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Tips for replacing a router


If you’ve noticed your internet service slowing down, your router may be to blame. Fortunately, replacing your router can be a relatively inexpensive way to improve your internet speed. Routers typically need to be upgraded every few years for optimal internet speed and performance. However, you may not know exactly when to replace a router. First, learn how to troubleshoot other potential reasons your internet may not be performing well. Then, if you decide upgrading is the best option, find out how to change from one router to another.

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Should I replace my router?

Your router may not be the reason your internet has been slower. Your internet service plan and other factors can affect speed and performance. Troubleshoot these common issues before choosing to replace your router.

  • If your device is located too far away from your router, you may have internet issues. For larger homes, consider purchasing a WiFi extender to improve your service in all areas of your house.
  • Your router’s placement can also affect your internet performance. Placing your router in an open, accessible space in your home may help improve speed. Make sure your router isn’t blocked by brick or concrete walls.
  • Remember to always set a password on your router. Without good security, your neighbor can piggyback your internet. That can impact your internet connection and it may not be as fast or reliable.
  • Take steps to maximize and improve your WiFi signal in your home.
  • If you still have internet problems, try rebooting your router.

Your internet service can also be a reason for slower speeds. After all, the router itself doesn’t generate speed or bandwidth. If you live in a household that uses multiple devices at the same time, you might need to upgrade your service from your internet service provider to a higher bandwidth to fix slow speeds.

A router sits on a tabletop in a living room.

When to replace a router

If you’ve gone through the steps to troubleshoot your WiFi signal and still aren’t seeing significant improvement, you’ll likely need to upgrade your router. These are the most common reasons your hardware needs to be replaced.

  • If you’ve had the same router for two to five years, replacing your router can improve speed and reliability. Routers improve every year and an outdated router can hold you back. Replace your router at least every five years or every two to three years if your internet service supports many devices.
  • WiFi 6. Routers improve constantly, but the arrival of routers that support WiFi 6 show a significant improvement. If your current router doesn’t support WiFi 6, consider making the change. 

Switching to a new router

Even if your original router was installed by a technician, you’ll be able to change from one router to another on your own. Although all routers are slightly different, these steps will give you a general idea of the process.

  1. Purchase or lease a new router. Select a router or combined router and modem. You can upgrade or replace a new router from your internet service provider.
  2. Place your router. Install your router in a centrally located area of your home. If possible, place your router in a higher position, like a shelf, and avoid potential interference from brick or concrete walls.
  3. Connect to power. Once you’ve plugged in your router and powered it on, the indicator lights should turn on. Lights may blink during the setup process but should show when the router properly turns on.
  4. Activate WiFi. If you’ve chosen a router that is separate from your modem, you’ll need to connect the two using a basic ethernet cable. Follow your router’s instructions on how to access the router’s web interface to connect to WiFi.
  5. Create a new network name. Keeping the default network name can be a security risk as it gives hackers more insight into your network security. Update your wireless security by changing the admin name and password. Create a name that doesn’t include any personal information like names, addresses or birthdays.
  6. Set a strong password. Remember to protect your WiFi signal by creating a strong network password.
  7. Connect devices. To physically connect devices to your router, like a printer or game console, you’ll need an Ethernet cable for each. Once you’ve activated your WiFi, you can connect your devices wirelessly by navigating to the settings of each device, selecting your network name and entering your password.

If you’re having trouble switching to a new router, your internet service provider may have more specific modem and router setup instructions.

A woman sits on the floor next to her couch and types on her laptop.

Final words on replacing your router

Fast and reliable internet is more important than ever, with many households working and learning on the same network. If you aren’t sure why your internet connection has slowed down, troubleshoot the common issues before choosing to replace your router. If you decide that replacing your router is necessary, you’ll be able to switch over to a new router without affecting your internet service. To find out more about routers and internet speed, explore the CenturyLink blog.

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