Do power cuts affect fibre internet?

Businesses face enormous costs and inconvenience as a result of load shedding, especially when remote workers don’t have power and are unable to perform their duties. Fortunately, load shedding does not always imply that users will lose access to the internet. Here are some typical misconceptions and questions about power outages and fibre connectivity.

Is it possible to access the internet while there is load shedding?

Your WiFi router, like any other appliance in your home, will turn off when the power goes off – preventing you from accessing the internet unless you have some type of backup power, such as a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) device, a battery inverter, or a generator.

Inverters and generators are costly investments, but a UPS is an affordable alternative. Your WiFi router, your optical network terminal (ONT) – which is the small plastic box in your house that the router plugs into – and your linked devices can all be powered by a UPS.

Since your router and ONT consume very little power, even a small UPS will keep your internet up and running while load shedding is in effect. A UPS is incredibly simple to set up and most models will automatically switch on when the power goes off. Just make sure you get a UPS that can also power your laptop, smart TV, or desktop, as these devices all require extra power.

Will the backup power cause my internet connection to be disrupted?

Most internet service providers (ISP) have backup power solutions which kick in automatically when there’s load shedding. This means that power cuts may have no effect on your connectivity if your ISP is prepared. 

Your UPS at home, on the other hand, may need to be set up to turn on automatically. Since some UPS models include a manual changeover switch, you may have a brief outage while your WiFi router reboots. However, the speed and quality of your fibre connection should not be affected by load shedding.

Are fibre lines safeguarded against power surges?

Fibre optic internet works through pulses of light that travel through the glass-like cable, rather than electrical signals. This means that power surges have no effect on the wires. A sudden spike in power, on the other hand, can impact a data centre’s networking equipment. Similarly, a surge could impact your ONT and WiFi router. It’s a good idea to invest in a surge protector and connect your home network devices to it.

Staying connected during load shedding

Load shedding is a long-term issue that will continue in South Africa for many years. As a result, purchasing UPSs, inverters, or generators is a smart decision. This will help you to cope with power outages at work and at home. Power outages should not leave you without access to the internet, especially considering that so many of our personal and professional activities rely on connectivity.


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Written by Taryn Hill

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