Is it Time to Replace Your Router?

If your internet is slower than expected, it may be time to upgrade your speeds. Or you may just need a new router that can actually handle the speeds you’ve purchased!

In today’s blog, we’ll walk you through signs it’s time for a router upgrade and what to do about it so you and your family can take full advantage of DFN’s high-speed fiber network and greatly improve your streaming, gaming, and overall online experience!

First Step: Look for Signs That Your Router Needs Replacing

Sign #1: Your Router Is Just Plain Old

Start by asking yourself this: just how old is your router? If you can’t even remember when you purchased it, that’s a good sign it’s more than five years old. In fact, many homes and small businesses use the same router they originally bought in the early 2010’s or even 2000’s!

If your router is several years old and predates 2019, it simply lacks the technological chops to take full advantage of fiber’s bandwidth and speeds. Tech experts recommend updating to a new router every three to five years to keep up with technology, so remember that as a good rule of thumb. 

Sign #2: The Router Feels Hot to the Touch

Another indicator that your router is in rough shape and needs replacing is that it often feels like it’s overheating. Now, of course, almost all electronics will warm up while they’re running. But we’re not talking about typical warmth from sustained usage, but rather considerable heat put out from too much processing.

Such excessive heat is a sign that your router is overworked and attempting to handle more than it can, which in turn leads to slowdowns or even dropped connections or reboots. It might also mean that its internal materials and components have degraded or stopped working, causing further problems in transmitting Wi-Fi signals effectively.

Sign #3: You’re Not Getting Anywhere Near the Maximum Download Speeds Your Internet Service Provides

If you’ve noticed that your streaming seems frequently pixelated or distorted—despite paying for a top tier speed plan—it’s quite likely that your router just isn’t up to the job. With fiber internet, data can transfer at nearly the speed of light—something older routers just can’t handle.

If you’re fed up with slow download speeds and have already conducted troubleshooting to rule out other problems, it’s probably time for a new router.

Second Step: Utilize the Latest Wi-Fi Technology

Prior to the start of 2024, the most current Wi-Fi technology was Wi-Fi 6, also called  802.11ax (or an updated version called Wi-Fi 6e launched in 2021), which had been a substantial improvement from previous forms of Wi-Fi technology (e.g., Wi-Fi 5). Indeed, Wi-Fi 6 or 6e, which most new Wi-Fi routers built since 2019 use, will still provide excellent coverage to disperse internet.

However, there is a new Wi-Fi technology hitting the market as of early 2024—Wi-Fi 7! With Wi-Fi 7, download speeds can clock in at up to 46 Gbps, a considerable increase over Wi-Fi 6 and 6e’s 9.6 Gbps top speeds. Additionally, Wi-Fi 7 can use three frequency bands—2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz—simultaneously, a major step up from previous technology.

In short, look for routers built in 2019 or later using Wi-Fi 6 or 6e, or even better, the latest version, Wi-Fi 7. Their more sophisticated software designs are optimized to work with fiber’s outstanding download speeds.

Third Step: Always Keep Your Router’s Software Updated and Protected

Once you upgrade to a new Wi-Fi router using the latest (or at least much more recent) technology, it’s critical to keep that new router up to date! Wi-Fi router manufacturers, like other computer hardware equipment, regularly upgrade their coding and software to keep their products optimized. Diligently updating your Wi-Fi router’s software with the same conscientiousness you have for your laptop or smartphone will make your router more effective and your internet experience far smoother.

Regularly updated (and newer) routers are also better equipped to prevent cyberthreats and keep your home or small business’s network safer. Hacking, phishing, ransomware and other cybercrimes are, regrettably, on the rise. Simply staying on top of your router’s security upgrades is an easy way for you to enhance your network’s protection.

The above steps will help you determine whether it’s time for you to upgrade to a new Wi-Fi router, as well as select the right one for your needs. But don’t forget to check for software and security updates for your router to keep your network safe and secure, too!

As always, should you have any questions about how to better optimize your internet, DFN’s customer service representatives and technicians are available to help you. And for additional tips on improving your home or small business’s internet, follow DFN’s social pages!

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