What is the average lifespan of a wireless (Wi-Fi) router?

There is no consensusas to how long a Wi-Fi router will last but most technology experts recommend changing a router every 3 to 5 years. This allows you to account for recent technological developments that will enhance your internet speeds. However, how you use and store your router will have a direct effect on its speed of deterioration.

Since nobody can tell you for sure when to change your router, there some tell-tale signs you should be on the lookout for that tell you it is time to purchase a new one.

Signs that you need to change your router

Slow internet speeds/connectivity

You know you are running on an outdated router when you notice that the speed delivery is half of what you ordered. This simply means your router cannot support the bandwidths been supplied by your ISP. Closely connected to this is when you notice that your devices keep been disconnected from the internet when you are surfing. This could be a sign that your router is outdated and is not compatible with the latest tech devices.

Physical damage

A physical examination of the router will reveal various signs of wear and tear that could be accompanied with overheating. This is a clear sign that your existing router has reached its useful life. Other times wear/tear can be accompanied with various unusual internal router cracking sounds. This is a signal that some of your internal components are not functioning as they are supposed to.


New technologies can render a router obsolete even though it is working in perfect condition or new. Wireless networking standards keep evolving. In 2000, we had the 802.11b then we moved to the 802.11g standard and in 2009, the technology was upgraded to 802.11n. Today, we have the superfast 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6.

Limited coverage

Most routers in the market will give you a coverage of 150 feet and above. Should you require more coverage then it is prudent to get yourself a Wi-Fi extender. This can be strategically placed within the house for extended coverage. If your range is becoming poor over the years, upgrading the router may not solve your problems and you maybe forced to purchase a new router.

Random reboots

Routers operate like mini-computers with processor chips and memory. They tend to be very intelligent. However, if you find yourself facing constant router reboots then it becomes more costly to repair the internal components and replacing your router would be more appropriate.

Now you know when to replace your router, but another important thing you need to know is how to extend its lifespan.

How to extend router lifespan

Place it in a safe place

If you want to extend the average lifespan for your modem then you need to place it somewhere it will not easily fall down or obstruct you. This is a place where children or dogs will not be tempted to topple it over. The place should be well aerated to prevent the router from overheating or gathering dust. Some people will prefer placing their modems on book shelves while some will mount it on walls. The choice will largely depend on the router design and available room space.

Keep your firmware updated

Occasionally run your router with the manufacturer for any firmware updates. This helps clear any errors that would have been present with the old firmware. While at it, it is also wise to run your router through various malware tests. This helps protect your network and devices from cyber-attacks. If you do not use your router all the time then keep turning it on/off occasionally.

Install an anti-virus

Since routers operate like mini-computers it is prudent to keep yours protected through the installation of an anti-virus. This keeps hackers from infiltrating your local network and expands the lifespan of your router. Some of the routers will come with their own pre-installed malware software but if yours does not have one you can always install.

Cleaning it

Dust is an enemy to efficient router operation. Occasionally, wipe it off with a damp cloth. If dust has accumulated for a long time you maybe forced to do a complete vacuum of the air vents and inside the router. Once done ensure that you do not place your router near a place where it is hit by direct sunlight. Heat is not always good for most electronics and the same applies to your router.

Power surges

Power spikes and failure can lead to premature breakage of your router. Just like your smart TV and refrigerator need power guards so does your router. Most of the guards are inexpensive and you can also opt to plug in your router to an existing UPS that you use with your computers and printers.

Reposition your router

Reposition your router

Most of the times you are experiencing dead spots in your Wi-Fi coverage the culprit can be the position of your router. For best coverage it is recommended that you place your router in a physically higher position and vertically. You can move your router around for the best Wi-Fi signal. Moving your router also prevents interference from electromagnetic waves caused by microwaves and baby monitors. You can enhance your Wi-Fi signal though the use of Wi-Fi extenders. This works by repeating a signal to areas experiencing dead zones.

When to change your router

How to Fix
Dead zones
Wi-Fi signal does not reach all rooms
Purchase Wi-Fi extenders, reposition router
Unresponsive router
Internal components could be faulty
Purchase new router
Router lights do not come on
Check power cable
If power is okay yet no signal router could be damaged
Constant Overheating
Router components could be worn out, dust issues
Purchase new router
Cannot connect to new devices
Router is operating on old router standards
Upgrade to new router


The consensus is still out there on when to best replace your router. Some recommend one to do it every four to five years while others say continue using it until it permanently breaks down. Router standards keep changing and it is prudent that you keep up with them for fast and uninterrupted internet access.


Do wireless routers go bad?

Like any other electronic device they are subject to wear and tear and do break down.

What is the main sign for a defective router?

If your router lights are not coming on even when you reconfigure your power cables then that router is completely defective.

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