You’re streaming your favorite Netflix series or downloading a big file when you lose your internet connection for a few seconds.
Although experiencing this problem is irritating, you’re not alone.
Many users have this issue for no apparent reason, but there are several causes that you can explore.
In this article, we’ll talk about these causes and how you can fix them.
Internet Cuts Out For A Few Seconds (Causes, Fixes)
Losing your internet connection isn’t usually a serious problem, and you can fix it through some simple steps.
1. Check For Simple Causes
Sometimes your internet cuts off for a few seconds, not because of serious reasons but due to some uncomplicated issues that you can easily address.
That’s why it’s better to first try these simple solutions before moving on to the more advanced ones.
Power cycle the router: if the internet drop issue is due to minor glitches in the router, you can reboot the router.
Unplug the router, wait for 30 seconds, and then turn it back on.
Another culprit is interference.
The location of the router plays an important role in the strength of the signal you get.
The furniture, walls, and doors can interfere with signal strength and cut off the internet temporarily.
Try moving the router to a place closer to your devices with the least interference.
Broken and bent cables can also be the source of the problem.
Carefully inspect the power and ethernet cables for any cuts and bends since they can cause pocket losses.
If you find any problems, replace the cables.
2. Check Your Devices
If your internet connection drops across all your devices simultaneously, the problem is in your connection or internet plan.
However, if you experience this problem only when using a single device, such as your mobile phone or your computer, then the reason is a hardware or software problem in that specific device.
Check for problems in your PC’s operating system or loose wire connections to find the root cause.
Even dust buildup inside your PC can cause chips or other hardware to overheat and result in sudden system resets.
Perform a deep clean of your system by opening the case covers and using compressed air.
3. Check Your Internet Plan
Your internet plan determines the bandwidth and the signal strength you get.
There are three main types of internet connections: fiber, cable, and DSL.
If you are looking for super-fast connections and high bandwidths, fiber optic is the best solution for you.
However, it’s costly, requires network infrastructure, and isn’t widely available.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is one of the most widespread connection types commonly used by most ISPs.
Plus, it offers a stable and fast internet connection and costs less than other types.
A cable connection offers a more reliable connection since it directly connects your modem to your devices via an ethernet cable.
It’s also fast, with an average speed of 100 megabytes per second.
If you see drops in your internet connection, the culprit might be the type of connection you have.
Talk to your internet provider about your bandwidth and see if you can upgrade it to a better plan.
4. Upgrade Your Router
Sometimes an outdated router can cause drops in the internet connection.
If you have the fastest internet service, but your router isn’t compatible with it, chances are it can’t deal with it properly.
That’s because old routers run on outdated wireless standards, creating lags and drops in internet connections.
If you have upgraded your internet connection, your internet provider might have recommended upgrading your router, too.
If not, you should do it yourself.
By checking your router, you’ll see numbers such as 11ac, 11g, or 11n, which tell you how old or new your router is.
The 11ac on your router shows it has the most updated standards compatible with high-speed internet plans.
A router with 11n is a bit older but okay.
If your router has 11g, it is relatively dated, and it’s better to replace it.
Other numbers show that your router is very outdated and can’t keep up with fast internet speeds.
5. Run A Speed Test
Choosing an internet plan is one thing and getting the exact speed you paid for is another.
Sometimes you don’t get the actual speed due to different factors.
Running a speed test will help you determine if the speed matches your plan.
No matter which way you choose to test your speed, it’s always a good idea to do it several times to see the overall performance of your connections.
It’s pretty straightforward and only takes less than a minute.
In case these two don’t match, call your service provider, and ask them to find the cause of the issue.
If you get the same speed as stated in your plan, the speed may not be right for you.
If you upload and download more than your bandwidth capacity, you may experience connection cuts.
In this case, it would help to get a faster speed to suit your internet needs.
6. Switch To Ethernet
If you use a WIFI connection, it means your devices connect via radio signals.
