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Rebooting Your Router: How to do it & why it may help

Rebooting (or restarting) your router, often referred to as power cycling, can be a helpful solution to various common issues related to your home network. There are a few key reasons why someone would want to restart a router.

Firstly, performance issues can be resolved by a simple router restart. Routers are essentially mini-computers running on firmware to manage your internet traffic. Just like your computer or smartphone, a router’s performance can degrade over time due to memory leaks or other issues. Restarting your router can resolve issues like connection drops, slow internet, and difficulty in connecting new devices.

Another important reason is updating firmware. Routers often receive firmware updates from manufacturers, which may include security patches, new features, or performance improvements. Restarting your router allows the new firmware to take effect, ensuring your router is up-to-date and running optimally.

Regularly restarting your router can also be beneficial for enhancing security. A router restart can potentially kick off any unauthorized connections or intruders. This is especially crucial if the router has not been updated for an extended period or if it has known vulnerabilities due to outdated firmware.

There is no harm in restarting your router or modem, and it may be an easy way to fix common networking problems and ensure optimal performance. Remember to give your router a quick restart if you are facing issues with your internet connection or if you have not done so in a while.

Resetting vs. Rebooting (or Restarting)

When it comes to resolving network issues, resetting and restarting your router are two techniques that are often recommended. Although they might appear similar, there are actually some fundamental differences between the two.

  • Rebooting (or restarting) is the simplest and least intrusive method. It involves turning the device off and then back on, either by pressing a power button or unplugging the power cord for a few seconds. This process clears the device’s temporary memory, thus allowing the router or modem to reload its settings and re-establish connections with other devices.
  • Resetting, on the other hand, is a more drastic measure. It involves restoring the device to its factory settings, erasing any custom configurations and returning it to its default state. This is typically achieved by pressing and holding a small reset button on the device for a designated amount of time.

In most situations, restarting your router & modem should be sufficient for resolving minor network issues, such as random disconnections or slow connection speeds. It can often solve problems without impacting your custom settings or configurations.

However, resetting may be necessary in cases where the network issues persist despite multiple restarts, or if you have forgotten your router’s password and are unable to access the administrative dashboard. Keep in mind that resetting the device will require you to reconfigure your settings, such as the WiFi network name and password, which can be time-consuming.

Steps to Restarting Your Router

Step 1: Locate the Router

First, identify where your router is placed in your home or office. Usually, it’s placed near your modem or other networking devices. Make sure you have easy access to the power cable and any buttons on the router.

Step 2: Disconnect the Power Source

Once you have located your router, unplug the power cable from the back of the router or from the wall outlet. To ensure no power is still running through the device, wait for at least 30 seconds before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Reconnect the Power Source

After waiting for 30 seconds, plug the power cable back into the router or the wall outlet. Observe the router’s LED lights as they should start to blink, indicating the device is powering on and going through its startup process.

Step 4: Check Connection Status

The router’s startup process may take a couple of minutes. Once the LED lights indicate a stable connection (usually a solid green or blue light), check your devices to see if they are connected to the internet. If the connection is successful, you have successfully restarted your router.

If you also need to restart your modem, follow the same steps as above, but first ensure you have identified your modem and its power source. Remember not to confuse the router and the modem, as they are separate devices with different functions. When reconnecting the modem, wait for a solid connection light before powering on the router again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will restarting my router improve my internet speed?

Restarting a router and modem can sometimes improve internet speed, especially if it is experiencing any issues or has not been restarted in a while. Router software may need to refresh its connection to the internet service provider, and rebooting might resolve small technical issues and clear up memory. However, a restart may not always guarantee a significant improvement in speed if there are other issues affecting the connection, such as bandwidth limitations or network congestion.

How often should I restart my router?

It is generally recommended to restart your modem and router at least once a month. Regular restarts can help ensure optimal performance, as well as address minor software glitches and memory leaks. However, if you start noticing connectivity issues, slower speeds, or dropped connections, a restart may be helpful even if it has not been a month since the last reboot.

Does unplugging a router reset it?

Unplugging a router for a short period and then plugging it back in can refresh its connection to the internet service provider and resolve minor technical issues. It is similar to a restart in that it could help the router recover from temporary problems. However, simply unplugging the router does not reset its settings to factory defaults. To do this, you would need to perform a factory reset, which typically involves pressing a small button on the device for a specific amount of time. Please consult your router’s documentation or manufacturer for specific instructions on how to perform a factory reset.

About the Authors

Bandwidth Place Team