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How Often Should You Reboot Your Router? (And Why You Should)

Your wireless router is the heart of your home network, allowing all your devices to connect to the internet. But like any gadget, routers can run into technical issues that slow down speeds.

Rebooting your router is one of the easiest and most effective troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve internet connectivity problems.

But is it something you need to do regularly? Or only when you notice an issue?

This guide will cover:

  • Recommended frequency for rebooting your router
  • The 5 big benefits of rebooting explained
  • Step-by-step instructions to reboot your router
  • Pro tips for optimizing and securing your home network

After reading, you‘ll know exactly when and how often to reboot your router to maximize performance. Let‘s dive in!

How Often Should I Reboot My Router?

There‘s no universally agreed upon rule on how often you need to reboot your wireless router. The optimal frequency depends on several factors:

Age of your router

Like any electronics, routers slowly degrade over time. Older routers have more wear and tear on components like capacitors and memory. They may need more frequent reboots to clear glitches, like once a week.

Newer routers using the latest chipsets can typically go longer without a reboot, like once a month.

Average Lifespan of a Wireless Router:

  • Basic models: 3 years
  • Mid-range: 4 years
  • High-end: 5+ years

Of course, taking care of your router and keeping it dust-free will help maximize its lifespan. But technology evolves quickly, so a router over 5 years old is pushing obsolete territory.

Number of connected devices

The more smartphones, computers, smart home gadgets and other devices connected to your network, the harder your router has to work. Lots of demand can strain your router‘s processing capabilities over time.

For networks with 10 or more WiFi devices, you may need to reboot your router more often. Every 2-3 weeks helps clear out any performance issues all those devices can create.

Your internet usage patterns

Do you use the internet sporadically to check email and social media? Or are you frequently streaming HD video, gaming online, and video conferencing?

Heavy network usage like streaming puts more load on your router. If you have several family members streaming different services simultaneously, a reboot clears router cache to help optimize speeds.

For light internet users, monthly reboots are probably fine. But weekly may be better for heavy internet households.

Connectivity or speed issues

The #1 reason to reboot your router more frequently is if you notice problems with your internet connectivity.

Pages and videos buffering? Can‘t connect to your WiFi network? A quick reboot should clear up any temporary glitches or software errors causing problems.

For most people, rebooting their wireless router about once a month is sufficient to prevent issues proactively.

But don‘t hesitate to reboot more often if you notice slowdowns or connectivity problems. It‘s quick and easy to do, so even if you don‘t think you need to reboot your router, it won‘t hurt to do it.

Pay attention to changes in your internet speeds. If pages are suddenly taking longer than usual to load or your video streams keep buffering, try rebooting your router first before investigating other issues.

Why Should I Periodically Reboot My Router?

Rebooting your router keeps things running optimally and prevents or fixes many common internet connectivity problems.

Here are 5 key benefits to rebooting your wireless router regularly:

1. Faster Internet Speeds

Your router stores frequently accessed data in a temporary memory bank called the cache. This helps pages load faster by retrieving info from the router cache rather than re-downloading it.

But over time, this cache fills up which can slow things down. Rebooting your router wipes the cache completely giving you a clean slate.

Many users see faster loading pages and videos after rebooting when the cache was the culprit behind sluggish speeds.

2. Kicks Unauthorized Users Off Your Network

Do you have neighbors, visitors or other devices connecting to your WiFi without your permission? This slows your connection speed for authorized users.

When rebooting your router, it kicks every device offline. This interrupts any unauthorized users or devices from connecting to your network.

To keep them off, change your WiFi password after rebooting. Don’t worry, your authorized devices can reconnect with the new password once the router is back online.

3. Updates Router Firmware

Wireless router manufacturers periodically release updated firmware that includes bug fixes, new features and security patches.

But these critical firmware updates don’t install automatically. Rebooting your router allows it to check for and install pending firmware updates.

Keep your router firmware up-to-date to maximize performance and security against hackers. Check your router admin console to find your current firmware version.

4. Clears Up Connectivity Problems

Is your internet connection dropping randomly? Are devices unable to connect to your WiFi network?

Temporary glitches in your router software can prevent devices from getting online properly. And it usually requires a router reboot to clear things up.

Nine times out of ten, rebooting your router will restore connectivity. It‘s typically the first troubleshooting step when tackling any connection issues.

5. Helps Prevent Overheating

Routers generate heat when operating, just like your laptop or smartphone. Good airflow around the router is important so the heat can dissipate.

Restarting your router powers it down completely for a short time. This allows the components to briefly cool off and prevent overheating issues.

Proper router placement in a well-ventilated area is ideal. But regular reboots can also minimize any heat-related performance problems.

How To Safely Reboot Your Router

Now let‘s cover the step-by-step process to correctly reboot your wireless router:

Method 1: Unplug The Power

The simplest way to reboot any router is to manually power cycle it:

  1. Find your router‘s power cord and unplug it from the electrical outlet.

  2. Wait at least 60 seconds before plugging it back in. This gives your router time to fully discharge.

  3. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet and router power port.

  4. Wait 2-3 minutes for your router to completely reboot before reconnecting devices.

Warning: Do not press the reset button on your router during this process! This factory resets your router which erases all settings.