These radio signals may have different limitations that don’t allow them to transmit fast.
Using an ethernet cable can ensure a fast and interruption-free connection.
It’s like talking on a landline phone vs. a mobile phone, in which the former is more reliable and less likely to experience lost signals.
A WIFI connection relies heavily on the distance between the router and the device: the longer the distance, the weaker the signal.
This way, you’re more likely to experience internet cuts.
With an ethernet cable, you can experience a more stable connection because the data is less likely to get lost during transmission.
Additionally, ethernet connections are more secure because they don’t need a password.
Anyone who wants to hack or intercept your connection needs access to the router and ethernet cable, which is virtually impossible.
7. Don’t Overload Your Internet
As I said, each type of internet connection has a limited bandwidth that you must stay within to have a fast and stable connection.
When different devices connect to the internet simultaneously, they occupy the bandwidth, reducing the speed and causing internet drops.
Always make sure to disconnect the devices that you’re not using.
If you have cloud-based apps, don’t let them run in the background because they continuously connect to the internet and take up a considerable amount of data.
If you don’t know which apps are data-intensive, you can use the WIFI analyzer using them one by one.
8. Call Your Internet Service Provider
Sometimes an unstable internet connection has nothing to do with your plan and devices.
There may be technical issues from the other end of the line, namely the ISP.
Call their tech support team to make sure everything is okay.
9. Update Your Drivers
If the driver for your wireless adapter is outdated or corrupted, you’ll experience different problems, including interruptions in the connection.
You could either reinstall or update your drivers.
First, you need to determine the adapter’s model, head to the manufacturer’s website, and find the latest driver for the adapter.
Then download and install it.
Alternatively, you could update the driver in your Device Manager.
To do so, type “Device Manager” in the box next to the Windows icon on the screen’s bottom-left corner.
Locate “Network Adapters” and select the device whose driver you want to update.
Click on the “Update Driver” option.
Select “Search automatically for updated driver software” to look for the latest driver update.
If there’s an update available, Windows will automatically install the updates, and you can check your connections to see if they improve.
Instead of updating the WIFI drivers, you could also reinstall them.
In this case, go to the Device Manager and choose “Network Adapters.”
You can see an arrow next to this option, click on it and choose your “WIFI Adapter.”
Uninstall the driver by right-clicking on it and choosing “Uninstall device.”
Now you can automatically find the latest WIFI driver by restarting your PC and then check if your problem goes away.
10. Troubleshoot The Internet Connection
When your internet cuts off for a few seconds, it sometimes helps to run the Windows troubleshooter to find the underlying cause.
Windows 10 comes with a variety of troubleshooter options to automatically fix any problem, including connection issues.
Type “settings” in the search box and go to Update and Security.
Find “Troubleshoot” on the left side of the pane and click on it.
Click “Network Adapter” on the right panel and then select “Troubleshoot.”
Now follow the on-screen prompts to complete the troubleshooting process.
Restart your computer and see if the problem is solved.
If the problem persists, you can try the next solutions.
11. Factory Reset The Router
The network issues that you experience could result from a faulty router that has messed up its settings.
By returning it to the factory settings, you can fix its configuration and the problem.
However, there are a couple of things to know.
Firstly, a reset is different from a reboot.
A factory reset erases all your data, including passwords, network names, or other things you’ve changed.
On the other hand, a reboot simply requires turning off your router and starting it back up.
Secondly, you should consider the factory reset as a last resort in case no troubleshooting method works.
Finally, you can do the router factory reset yourself and not the modem reset.
If you want to return your modem to its factory settings, it’s better to ask a professional as you may change the settings and cause malfunctions in your system.
Most routers have a reset button on the bottom or on the back, and you can reset them simply by holding the button for 10 seconds.
If it doesn’t work, you can try the 30-30-30 method.
- Holding the reset button for 30 seconds.
- Unplugging the router and waiting for 30 seconds.
