The many factors that impact the longevity of a wireless router can take their toll over time. Knowing these factors and how to avoid them, if possible, is the best and only way to maximize the service life of your Wi-Fi router. These factors include brand, hours of use, outdated technology, power outages and surges, maintenance, and price. What role do these factors play in the service life of a router? How Often Should You Replace Your Router? Find the answers to these questions and much more in the content provided below.
What Determines The Service Life Of A Wireless Router?
As mentioned previously, the service life of a wireless router can be determined by several factors. Knowing these factors will ensure a maximum service life for your home network router.
Brand – No matter how you look at it, the brand can play a major role in router longevity. When you break this down, it says some brands are just better than others. Manufacturers like Netgear, TP-Link, and ASUS are well-known brand-names. The brand will have an impact on longevity. There no question that brand-name routers offer a longer service life as compared to knockoff brands.
Power Surges – Electrical power surges and outages can also have a negative impact on routers. While some people will disagree, frequent surges in your home’s electrical current will take their toll on the functionality and longevity of your router. To avoid damage caused by power surges and outages, a power surge protector is a necessity.
Maintenance – Wireless routers are low-maintenance electronic devices. The biggest tasks you will face when maintaining a router is manufacturer update compliance, dusting, and placement. It is crucial to place your router out of direct sunlight, vacuum the fan vents frequently, and comply with manufacturing updates.
How Often Should You Replace Your Router?
You’ll likely want to replace your router at some point. However, you’re worried about doing so because you know that these devices are expensive. You don’t want to overdo it but you should replace your router regularly. So, how long should you wait before replacing your current wireless router?
The lifespan of your wireless router will depend on its quality. If you’re dealing with a hobby-grade router, it’ll likely malfunction after a few years. If you’ve spent more and have purchased a high-quality router, you can expect it to last for 15 years or longer.
Nevertheless, you need to understand that Internet technologies are being improved swiftly. In a few years, your high-tech router may become outdated. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the router to maintain the best connection. Has your Internet service provider updated its lines to provide clients with faster speeds? If so, your existing router might not be able to keep up with the fastest speeds. If this is the case, you’ll want to upgrade your router.
Read Also: How long do modems last?
Knowing When To Replace Your Router
When something goes wrong with your router, you’ll likely need to replace it. Does it no longer work as it should? The Ethernet may work but the Wi-Fi functions may stop working. You never know. When this happens, you’ll have no choice but to replace the router immediately. However, this isn’t always the case. Consumers will regularly replace their routers so they can take advantage of the benefits of owning a new router. So, when should you replace your existing router?
If something has gone awry and the router no longer works as it should, you’ll want to change it immediately. It is preventing you from enjoying the Internet to the fullest so you’ll need to get rid of the router and replace it with one that works flawlessly. In addition to this, you should know that Internet technologies are evolving rapidly. New security technologies are being released so consumers and businesses can be protected online. Plus, Internet speeds are increasing very quickly.
It is pertinent to have a router that provides the latest technologies and faster speeds. When your ISP makes strides, you’ll want to purchase a router that can take advantage of the upgraded Internet service plan. If you’re using an outdated router with poor security, it is time to upgrade. Upgrading your router offers numerous benefits since it can provide you with the fastest speeds and better security. Also, a new router will likely be able to support more devices at once without issues.
Replacement Because Of Age
You are probably not surprised to learn that one of the most common reasons for router replacement is age. In fact, if you invest in a good quality router, you shouldn’t have to replace it until it reaches its age limit. That being said, age usually factors in because of heat exposure. Routers would last years and years longer if it wasn’t for all the heat exposure. Routers are exposed to prolonged amounts of heat over long periods of time. This is the number one thing that kills them.
These devices usually run extremely hot and given the fact that they constantly run, you can imagine the heat exposure and damage. This is why most individuals use a passive cooling device in conjunction with their routers to help keep them cool. And, this is not to even mention the fact that most routers are either shoved in a closet or installed right next to other equipment that puts off lots of heat.