Method 2: Router App (Easy Remote Access)

Many internet providers like Xfinity have mobile apps to manage their equipment remotely. Convenient if your router is buried in a closet!

Open the app on your smartphone, navigate to the reboot function, and tap to restart your router.

Give it a few minutes to cycle before reconnecting your devices.

Method 3: Router Admin Web Interface

You can also reboot your wireless router through the admin settings:

  1. Connect a device to your WiFi or router‘s ethernet port.

  2. Launch a browser and enter your router‘s IP address. Typically or

  3. Enter your router‘s admin username and password when prompted.

  4. Navigate to "System Tools" or "Advanced Settings".

  5. Click the reboot or restart option.

It will take about 3 minutes for your router to fully come back online. Then reconnect your devices.

Check your router documentation for specific steps. Varies by brand and model.

Method 4: Smart Plug (Scheduled Reboots)

Using a smart plug allows you to conveniently reboot a router remotely using your smartphone.

Simply plug your router into the smart plug, then use the app to power cycle it any time. Never climb behind the TV to unplug it again!

Smart plugs also allow you to schedule router reboots at a time convenient for you like in the middle of the night.

Optimizing Your Router and Home Network

Rebooting your router regularly is a quick and effective way to boost connectivity and speeds.

But if you find you constantly need to reboot your router, or speeds are still slow after a reboot, some additional optimization may be needed.

Here are some tips to maximize your router and home network performance:

  • Update your router firmware frequently to get the latest fixes and features.

  • Consider upgrading to a newer router if yours is over 5 years old. Newer processors and WiFi standards provide better range and speeds.

  • Move your router to a centralized location to optimize WiFi coverage area. Avoid cramming it in a corner.

  • Only use the 5GHz band on your router; 2.4GHz is slower and more interference prone.

  • Set devices that don‘t move like desktop PCs, streaming sticks and smart speakers to a fixed IP address in your router admin console. This prevents IP conflicts which can disrupt connectivity.

  • Use Ethernet backhaul if your router supports it. This means connecting satellites via ethernet cable instead of wirelessly daisy chaining. More reliable speeds.

  • Add mesh WiFi systems or WiFi extenders to boost coverage in any dead zones in your home.

  • For gigabit internet speeds, upgrade to a WiFi 6 (ax) router and WiFi 6 compatible devices.

  • Consider commercial grade Cisco or Aruba routers and access points if you need ultra robust connectivity and range.

FAQs and Troubleshooting Tips

Let‘s go over some commonly asked questions and router reboot troubleshooting:

Q: How long should I wait for the router to reboot completely?

A: It takes the average router 2-3 minutes to fully cycle through the reboot process. Wait at least that long before trying to reconnect any devices.

Q: Nothing happens when I press the power button to reboot!

A: If the power button fails, unplug the power cord for 60 seconds to force a reboot. If that still doesn‘t work, the power supply may be defective.

Q: My router doesn‘t have a power button! What should I do?

A: Routers without power buttons usually have a reset pinhole on the back. Push and hold this pinhole for 10 seconds using a straightened paperclip to reboot your router.

Q: Can I just quickly turn the router on and off to reboot it?

A: No! The router needs time to fully complete the shutdown process internally. Quick power cycles can corrupt the reboot process.

Q: I rebooted my router but internet is still slow!

A: While rebooting can provide a temporary speed boost, consistently slow internet points to other issues. Contact your ISP ensure you are provisioned for the speed you pay for. Or upgrade your internet plan if you need more bandwidth.

Q: My router feels hot. Can frequent reboots help?

A: If your router overheats easily, frequent reboots give it a chance to briefly cool off. But overheating routers should be relocated for better ventilation or replaced if defective.

Q: How do I reboot my router remotely while away from home?

A: Use a router app if available for your model. Or connect via VPN into your home network and access your router admin settings remotely to restart it. Some routers also have cloud reboot capabilities.

Best Practices For Rebooting Your Router

Follow these security and performance best practices when rebooting your wireless router:

  • Schedule reboots during low traffic times like early morning when less people are online. Avoid rebooting during work hours or prime time internet usage.

  • Change your WiFi password after rebooting to revoke access to any unauthorized devices that were connected.

  • Make sure your router firmware is updated to the latest version to receive new security patches and fixes. Rebooting checks and installs updates.

  • Back up your router settings in case a factory reset occurs accidentally. You can reimport your custom settings.

  • Turn off remote administrative access like SSH or UPnP in your router admin console when not needed. Limit remote attack surface.

  • Check connected devices list after rebooting and remove any unknown devices connected without your permission.

  • Enable automatic security updates in your router firmware to protect against emerging threats. Prompt updating is crucial.

The Bottom Line

Rebooting your wireless router periodically is crucial to maximize performance and troubleshoot any connectivity problems.

For most home networks, a monthly reboot clears out any glitches, updates firmware, and keeps things running optimally. But don‘t hesitate to reboot more often if needed.

With routers getting overloaded and heat exposure, periodic reboots prevent sluggish speeds and overheating. It only takes a couple minutes to power cycle a router using the steps provided.

Following the tips in this guide will ensure your router reboots properly and safely. Combine reboots with the optimization strategies outlined to take your home network to the next level!


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.