Your wireless routermakes it possible for you to hook up to the internet any time you like. It can be very annoying when it suddenly starts disconnecting too often or stops functioning altogether.
This happens for a variety of reasons. It might make you wonder ‘how long do WiFi routers last?’ and when it is time for you to replace yours. This article provides a detailed answer to that question.
It also covers the average lifespan of wireless routers, the factors that impact this lifespan, and some ways you can use to prolong the life of your particular model. Also noted are some telltale signs which indicate that it is finally time for you to upgrade or replace your wireless device.
Let’s Address the Question
The average lifespan of a wireless router is 4 to 5 years.
That being said, your particular model can stop functioning before that or keep functioning long after the 5-year mark. Some models expire as soon as 2 to 3 years. Others go on to work smoothly for more than ten years.
This is because several factors impact the lifespan and performance of a router which we will now discuss.
Factors Affecting the Lifespan of WiFi Routers
Here is a look at some key factors that may affect the lifespan of your wireless router:
WiFi routers have evolved rapidly over the past few years.
The older models are limited in functionality and do not support high-speed connections. The newer models are more capable and support speedy connections, multiple users, and more.
If you are experiencing slow internet speeds, this may be because you are using an old and outdated model. Online content such as applications and videos are becoming more and more data-intensive. If you don’t upgrade your internet connection, you will have a poor browsing experience.
This is where a replacement can make a huge difference. A new model with better internet speed may resolve your browsing issues and deliver a more seamless experience for you.
Heavy data transfers, multiple users, and prolonged usage can put an extra load on WiFi routers and cause them to overheat. This is particularly the case with the older models that are not equipped to handle intensive data connections.
You can offset this by allowing the device to cool down in between your work. You can also turn it off occasionally when it is idle to give it a break. The device will last longer when you avoid performing heavy data transfers on a routine basis.
Like any piece of equipment, your router needs regular care and maintenance. It is common to put it in a dusty, remote corner and forget about it. That is a mistake.
You should keep your device in a dry place, keep it dust-free, and prevent exposure to direct sunlight. If possible, make sure the device is not near any other electric wires or cables. And finally, do not insert or remove cables from the router too often as it can cause damage to the cable connections.
The brand of your router plays an important role in determining its lifespan. If your equipment is from a reputable brand, you can expect it to last even up to 10 years or more.
This is simply because the models from top brands come with better manufacturing quality.
In contrast, models from less-known brands tend to feature poor quality. They may experience wear-and-tear sooner and stop functioning as soon as two years. So make sure you put some homework into deciding which brand you purchase from.
How to Make Your Router Last A Long Time
You can adopt certain best practices to make sure your device lasts a long time. These include the following:
Choose the Right Model
This applies to both the make and the manufacture of a device. Make sure you purchase one with the latest features if you are buying a new one. The choice of the brand can play a major role in how long your wireless router is going to last.
Location is Everything
The actual location of your device can determine its lifespan. If it is in a remote nook where it accumulated dust over time, it will likely stop working sooner.
On the other hand, you are more likely to clean and maintain it if placed somewhere visible.
Another advantage of a suitable location is that you can troubleshoot issues on time. If a light is not blinking properly or a cable has come off, you can quickly spot it and resolve the problem.
Avoid Prolonged Data-Heavy Use
Your router can heat up when overused, and this, in turn, leads to a short lifespan. The same thing happens when the device is frequently used for heavy data transfers or multiple users hook up to the WiFi connection on a routine basis.
You can remedy this by giving it short breaks to let it cool down.
Avoid Excessive Physical Handling
WiFi routers last a long time if you keep physical handling to a minimum.
This is because the device is designed and meant to be installed in one place. If you plug/unplug it too often, this will lead to wear-and-tear. And that can result in a shorter lifespan.
Four Signs You Need A New Wireless Router
The performance of wireless devices deteriorates over time. As noted above, it depends on various factors. Your particular model may indicate that it is failing or about to fail.
If you keep an eye on these indications, you can make a replacement in time to avoid any hassle. Here is a look at some common signs that reveal your device is about to go down.
Router reboots are annoying as they can put your work on hold, break the flow, and interrupt online sessions. You may also lose all data in an online session when the device reboots randomly.
They are also a common sign of a failing device. If your device reboots randomly and without any visible reason, this may be due to internal malfunctions. When this is the case, you may consider replacing it.
Another common telltale sign of a failing router is frequent disconnection. In this case, the device does not reboot, but it is unable to maintain a steady connection with the linked devices.
As a result, you may experience that your internet connection breaks in the middle of a video or conference call.
Sometimes, disconnections may be a result of other factors. For instance, it may happen if you are too far from the device or if there are many obstructions.
You can troubleshoot this issue by doing some legwork. Simply move your devices as close to the router as possible. If you still experience disconnections, the problem lies with the router.
This usually happens with routers that are quite old or have experienced significant wear-and-tear. When a device struggles to boot up, it is well beyond its lifespan.
New Internet Plan
You are likely to get higher internet speeds when you sign up for a new internet plan. Your older model may not support the new high-speed connection. This is another reason you may want to upgrade it.
Your internet company can provide you with the best advice on whether or not you need to upgrade the router with a new plan. You can also do some testing on your own. If you get fair speeds on the same old model, you don’t need to change it.
The lifespan of a router varies depending on various factors. A residential model has an average life of around 20,000 hours. The more robust industrial variants come with an average life of 50,000 hours.
In simpler terms, good-quality models will serve you up to 10 years, or even longer. The cheaper ones are likely to stop working sooner, within 3 to 5 years.
That being said, the factors listed above will play a role in the longevity of your device regardless. If you place a fair load on your router, keep it clean, and maintain it regularly so that you can get the most out of it.
If you neglect your device by putting heavy data loads on it, plugging or unplugging cables without care, and letting dust and debris pile upon it, even the best one will go down soon.
It is time to change your router when you start experiencing reboots, disconnections, or power outages. You may also need to upgrade it when you get a new internet plan, or your internet speed needs to grow.
In general, you will get what you pay for. WiFi routers that last a long time may cost more. In contrast, the low-quality ones may come cheap but will deliver poor performance and die sooner. So it is best to go with quality when getting a router, but in most cases, your ISP will provide you with the best option.