- Plugging the router back in.
- Holding the reset button again for 30 seconds.
You could also factory reset the router through its web interface.
Sign in to the router as an admin by entering the credentials.
If you don’t have the credentials, search them online.
Select the “Reset” option and follow the on-screen instructions.
12. Update The Router’s Firmware
Like any electronic device, routers also may develop bugs that manufacturers need to address frequently.
They release updates for the routers’ firmware to improve their performance and eliminate any system faults.
To update the device’s firmware, type your IP address into the web browser and then enter the login credentials.
Find “Firmware” or “Update” under “Advanced,” “Management,” or “Administration.”
Now, head to the router manufacturer’s website, look for your router by searching its model number and download the latest firmware version.
The update file is usually in a .zip format that you need to extract, preferably to your desktop.
Go back to the update section, click “Browse” or “Choose File,” and upload the latest version.
Select the unzipped router update file and start the update by clicking on the “Update” button.
While the process is going on, don’t interrupt it by turning off the router or unplugging it.
Reboot the router when the update process is complete.
Normally, your system automatically does the reboot, but if it doesn’t, do so manually by turning off the router and turning it back on.
13. Change Link Speed
The link speed is the highest speed at which your router can communicate with the devices connected to it.
Link speed, measured in bits per second, is determined by your ISP, but it may be insufficient for your bandwidth requirements.
For example, an error may occur when you download data, and the internet will cut off frequently.
By changing link speed, you can change the download rate and make it compatible with your requirements.
Go to “Control Panel” by typing it in the search bar and hitting “Enter.”
Locate “Network and Internet” in the window and click on it.
Right-click on your selected connection and click on “Properties.”
Find “Configure” and click on it.
By clicking on “Link speed,” you’ll see a drop-down menu named “Speed and Duplex” with a list of speeds.
After choosing your desired speed, close all the tabs, and check your internet connection.
14. Check For Errors In The Router’s Log
The router’s log can tell you many things about your activity, any blocked devices, or any errors that occur during your connection to the internet.
If your connection has been rejected for any reason, you can find it on the router’s activity log.
Type in your IP address in the search bar of your internet browser.
If you don’t know your IP address, you can find it using the following method:
Type “Command Prompt” in the search bar on the left-hand corner of the screen.
Type “ipconfig” in the command prompt and execute it by pressing “Enter.”
Scroll down and find “Default Gateway” under Wireless LAN Adapter WIFI or Ethernet.
The number you can see in front of “Default Gateway” is your IP address.
Copy the IP address and paste it into your internet browser’s search bar.
Type in your credentials and enter the internet provider’s home page.
Click on “Advanced,” locate “Administration,” and click on “Logs.”
Now, inspect all the logs carefully for any errors regarding the IP addresses.
If you see errors, unplug the network cable and all router ports, then plug them into other ports.
Close all the tabs and see if your problem is solved.
15. Choose A Different Security Type
Some users have reported that encryption type may be the main culprit responsible for frequent internet drops.
The encryption type that you choose for your router determines its security level.
Most modern routers have WPA-PSK encryption, which is the highest level.
Changing the encryption type can fix connection drops.
That’s because, after a while, your system needs to re-authenticate.
To change your encryption type, go to the router’s home page, head to the “Network Settings” section, and click on it.
Locate “Wireless Security” or “Network Page.”
Choose “WPA” or “WPA 2.”
Click on “Save” and “Apply.”
Now click “Reboot” to reset the router and apply the new settings.
16. Flush DNS
Your operating system caches Domain Name System (DNS) records or IP addresses by default.
Over time, these flows of cache can cause connectivity issues among others.
You can resolve your connection problem by flushing DNS.
Type “Command Prompt” in the search box and choose “yes” in the popup window.
Type ipconfig/flushdns in the prompt window and press “Enter.”
You’ll see a message that confirms the DNS has successfully been flushed.