Count internet devices in your home. You and your family members probably have smartphones. There are laptops, and tablets, Smart TV, and possibly smart home devices. Heck, even robot-vacuum cleaners use Wi-Fi, just like those fancy Wi-Fi glass light switches you’ve installed.
To get the most out of the Internet service provider plan you are paying for, having a viable router is essential.
When is the time to change the router?
Networking experts claim you should ideally change your router every five years, and if you are a tech-savvy user the rotation period could be two years. Why change it if it works? Technology advancements are huge every year, and if you have a ten years old router it probably has old standards and only 2.4 GHz network. In the wake of Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, upcoming 6GHz band and a slew of new networking tech, you could miss on many of the things you are paying to an ISP.
What does the router do?
Router redirects data connection from your modem to other devices in your home. If you want the best connection, you should consider connecting the modem to the device with an Ethernet cable. However, in the age of wireless you will need a capable router because of the big number of devices and the content that demands higher bandwidth.
Watching Netflix could ruin someone’s Skype meeting if you don’t have proper network connection. Also, if you’re paying for optical fibre data connection, a weak or older router doesn’t have the capabilities to transfer those 1 GBs speeds to your devices.
Test your router on iGaming websites and streaming services
Ookla’s Speed Test is the most popular tool for measuring internet speed. You can test your Wi-Fi performance by running the test on various locations in your house. Another approach is through real-time testing. Biggest casino in the world is offering live games that require more bandwidth, and other games with high-end graphics that need steady connection and low latency to work seamlessly.
You can play 4k video on Netflix or YouTube simultaneously on another device and see whether your network is hanging on.
Signs your router is ready for upgrade
Network engineers advise you should restart modem, router and end devices before you start with other troubleshooting. Because of the high volume of interactions and communication between devices, sometimes those connections suffer and are compromised. Unplugging the router can solve a huge number of issues.
Another thing to look for are firmware upgrades. You should go to the router interface at least twice a year and search for the updates. Those can also resolve some of the networking issues.
If you’re suffering from slow internet speed after those steps, you can point your finger to the router. The device should deliver speeds advertised from your ISP, and if you don’t clog the bandwidth with too many devices, the problem might be in the router.
Another common issue in routers that are close to their end of cycle is intermittent connection. If you’re getting a lot of “no internet connection” messages, it might be time for a new router.
One of the reasons experts recommend changing the router every five years is component health. They can fail due to higher temperatures after a while.
The most obvious sign you need a new router is when it stops working all together. If it doesn’t respond to the press of a button, and can’t establish a connection you should acquire a new router.
What type of router do you need?
Most users use routers they’ve got from the Internet Service Provider. If it can perform well and deliver satisfaction you can keep it. You can further improve its performance with a few simple tricks. Find a suitable central place in your home. Place the router on a higher spot to cover a bigger area. If you need better connection in a specific part of your home, you can point the antennas in that direction.
If you want a top of the line device, there are much more competent routers on the consumer market. Each device comes with a huge list of specifications, which is hard to decipher for regular users. You should check the bandwidth and which standards it supports. In 2022, the router should have at least four gigabit Ethernet ports. It should also support 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands. While 2.4GHz has a slightly better range, the newer 5GHz band has better throughput and smaller interferences for the signal.
Specs will tell you the speeds the router can deliver. The pricest can get up to 1Gbps for the 2.4Ghz band, and more than 2Gbps on 5GHz band. Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are promising even better bandwidth, and you can get future proof tech with those routers.