Technology is forever a growing field and new products are always in abundance. Important tech such as computers, cellphones, and tablets are always being upgraded, but one device is often overlooked despite its pivotal importance for all of our technology to connect with the outside world.
Wi-fi routers deliver internet access to our homes and places of work but we often forget that we need to replace them.
How long do routers last? You don’t need to be a network engineer to determine if your modem/router is due for an upgrade. Our list of signs that it is time to replace your router will help you determine if it is time for a new router. Need help selecting a new router? Check out our top picks of the best wifi routers.
What is a router?
A router is a device that connects two or more networks and forwards data packets between them. A wi-fi router uses headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the packets, and it connects to neighboring routers to exchange information about the best routes.
Why is it important to replace a wireless router?
If you have an old or outdated router, it may not be able to support the demands of newer devices or higher speeds. Additionally, a router that is not properly configured can provide opportunities for hackers to intercept your data. A router should be routinely replaced for upgraded security features and other upgrades to functionality such as more ports.
Why does a router go bad over time?
A router can go bad over time because it is constantly working to keep your devices connected to the internet. The heat generated by the router can cause internal components to break down and stop working.
Additionally, dust and debris can build up over time and cause the router to malfunction. Finally, firmware updates can help extend the lifespan of your router by fixing any bugs or security vulnerabilities.
6 Signs it’s time to upgrade your router
1. Your router is five years old
The average lifespan of a wireless modem router is about five years. A router can very well still be functional even if it is more than five years old but is most likely missing features that the new routers have that can improve speed and productivity. A router can also need to be replaced sooner than 5 years if it is heavily used.
2. Slow internet speed
One of the main reasons to upgrade your router is if you’re noticing slower than usual internet speeds. New technology standards have increased the capabilities of routers and their speeds. If you have an older router, it may not be able to keep up with the new speeds that your ISP (internet service provider) is offering.
To determine if your wi-fi is slow because of your router failing, try to reset your router and see if speeds improve. If the reset does not improve your internet speed, you can also try moving the router to a different location.
3. You can’t connect all your devices
If you’re constantly having to choose which devices get to be connected to the internet because there are too many for your router, it is time for an upgrade. Older routers often had a limited number of ports that could connect to devices. Newer routers have increased the number of ports as well as the types available so that you can connect more devices.
4. Connectivity Issues
If you’re finding that your internet connection is dropping more frequently or is patchy, it may be time for a new router. One of the features that newer routers have is a better range and stronger wi-fi signals. This means that you will be less likely to experience drop-offs in your connection.
If you notice that there are connectivity issues, try moving your router to a different location to see if your wi-fi improves. You can also try purchasing a wi-fi extender to see if this improves your connectivity. If it doesn’t, it could be time to replace your router.
5. The router is running hot or loudly
If you notice that your router is running hot or making noise, this is another sign that it’s time for a new one. Just like with any other electronic device, when a router starts to overheat, it can be a sign that it’s starting to wear out.
If you notice signs of deterioration on your modem router, it is good to determine if you should start shopping for a new one. Before rushing to buy a new wireless router, make sure that the modem is not covered or dusty. Try cleaning the router with compressed air which can be found in most office supply stores or tech shops.
6. There is physical damage to the router
If you notice any physical damage to your equipment, such as cracks in the casing or loose wires, this is a sign that it needs to be replaced. Even if the damage does not seem to be affecting the performance of your router, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to cause problems.
It is vital to be proactive about router replacements before it starts to affect your network access.
What you should look for in a new router
If you have determined that you need a replacement, it is time to start shopping and looking for the best options for your needs. Just because you are upgrading doesn’t mean that you need the best, most cutting-edge model of router. It matters more what features meet your needs.
When you’re shopping for a new router, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
- The first is the speed of the router. Make sure to buy a router that is rated for the speeds that your ISP offers.
- The second thing to look for is the range. If you have a large home or office, you’ll need a router with a good range so that you can have wi-fi access in all areas.
- The third thing to consider is the number of ports. If you have a lot of items that need to be connected to the network, make sure to buy a router with enough ports.
How Long Do Routers Last?
If your router is more than five years old, it is time to start thinking about replacing it. Newer routers have improved speeds and connectivity and can handle more devices than older models. If you’re noticing slower than usual internet speeds, having difficulty connecting all your devices, or experiencing more dropped connections, it’s time to replace your router.
Don’t wait until your old wireless router completely dies before you replace it. Newer routers can help improve your internet speed, connectivity, and security.
Frequently asked questions
How do I make my wireless router last longer?
To make your wireless router last longer, make sure to keep it in a cool and dry place, away from dust and debris. You should also regularly check for firmware updates and install them when they’re available. Additionally, unplugging your router when you’re not using it can help extend its lifespan.
How often should you replace your wireless modem router?
The average lifespan of a wireless modem router is about five years. A router that is 5 years old can very well be functional but it is vital to be proactive about the health of your wireless router before it breaks or leaves you without a wi-fi network.
What is the average cost of a new router?
The average cost of a new router is around $100. However, there are many different types and prices of routers available on the market, so it’s important to do your research to find a good router for your needs.
Is it better to get a separate new modem and router?
In most cases, it is better to get a separate new modem and router. However, there are some all-in-one devices that combine both a modem and a router. These all-in-one devices can be a good option for people who have simple home networking needs.
What is a Modem?
A modem is a device that connects a computer to the Internet. The word “modem” is a combination of the words “modulator” and “demodulator.” A modem modulates an analog signal to convert digital information from a computer into an analog signal that can be sent over a phone line, and it demodulates the analog signal to convert the information back into digital form.
What is the difference between a modem and a router?
A router connects two or more networks and forwards data packets between them. Modems are a device that connects a computer to the Internet. The main difference between a modem and a router is that a modem allows you to connect to the Internet, while a router allows you to connect multiple devices and share an Internet connection.
Modern routers that are found in most home networking setups are often modem/router combos but can be bought and configured with custom settings separately.
How do I know if I am having router or modem issues?
If you are having trouble connecting to the internet, or if your wi-fi is slower than usual, you may be having router or modem issues. In most cases, restarting your router or modem can fix any temporary connection issues.
If you’re still experiencing problems after restarting your devices, reach out to your ISP for help.
Should I purchase a router through my isp?
You don’t have to purchase a router through your ISP, but in some cases, it can be a good option. Many ISPs offer their routers for rent or purchase, and these routers are often optimized to work well with the ISP’s network.
ISPs will usually offer replacement modems and offer support if you need a new router but this may not be the best option for your needs. You should still do your research to find a router that has the features you need and fits your budget.
What if my network goes out while I am plugged in with an ethernet cable?
If your network goes out while you are plugged in with an ethernet cable, there is likely an issue with your router or modem.
Restarting your equipment can often fix temporary connection issues. You can also try to unplug your cable from the modem or router and plug into another port. While this may be a temporary solution, if you have an ethernet port that fails, this could be a sign of hardware deterioration. Even if your wireless access is still functioning, you may need to consider getting a replacement router.