Top Five Causes For Disruption Of Internet Service

slow-internetEditor’s Note: We took a poll from our customer base consisting of thousands of NetEqualizer users. What follows are the top five most common causes  for disruption of Internet connectivity.

1) Congestion: Congestion is the most common cause for short Internet outages.  In general, a congestion outage is characterized by 10 seconds of uptime followed by approximately 30 seconds of chaos. During the chaotic episode, the circuit gridlocks to the point where you can’t load a Web page. Just when you think the problem has cleared, it comes back.

The cyclical nature of a congestion outage is due to the way browsers and humans retry on failed connections. During busy times usage surges and then backs off, but the relief is temporary. Congestion-related outages are especially acute at public libraries, hotels, residence halls and educational institutions. Congestion is also very common on wireless networks. (Have you ever tried to send a text message from a crowded stadium? It’s usually impossible.)

Fortunately for network administrators, this is one cause of disruption that can be managed and prevented (as you’ll see below, others aren’t that easy to control). So what’s the solution? The best option for preventing congestion is to use some form of bandwidth control. The next best option is to increase the size of your bandwidth link. However without some form of bandwidth control, bandwidth increases are often absorbed quickly and congestion returns. For more information on speeding up internet services using a bandwidth controller, check out this article.

2) Failed Link to Provider: If you have a business-critical Internet link, it’s a good idea to source service from multiple providers. Between construction work, thunderstorms, wind, and power problems, anything can happen to your link at almost any time. These types of outages are much more likely than internal equipment failures.

3) Service Provider Internet Speed Fluctuates: Not all DS3 lines are the same. We have seen many occasions where customers are just not getting their contracted rate 24/7 as promised.

4) Equipment Failure: Power surges are the most common cause for frying routers and switches. Therefore, make sure everything has surge and UPS protection. After power surges, the next most common failure is lockup from feature-overloaded equipment. Considering this, keep your configurations as simple as possible on your routers and firewalls or be ready to upgrade to equipment with faster newer processing power.

Related Article: Buying Guide for Surge and UPS Protection Devices

5) Operator Error: Duplicating IP addresses, plugging wires into the wrong jack, and setting bad firewall rules are the leading operator errors reported.

If you commonly encounter issues that aren’t discussed here, feel free to fill us in in the comments section. While these were the most common causes of disruptions for our customers, plenty of other problems can exist.

15 Responses to “Top Five Causes For Disruption Of Internet Service”

  1. September NetEqualizer Newsletter « NetEqualizer News Blog Says:

    […] Posts Support ArchivesTop Five Causes For Disruption Of Internet ServiceIs Your ISP Throttling Your Bandwidth?Nine Tips And Tricks To Speed Up Your Internet ConnectionWhat […]

  2. Jordan Says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I think that our problem is the internet provider. Our neighbors have different ones and their’s are always working.

  3. Your Critical Business Needs Two Sources for Internet | NetEqualizer News Blog Says:

    […] Top Five Causes For Disruption Of Internet Service […]

  4. Network Redundancy Anxiety Needs a Re-direct | NetEqualizer News Blog Says:

    […] few years ago I wrote an article about the top five causes of disruption of internet service.  Our number two cause on our list at the time […]

  5. loveofmylife2016 Says:

    I’m not that tech savvy person and I don’t have much knowledge about how internet works. I have this problem going on right now and my internet service provider hasn’t fixed this yet. There’s a time in the day that packet loss (request time out) always appears. It usually happened every night. I was thinking there might be something in my area that triggers this problem? Two technicians went in my place already however they haven’t resolved it yet. Besides, when they came here, there’s no packet loss or RTO and it seemed like the internet is okay. No technicians can be dispatched at night so they can’t really see the RTO when we did ping test. For the above mentioned causes of internet disruptions, where do you think this problem belongs? Please help.

  6. netequalizer Says:


    If you can answer a few questions it might help narrow the cause.

    What type of internet service do you have , wireless , cable, DSL

    How many devices do you have in your residence ( I assume residence or is it a business) and how do you use them.

    Does this ever happen during the day, can you define a time window when this happens ( 3 pm to 10 pm) .


  7. Eli Says:

    Hi, what causes ISP downtimes? I have this problem right now and called the ISP technical department and they replied “it is downtime”. I have a Fiber connection at 3Mbps and my current speed right now is 0.31 Mbps. It’s almost a week now when this problem occured. Any advice?

  8. netequalizer Says:

    Sorry to hear about not so helpful ISP

    It could be any number of things. Your only re-course would be to dispute your bill for lost services

  9. Chell Says:

    As long as i reconnect the broadband internet cable to the modem, i can regain service. But our internet goes out at least once or twice a week. A hard reset seems to be the only solution.

  10. Pattison Shane Says:

    Well, I am agreed with these are the main problem faced by the internet users and I think the best solution is to contact the local service provider to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

  11. diane rapalyea Says:

    After two tech visits, hours of phone calls to “customer service”, two tech visits, being bumped up to the corporate office, tweets to “comcastcares”, and a new modem, Comcast persisted stating “your modem is beautiful…no problem here…”. I was going crazy with the number of times in the afternoon every weekday and some Sat AM’s that our internet just lost connectivity. I searched for a way to prove that the outages were occurring and found a tool that will create an outage log by “pinging” three sites on a regular basis. It is called “NetUptimeMonitor”-after a trial, I bought a lifetime subscription for $10. I LOVE this software. When the tech comes again this Tuesday, I will be able to print out the log which proves that between Noon and 7PM every weekday, our internet goes down multiple times for up to an hour! Fantastic proof…

  12. netequalizer Says:

    Does Comcast have competition in you area?

  13. Is the Internet Running Slow Today? - Bullet In Tech News Says:

    […] Congestion is probably the most common cause of internet outages. If you notice that you can only load something for about ten seconds and then experience thirty seconds of an outage, you are most likely experiencing the side effects of congestion. You might be tricked into thinking the problem has gone away, but it will return, which can be very frustrating. […]

  14. Things To Do During An Internet Outage - LiveConsulting Says:

    […] happens. Whether caused by human error by your ISP or congestion on the network, the results are the same for your business- productivity, productivity that equates to real dollar […]

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