General wear and tear, damage due to heat exposure, and outdated technology are all important things to consider when thinking about router replacement. Besides these factors, the other biggest thing is time. This usually results in outdated hardware. To determine whether or not your router has outdated hardware, you have to look at specific features and standards.
For instance, is the router more than 10 years old? If this is the case, you are probably two or three upgrades out of date, as computer equipment, software, and hardware updates pretty regularly these days.
Another common reason to replace your router is because of missing features. This is also one that comes with time. That being said, this factor is a bit more subjective in the eyes of some individuals because some prefer to be on the cutting edge of technology, whereas others don’t care so much about being outdated. Then there are those individuals that only care the most about getting the most for their money. The important thing to consider here when thinking about features is wireless standards and incompatibilities.
Wi-Fi 6 – This is also commonly referred to as 802.11ax and it basically means that your router is backward compatible with older versions. If your router is Wi-Fi 6 capable, it will likely offer the fastest speeds and most up to date hardware and software. You’ll likely be able to connect to just about most modern and newer devices.
Wi-Fi 5 – Wi-Fi is compatibility that refers to 802.11ac backward capabilities. This has been the standard since 2013, but have since grown outdated. If you are currently utilizing this type of compatibility, you might want to consider an upgrade.
Wi-Fi 4 – If you are still utilizing Wi-Fi compatibility, you’ll be using what is known as 802.11n, and you’ll, without a doubt want to consider an upgrade as soon as it’s in your budget. This is a type of compatibility that was replaced in 2013 by 802.11ac and has since grown really outdated. When upgrading from this hardware, you’ll certainly notice a huge increase in performance, even if you just upgrade to the current standard.
Problems That Call For A Router Change
When something goes wrong with your router and it needs to be replaced, you’ll know it immediately. Your router will begin causing numerous problems for you and your loved ones. Below, you’ll learn more about the signs that you need to replace your router.
- Power Loss
Does your router randomly turn off and on? Are you positive that the power outlet and power cord are working fluidly? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, there is a good chance that something has gone wrong with the router. Before you know it, the router is going to turn off and never turn back on. With this in mind, you should replace the router before this happens.
- Connectivity Problems
There is a chance that you’re beginning to have connectivity issues with your router? Does the Wi-Fi connection drop constantly? Or, have you been experiencing problems with the Ethernet connection? You need a router that offers reliable connectivity. Otherwise, your gaming experience is going to suck and your productivity will decrease. If you’ve been dealing with connectivity issues and the router’s warranty has elapsed, it is a good idea to replace it now.
- Rebooting Randomly
Does the router reboot randomly? This is a good sign that something has gone with the router and you’ll need to replace it. Routers contain a lot of components and there is a chance that something has gone wrong with one of these components. To fix that problem, you might want to contact the company and get them to fix it. If the router is still under warranty, they’ll likely fix it for free. If the warranty is no longer valid, you’ll likely need to replace the router with a new one.
Increasing Lifespan Of Your Router
Routers are expensive so you’ll want yours to last as long as possible. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to increase the lifespan of your router. It is a good idea to follow this advice so you can protect your investment and avoid needing to buy a new router so soon. First and foremost, you should give your router a break every so often. If you’re pushing it to the extremes, it’ll likely malfunction much sooner. Slow down and unplug the router at night. If you’re not going to be using it, you should unplug it and give it a rest.
In addition to this, you’ll want to install the router in a safe location. Make sure that your pets and children are not going to damage the device. It should be kept away from water sources too. Finally, you’ll want to purchase a router with a long warranty so you can fix problems without paying out of pocket. It is best to let the company fix it and a warranty means you won’t need to pay to have it repaired.
How long does a wireless router last? Ultimately, it is difficult to say for certain. You never know what is going to happen and what could go wrong with your router. Nevertheless, you should know that most routers will serve you well for several years. While a total malfunction is one possibility, you’ll likely replace the router so you can take advantage of new features, better security, and faster speeds. It is generally a good idea to replace your router every few years so you can get the best connection possible.
Meet Eriksson Ray. I’m the co-founder of TenWitch.com. Our website is dedicated to the coverage of product reviews, buyer’s guides, best lists, etc. We can help you to choose a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.