The most frustrating feeling can occur when you log onto your computer, only to find out your internet is down. It can cut out at any time; when you’re working, when you’re in the middle of a game, at night when you’re trying to stream your favorite television show or movie; it can strike without notice.

If turning off your router and computer, waiting 10 seconds, and turned them back on again doesn’t fix the problem, the first thing you’re likely going to do is call your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They’ll resend the signal, ask if that worked, and if it didn’t, offer to send out a technician.

The technician will go through a checklist and check your router, wires, ports and network. If that doesn’t work, they’ll give you new equipment.

But what caused your internet to go down?

Assuming it’s clear outside and the weather isn’t a factor, your internet connection can be impacted by several things that are outside of your control.

Local Internet Issues

Many issues can start with your equipment at home. Local problems can range from unplugged cords or bad cables, to software glitches and hardware failures. Viruses, malware or animals can also cause connection problems.

A technician will be able to identify bad cords or broken machinery and you can find unplugged cords. Those are the easy fixes.

When it comes to viruses or malware, a professional can remove them from your computer and may be able to reverse the damage done.

When it comes to an animal, a technician can spot the damage. Squirrels are a huge culprit of this, as they like to get into your walls or cable box and chew on the cables. When this happens, your ISP will need to replace the cables. In the meantime, you may want to look into hiring a pest control service.

Network Congestion

Sometimes the problem isn’t caused by faulty equipment of a virus, but by usage. An overload of people on your network can cause your internet to run sluggishly and fail to connect to websites. This can happen at home if your network isn’t built for a lot of people, in the office or in public places, such as a library or coffee shop.

Think of the internet like a highway with regular rush hour traffic. When it is congested, you can’t move anywhere on the road. The internet is exactly like that. When a website or network was too many users trying to move through it, it becomes congested and users are stalled.

This can be avoided on some networks, such as in your office, by utilizing SimpleWAN’s SD-WAN. Software defined wide area networks offer network priority that regular WAN cannot. It allows businesses to prioritize certain channels so a video conference call won’t be interrupted by someone streaming music. Using the highway example, the prioritized channels get their own HOV lane, so they’re not interrupted by the regular flow of users.

Regional Internet Issues

Regional outages are usually caused by severe weather, power outages, physical damage to the data center or backbone outages. Most ISPs have backbone networks all over the country. If one of these in your area goes down, your internet will too.

Like with local issues, regional issues can be caused by animals or weather damaging the infrastructure needed to get the internet to your home.

Regional issues affect an entire region, not just you. If this occurs, your ISP will send you a notice that they are working on fixing them issue.

ISP Connection Issues

Major service provider issues can be caused by configuration errors, software failures, database failures, hardware failures, power outages, fiber cuts, or system overloads. These can happen randomly through by targeted cybercrime activity.

For example, In July 2015, fiber optic cables were deliberately cut 11 times in the San Francisco Bay area, causing a massive internet outage and an FBI investigation.

In these cases, all you can do is wait for your ISP to solve the problem. Your ISP should provide updates on their progress or give you an estimated time for the problem to be solved. When it is solved, restart your router to see if you can reconnect to the internet.

Get A Stable Internet Connection

If your ISP isn’t cutting it, try a different approach. SimpleWAN Connectivity ensures that some local problems, such as network congestion, will be a thing of the past.

Additionally, you can’t protect your internet connection from storms, squirrels or earthquakes, but you can protect it from viruses, malware and hackers. SimpleWAN’s Firewall technology blocks all incoming threats in real time, allowing you to be aware of how your security system is working for you.

SimpleWAN also offers 24/7 technical support, so you don’t have to wait to contact your ISP or get the help you need to get reconnected to the internet. Contact SimpleWAN today to see how they can help you or check out their real-time ISP Outage Map.