We exist in a world that is interactive. At any given time, each of us is likely to have access to multiple screens, which means multiple internet connections. Mother Nature, on the other hand, has the ability to break such bonds in a moment.
The recent California wildfires, for example, destroyed all power infrastructure in parts of the state, including electrical and internet service. Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc on the Florida Panhandle in 2018, and Hurricane Maria rained down on Puerto Rico, causing the world's second-largest blackout. Any time tornadoes, high winds, heavy snowfall, ice storms, or even dust storms strike in countless areas of the United States, the utility system that everyday life relies on risks being knocked out — not only for a few hours, but for days or weeks at a time.
Indeed, researchers have mapped out the current internet infrastructure in the United States and predict that rising sea levels as a result of global warming would pose a major danger, affecting internet access across the country.
Since we regard the internet as a personal lifeline, it's critical to be aware of the potential for outages in your area. This way, you can ensure that you're using the best internet service provider in your region, and you'll be ready if you lose service during or after a severe weather event.
Being mindful of the types of disasters you can expect when it comes to protecting your home, family, and the company is one of the hallmarks of emergency preparedness. Determine the types of extreme weather that are most common in your region by first determining what types of extreme weather are most common in your area:
Severe storms (lightning, tornadoes, snow, ice, dust)
Extreme temperatures (cold and hot)
When power and telecommunications infrastructure is damaged in a specific area and is not catastrophic, services are normally restored quickly. Even minor outages are severe if you have small children, are a caregiver for the elderly, or have a medical condition that necessitates continuous power and/or internet access. Try to locate a shelter with electricity, water, and internet services that you could use to ride out the storm while you prepare your personal emergency response.
Service restoration will begin once the weather event has passed. In the meantime, keep an eye out for downed power lines if you leave your house. Be mindful that electrical and cable/phone/internet lines can be indistinguishable to the untrained eye in areas with above-ground electrical and internet lines. If you see downed lines anywhere, call the electric company right away and stay away.
Things to Do if the Internet Goes Down
Since electricity and internet run on separate lines, it's important to remember that utilities can not be able to restore all services at the same time after a storm.
If you have power but your internet is still down, try the following steps to get it back up and running:
Check to see if your linked devices automatically reconnect to the internet when you turn them on.
Reset your router and modem if you can't connect to the internet.
If you're still having trouble connecting your wireless gadgets, get closer to the router.
Check out a few different websites to see if they load. You can also run a speed test to see how fast your connection is.
If you're still having trouble linking, get in touch with your internet provider. They might be able to settle your problem over the phone in some situations. If the issue is more difficult to resolve, a technician will need to visit the property to manually restore services.
In the event that your family's phones and internet go down due to a hurricane, it's important to devise an emergency communication plan. Make sure that everyone in your family understands what your emergency plan is and how to carry it out:
Determine a mutually agreeable physical meeting place, both close by and farther out.
Make a list of emergency contacts outside of the immediate vicinity.
On all cell phones and watches, save at least one emergency contact under the name "In Case of Emergency."
Make a group list of the people you'd like to contact in the event of an emergency or tragedy on all of your phones and computers.
In today's world, there are four main types of internet access for your home or company. There are the following:
Let's take a look at how each service could fare (or not) in extreme weather.
Fiber internet services are one of the fastest choices for home internet. They relay data using light rather than conventional cable. A transmitter transforms electrical signals to light at the source. This light is then bounced through a special glass or plastic cord. When the light arrives at its destination, the receiving end transforms it into data that your computer (and all other connected devices) can use.
Fiber optic cable is highly weather-resistant since it is buried. It is one of the most weather-resistant networking solutions available to consumers.
The same equipment as cable television is used for cable internet. It sends data over a coaxial cable (coax). A copper core with aluminum insulation, a copper shield, and an outer plastic layer make up the coax cable. At the same time, a coax cable will supply both an internet connection and a television network. This allows the service provider to bundle the two services together, but you'll need a cable modem and a cable modem termination system to use cable internet.
When it comes to determining whether or not to "underground" their transmission lines, cable companies, including energy suppliers, have a lot of options. According to a recent Popular Science report, businesses must choose between the high cost of burying transmission lines and increased reliability. You should consider the structure of the provider's system if you live in an area where wind, wildfire, and/or severe cold weather events are normal. When looking for a supplier, find out if their cables are underground or above ground.
DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is a form of internet connection that transmits data at much faster speeds than dial-up connections over a telephone network.
The same above-ground/below-ground problems plague DSL-based connectivity as they do cable-based connectivity. As a result, it's important to know if your phone company's lines are underground, as this can affect your ability to keep service up and running during weather-related events. It's thought that because DSL uses copper wiring, it's more vulnerable to service interruptions caused by rain.
Satellite internet works by receiving a signal from a satellite dish and then carrying the signal into the home to a modem or router. This connection is then relayed to your internet devices, such as computers, game consoles, smartphones, and more, by the modem or router. Although satellite internet is fast, it is not as fast as cable internet. Additionally, satellite internet might have a data transfer cap, meaning you won't be able to watch as much content as you'd like.
The signal reception is based on an uninterrupted, line-of-sight connection between the space-based satellite and the dish placed on your roof, just as with the more traditional satellite-based TV services like DIRECTV and Dish Network. Rain, as a result, can cause the signal to be disrupted for minutes or even hours at a time. You won't be able to connect to the internet if the dish is fried by the wind or covered in ice or snow.
Extreme weather, as we've seen in recent years, can affect almost anyone. As a result, when it comes to deciding how to link your home or business to the internet, weather considerations should be factored into your decision. The reliability of our internet access is becoming increasingly important in our ability to conduct business and communicate with friends and family.
Taking the time to choose the best internet service in your area and making sure that your family has an emergency communications plan in place is becoming vital. Experts predict threats from wildfires, rising sea levels, and other forms of extreme weather will have increasingly dire effects on every aspect of life — including the modern lifeline that is our internet connection. Are you prepared?
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