backup internet provider
This is a great idea if your main connection goes down or becomes unreliable.
Have an extra modem and router on hand in case of emergencies so you can quickly get your internet service back up and running.
Find a second provider with a good reputation and buy a separate connection from them as a backup. This way you have two connections running in parallel so if one fails, you’ll still be able to access the internet without disruption.
It’s also worth checking the terms and conditions of your existing provider as some may offer a discount if you sign up to their backup service.
Make sure your network is secure
Network security should be taken seriously when relying on local area networks for communication, as unprotected networks are vulnerable to attack from malicious users who look to exploit weaknesses in security.
You should use strong passwords, and consider using encryption software such as OpenVPN or IPsec. You should also ensure that all devices connected to the network are running up-to-date anti-virus protection.
Security should be your top priority so speak to an approved Wifi installation engineer for more specific information.
Get a reliable internet service provider.
Your internet service provider should be able to provide you with an uptime guarantee, so that you know when your connection is likely to go down and how long the downtime might last. This can help you make informed decisions about which providers are best for your needs.
Internet service providers such as:
All tend to be reliable in terms of uptime and have customer service teams on hand should you experience any issues.
Keep your router up to date.
Even if your internet service provider’s network goes down, you can still stay connected by updating your router software and firmware regularly.
This will ensure that your connection remains secure, while also providing the latest updates for bug fixes and security patches.
You can search for updates via the router’s settings page, or you can contact your provider directly for assistance.
Test your connection regularly
Doing regular speed tests on your network can help you identify any potential issues with your connection before they become a problem.
Testing your connection regularly allows you to track the performance of your network and make sure it is performing as expected. It also helps you identify any issues that may need to be addressed in order to improve your connection speed or stability.
There are a number of free online tools available that can help you test the speed of your connection.
Make sure your devices are up-to date
Keeping your devices updated with the latest software and security updates is essential for keeping them secure from malicious attacks and ensuring they are running efficiently.
Make sure to check for network updates regularly, as this will ensure that your devices have the latest features and security fixes. You can usually find software updates in the device’s settings menu or by searching online.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for any new firmware releases from your router manufacturer, as this can help improve the security and performance of your network.
If you have a smartphone or tablet with internet access, you can share its connection via a hotspot and use the mobile data that is on the device.
Most mobile device operating systems such as iOS and Android will let you do this in the network settings menu. You should be aware that your data allowance may be affected by doing this, however it’s an easy and reliable way to access internet without a landline.
Starlink is a satellite broadband service provided by SpaceX which can be used for internet connection without the need for a phone line.
This makes it an ideal option for those in remote locations or where access to phone lines are not readily available.
The service is currently being rolled out across Europe, and while it is more expensive than traditional broadband services, for many it may be the only option.
Starlink will also provide a more reliable connection than the standard alternative, with speeds of up to 100Mbps and latency as low as 20 milliseconds.
Use 4G or 5G mobile internet
If you’re in an area where 4G or 5G coverage is available, then these could be viable alternatives.
4G can offer speeds of up to 150Mbps, while 5G can reach a whopping 1Gbps.
However, you should bear in mind that both 4G and 5G services are currently more expensive than traditional broadband services and your data allowance may be affected if you rely on them for your internet connection.
These options are also more likely to be affected by poor reception or dropped connections, so may not provide a reliable internet connection in the long term.
Invest in a battery backup device:
A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) will keep your equipment powered during an outage so you don’t have to worry about data loss or corrupted files.
These devices come in various sizes and can provide 30 minutes to several hours of backup power depending on the capacity.
For businesses that rely heavily on their computer networks, investing in a UPS is highly recommended as it ensures your systems remain up and running even during unexpected outages.
In addition, some UPS devices are able to provide surge protection, reducing the risk of damage from power spikes and surges.
Use an Ethernet connection:
Ethernet cables are a great way to get a super-fast and reliable internet connection without relying on Wi-Fi or mobile data connections.
They can offer speeds up to 10Gbps, making them ideal for businesses or streaming media.
Ethernet cables are also relatively inexpensive and easy to install, providing a hassle-free way of getting online without any disruption.
Create a backup plan:
Knowing what steps you need to take ahead of time can make dealing with an outage much easier.
Create a plan of action that includes steps such as how you will access your data, what alternative connection methods you can use, and who to contact for help if needed.
In some instant messaging apps you can set up a bot for automated communication with your customers, letting them know when there is an outage and when it will be fixed.
Help and advice on network outages
It’s useful to have the contact details of your internet service provider ready so that you can call or email them if needed, they can offer more advice and more help.
Your network provider may suggest an engineer visit to fix the fault
In some instances compensation may also be available if your broadband connection has been disrupted for an extended period of time.
Additionally you can contact wifi installers and ask for information on their services, as they may be able to provide alternatives.
Overall, internet outages can be a frustrating problem, but with the right actions and planning you should be able to minimise their impact on your day-to-day activities.
With the range of solutions discussed here, you should be able to find a way of keeping your home or business connected even during any outages.
It’s also important to make sure you have a backup plan in place so that you can quickly and effectively get back online when the issue is resolved.