6 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Router

Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
In case your Wi-Fi router is 5 years previous or older, cannot deal with your full web connection, drops units off your community, or requires you to regularly reboot it, then it is time for an improve.It’s straightforward to deal with your Wi-Fi router like an equipment, simply operating it like an previous fridge till it will definitely dies and also you’re pressured to exchange it. Listed below are some key indicators that your router is due for an improve (and why you shouldn’t wait to exchange it).

Why Care About Upgrading Your Wi-Fi Router?
If you happen to’re not a tech fanatic and interest community nerd, you may definitely be forgiven for not desirous about your Wi-Fi router fairly often.
In most properties, the router simply sits there within the background, silently doing the heavy lifting of preserving your own home community up and operational, ignored till one thing wonky occurs, and also you restart the router.
However simply because your Wi-Fi router will get the identical consideration as a water heater or furnace doesn’t imply it’s best to wait till it’s malfunctioning or refuses to activate earlier than getting a substitute.
Your Wi-Fi router vastly influences every thing from the safety of your own home community and private info to how well-streaming companies work (and the way the community load is balanced between vital and non-critical actions).
Your router may not be lights-out lifeless but, but when it’s actually previous, the whole web expertise in your house is probably going considerably degraded with out you even realizing how dangerous it’s. Despite the fact that we encourage folks to get probably the most worth out of their {hardware} and we even have some nice ideas for bettering your Wi-Fi with out shopping for something, there’s solely a lot further life these sorts of ideas and methods can breathe into an previous router.
So let’s have a look at some massive indicators that it’s time to improve your router and luxuriate in a extra secure Wi-Fi expertise with elevated safety and protection.
Your Router Is Sizzling, Noisy, or Erratic
Earlier than we dive into the extra nuanced explanation why it’s best to improve your router, let’s have a look at probably the most urgent ones proper out of the gate.
In case your router could be very sizzling to the contact (and it isn’t a product well-known for operating sizzling), that’s a superb signal that the router can’t sustain with the demand you’re placing on it and/or near {hardware} failure.
Most routers are utterly silent and cooled by passive cooling with out a fan. In case your router is making unusual noises like a whining sound that’s a powerful signal a number of of the elements are on the best way out.
And, lastly, if the router is behaving in an erratic manner prefer it turns off randomly, all of the connections in the home drop and reconnect, or you end up regularly rebooting your router (and even resorting to setting a sensible plug to restart it each night time) it’s time for an improve.
Barring firmware updates restarting your router, uptime ought to be measured in months, not hours or days. If you happen to can’t depart your router alone and have it run easily for months at a time, you then want a brand new one.
Your Router No Longer Receives Updates
More often than not, cruddy protection and connection velocity push folks to improve their router, not safety issues.
But when your router is so previous that it not receives routine firmware updates (or any in any respect!) then it’s time to improve to a more recent mannequin.
No product is ideal, and new vulnerabilities and exploits are all the time uncovered. A brand new router with lively improvement ensures that vital vulnerabilities can be patched shortly, and also you’ll get constant updates that patch bugs, add new options, enhance issues like channel optimization, and extra.
As soon as a router not receives updates, it’s successfully lifeless to the producer and ought to be lifeless to you too. Dwelling community safety and stability are too essential to go away within the arms of deserted {hardware}.
You’re Not Getting the Full Web Velocity You’re Paying For
You throw good cash at your Web Service Supplier (ISP) each month, so that you need to ensure you get probably the most for that cash.
If you happen to’re rocking an older router and also you’ve upgraded your web package deal or switched to the fasted ISP in your space, it’s fairly doable that your previous router merely can’t deal with the complete bandwidth capability of your new connection.
Whereas fashionable routers have a gigabit (and even 2.5 or 5 gigabit) WAN ports to connect with your web modem, and each fashionable router has gigabit ports for the community swap portion, older routers don’t.
In truth, a mixture of gradual ports and {hardware} can result in a scenario the place you’re paying for, say, a 500 Mbps or perhaps a gigabit web connection, however your router is choking on the bandwidth.
So when you’re paying for a sooner broadband connection, however each time you run a velocity take a look at, you’re solely getting a fraction of that velocity, take into account your router as a possible perpetrator within the slowdown.
Do word that it’s best to conduct any velocity take a look at utilizing a pc related to the router through Ethernet for max accuracy. Utilizing your cellphone received’t provide you with correct velocity take a look at outcomes due to how Wi-Fi works and the way the utmost theoretical velocity of your Wi-Fi router is allotted.
Your Router Can’t Deal with All Your Gadgets
Possibly years in the past, your router was sufficient for the wants of your own home. However the variety of related units has exploded due to the inclusion of community connections in every thing from good TVs to good plugs.
Your router can’t make your web connection sooner than it’s, however it might make sure that no matter web bandwidth you’ve gotten is correctly allotted between units and people units can all preserve a secure connection to the router.
If you happen to discover that your smartphone regularly drops off the Wi-Fi, your partner is complaining that their work Zoom calls maintain dropping, and the scenario can’t be defined away by too many high-demand actions on a really restricted gradual web connection, it’s time to contemplate changing the router with a contemporary mannequin that may deal with a high-density atmosphere.
Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 7 all embrace design selections particularly for optimizing Wi-Fi connectivity in fashionable high-density environments so when you’re nonetheless rocking a Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 router, it’s greatest to improve so your router can sustain with the calls for your own home places on it.
Your Router Doesn’t Present Sufficient Wi-Fi Protection
Along with a router that lacks the {hardware} oomph to deal with all of your related units, one other widespread and irritating state of affairs is a router that lacks the protection vary to achieve all of the areas of your own home and yard you regularly use your units in.
If you happen to’ve gotten into the behavior of switching off Wi-Fi to make use of your cellular information whereas utilizing your cellphone within the rest room on the far finish of your home or whenever you’re out on the patio, that’s a superb signal your router is considerably underpowered in your residence.
The identical goes for any scenario the place you’ve slapped Wi-Fi extenders into shops round your own home in a bid to get protection out on the patio, within the child’s playroom over the storage, or in another out of the best way spot.
At greatest, Wi-Fi extenders are a band-aid. We strongly advocate that folks improve their router to a extra highly effective mannequin or, higher but, swap to a mesh system to raised blanket their residence with Wi-Fi. Mesh programs are so nice, we even advocate them for individuals who solely want a single entry level.
Your Router Was Launched 5 or Extra In the past
Notice that we didn’t say, “you purchased your router 5 years or extra in the past,” however that the producer launched the router 5 years or extra in the past.
You’ll be able to pop over to Amazon or stroll right into a Greatest Purchase proper now and purchase surprisingly previous routers that lack many fashionable options, don’t assist WPA3, and so forth. With that in thoughts, it’s not essential if the router is new to you or not, however when the router was launched to the market.
5 years in the past, from the time we’re penning this checklist in early 2023, it was 2018. WPA3 had simply been introduced (and it wouldn’t be till July 2020 that WPA3 was necessary for Wi-Fi Alliance certification.) Producers had been simply starting to announce Wi-Fi 6 routers. In case your router was launched in 2018 or earlier, you’re lacking out on quite a lot of enhancements.
And when you purchased a new-to-you however not truly new-to-market router 5 years in the past, you’re rocking even older know-how. It’s time to recycle your previous router. fashionable Wi-Fi router is gentle years forward of its older counterparts and completely price investing in.