Will the Internet Work on a Generator?

It is more important than ever to have an internet connection. Many of us discovered the importance of being able to work from home during quarantine. The internet is essential to our daily lives, but can I use my wifi off with a power generator?

The short answer is yes. It gets a bit more complicated than that, however, depending on what knocked the power out and whether or not your internet service provider has power. 

However, assuming the power is still on for them, here is what you need to know to stay online during a power outage.

Router with power cable on a computer desk

How the Internet Works

Generally, your internet service is supplied by a modem that requires power. The modem is plugged directly into the wall, meaning if the power goes out, the modem also loses power.

Since you can plug it into a wall, you can also plug it into a generator. Thankfully, a modem doesn’t require as much power as larger appliances like a refrigerator or a dishwasher.

With satellite internet, this isn’t an issue. The internet connection is transmitted through radio waves directly to your house via a satellite dish on your roof.

You don’t need a generator to keep satellite internet working, so it’s outside the scope of what we’re discussing here.

Does the Internet Go Out With Power?

It is possible, but unlikely, for your internet service provider to lose power when you do. In most areas, the internet service provider will have their generator to keep service online for those that still have power.

If you can keep your modem and router on, you will have access to the internet through whatever electronics are available while the lights are out.

If the internet crashes during a power outage, the reason is likely because the internet service provider doesn’t have power either. In that case, there isn’t much you can do about it except wait patiently.

What Is a Power Generator?

A power generator does what your electric company does but on a smaller scale. It requires a fuel source, and in return, it generates power for your home. Such things can be lifesavers in the event of inclement weather.

The fuel drives a rotator that sends kinetic energy to an alternator. This converts the energy into electricity. As you can probably guess, these generators have limits. 

A smaller generator with a compartment for fuel will power far less than a larger generator connected to a tank somewhere on your property. However, as a result, the smaller generator will be cheaper and easier to maintain.

A variety of power generators are available to the average consumer, most of which run on propane or diesel. Some generators run on natural gas, usually used for large-scale needs.

Power Lines and Electric Towers

How To Stay Connected During a Power Outage

For the internet to remain on while the power is out, you will need to power your router and modem. Your devices can be connected to the generator like you would connect them to a wall outlet.

Most small generators have such outlets on them for ease of use. However, some generators will connect directly to the house and power everything in it as if there was no outage. These types of generators are expensive and more difficult to obtain and install.

You will want to verify that your generator produces enough power to keep the router and modem going. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer for how much power you will require. 

Many factors are involved in figuring out what type of generator you will need to keep yourself connected.

Your Internet Usage

The first and most important factor in determining how much power you will need to stay connected during a power outage is assessing how much internet you use. For example, streaming a video or playing a video game requires more bandwidth than reading an article.

Of course, because everyone in your residence shares bandwidth, you will also have to consider the internet usage of everyone in your home. More people using the internet means more power is necessary.

You will want something with a bit more kick if you have a gamer in the house. However, video games and videos are other areas where a cell phone and a good data plan can come in handy in a power outage.

Type of Generator

Suppose your backup generator is connected to your house, and you have the necessary fuel tank to keep it running. In that case, you probably don’t need anything special to stay connected to the internet

These generators are more common in areas that experience many outages, and they will probably keep the lights on in the house. However, if you have a smaller generator, you must consider what else is drawing power from it.

If the power is out for a long time, you will probably want to ensure your refrigerator is running, so all your food doesn’t spoil. A second generator may be a worthy investment if you have multiple appliances. 

The other option is to keep appliances plugged in and instead use the internet on your phone.

Different generators will require different fuels. Depending on which fuel your generator needs, it could be more difficult to keep a supply of fuel on hand for your generator. 

Pay attention to what fuel your generator runs on when you acquire it. Ensure it is a fuel you can afford to purchase more of, and you have a safe place to store it.

Preventative Measures

The time to worry about how you will access the internet if the power goes out is before the power goes out. If you’re thinking about getting a generator, there are some other things you might look into.

Surge protectors come with auxiliary batteries that give you an hour or two of extended time after a power outage. It will allow time to wrap up what you’re doing and let people know the power went out. 

Ensure that your router and internet equipment is connected to a surge protector and other important devices.

There are also smaller power banks for things like cell phones. Although they won’t help you keep your modem running during a power outage, they will help keep your cell phone alive. This is another way to access the internet in emergencies.

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