Routers are the core of any network, they are designed to be permanently on, providing us with Internet connectivity, but also cable and Wi-Fi connectivity locally, to be able to communicate with different computers or laptops with NAS servers or smartphones among other devices. Routers are not eternal, and over time not only can their hardware degrade, but they can also stop receiving firmware updates from the manufacturer. Today at RedesZone we are going to explain how long a router can last, and how to know if you should change it for a newer one.
Time of life
As we have said before, routers are prepared to be permanently on, however, over time their internal components can begin to degrade, especially if they are top-of-the-range models and do not have good heat dissipation. Generally, the useful life of a home router is usually between 4 to 5 years, after this time, it would be highly recommended to change the router for a new one, either mid-range or high-end, to achieve the best possible overall performance.
If we do not change the router because it continues to work correctly and we have no apparent problems, you should take into account the following:
- Firmware update: It is very possible that your router has not received a firmware update for several years. In a router that gives access to the Internet, it is essential that it has the latest security updates, and also functionalities. There are manufacturers that support their routers for more than 4 years without any problem, such as ASUS or AVM FRITZ! Box, however, other brands abandon the old models to focus specifically on the new ones, so we must take this into account .
- Characteristics of the new routers at the hardware level: If our router is 5 years old or older, we will not be taking advantage of the new improvements in wired connectivity, such as Multigigabit ports. Nor would we be taking advantage of all the advantages of the Wi-Fi 6 standard or the recent Wi-Fi 6E, so you will be missing out on all the improvements that have been introduced over the years.
- Features of the firmware in the new: new home routers usually incorporate more advanced parental controls, a powerful QoS to prioritize the different devices that we want. You should also keep in mind that the new routers already have updated firmware and that it is not vulnerable to security flaws known at that time. Finally, you should also know that the new models have mobile applications that will allow us to manage the router locally or through the Internet.
As a general rule, a router that is about 4 or 5 years old has already fulfilled its function, and it is time to renew it to enjoy the latest WiFi standards, hardware features and also the new features that manufacturers have incorporated.
How do I know if I should change the router?
If you have had a router for many years and you do not know how to detect that it needs to be changed, you should know that it is quite easy to notice the effects of a router that is starting to run out of useful life, generally we will notice the following symptoms:
- Loss of Internet connection.
- Loss of connectivity via Ethernet network cable.
- Spontaneous Wi-Fi wireless connection outages.
- Router crashes where manual reboot is required.
However, it would be advisable to cross-test, that is, install another test router temporarily to rule out that it is the router or that it is the configuration or equipment of our own local network. If these failures that we have mentioned no longer exist, then the culprit is the current router that we have, because we have completely ruled out that they are the other devices.
You should also know that such old routers no longer have support at the firmware level, so you are surely vulnerable to some security flaw. Manufacturers usually abandon support through firmware on their equipment after approximately 4 years, by law they are obliged to provide updates for several years after their launch, but it is rare to find models that have recurring updates beyond 6 years .