7 signs the time has come to upgrade your WiFi Router
Your WiFi seems like its getting slower. Your internet connection keeps dropping. No matter what you do, you just can’t get a stable connection with that nice fast internet speed. If this sounds way too familiar, then perhaps its time to upgrade that router.
We tend to upgrade our phones every two or three years and we upgrade our computer around the 4-year mark. However, when it comes to our routers, we tend to hold onto them until they stop functioning all together before buying a new one.
So how do you know when its time to upgrade your WiFi router? Here are 7 signs that you should look out for:
1. Physically Damaged
Routers are typically built reasonably well. Their outside casing can withstand some impact, such as the occasional drop off the shelf.
When I see routers that are physically broken, even though they still technically work, I know that there must have been some serious fall to cause that. That impact just has a tremendous effect on the internal circuit board.
Minor dings here and there are usually ok, but anything that causes a crack in the casing is a big indicator that perhaps its time to upgrade.
2. No Internet or Dropped connections
If your router isn’t able to maintain a steady connection to the internet and to your devices then something is wrong.
This is literally the router’s job and if your devices are constantly losing that connection which is very frustrating, then it’s another indicator that it might be time for an update.
3. Just old tech
The common standard today is WiFi 5 and new routers even have WiFi 6. If your router only has WiFi 4 then it is really living on borrowed time.
If your router can only handle 2.4Ghz and doesn’t have 5Ghz, then you will see a massive difference when you get yourself a shiny new router.
You should lookout for a Tri-Band router which means you get a 1x 2.4Ghz and 2x 5Ghz bands and your WiFi takes on a new life.
4. Missing features
The router is literally the hub of the network and so router manufacturers are adding more features than just providing WiFi and LAN connectivity.
It is very common to see routers with USB ports which can be used for things like centralized storage and printing.
Routers also tend to have multiple antennas so that you can shape the WiFi signal to get better coverage.
So if your router doesn’t have a USB 3.0, has one or two antennae that’s another indicator that its time for that replacement.
If you are finding that your internet speed is just not as fast as it used to be, this could be an indicator that your router isn’t able to handle all that additional traffic that you added to your network over the years.
When routers were first built for the home, the manufacturers were building them to accommodate laptops and desktop.
These days we have added to those an array of phones, tablets, smart TVs, smart home tech, cameras, doorbells, smart plugs, gaming stations so there is so much more data on your network.
Newer routers have MU-MIMO – Multiple Users Multiple Input Multiple Output so it can handle more devices on your network at once. A MIMO router gets higher performance by aggressively transmitting and receiving data across a Wi-Fi link.
The router should also have BEAMING technology. This is the tech that essentially focuses the wireless signal at the device receiving the WiFi instead of having the signal spread in all directions all over the room resulting in wasted energy where there are no devices.
Beaming tech is especially important for those phones and tablets that are constantly moving around the home and need that great signal.
If your router doesn’t have these, then it’s upgrade time.
Certain types of gadgets don’t move like our PS4 consoles and our Smart TV, so a tell-tell sign that something is up with your WiFi router is when those device’s signal starts to deteriorate. They used to get a nice fast connection and now the same devices are getting a weaker signal and therefore a slower internet connection.
The devices haven’t moved, the router hasn’t moved so a degraded range is a clear indicator that the router is on its way out.
Updating our routers firmware is a must. This is how we get the latest bug fixes and security patches. If you notice that the last time your router’s firmware was updated years ago then head over to the manufacturer’s website.
If you see that your router is no longer on the support list or has been discontinued, it is definitely time to look at a new model.
Don’t throw away your current router. When your new router arrives, you can repurpose your existing router as a range extender and even as a way to add additional points for your LAN cables to plug into!