Can A Wi-Fi Router Go Bad? Your Connection’s Lifespan

You might be having trouble with your trusty router, so you start thinking, “Can a Wi-Fi router go bad?” This is a common problem, and there are many aspects you must consider when it comes to your Wi-Fi router and its connection.

This article will explore how age affects the Wi-Fi router, so you know what signs to look out for in your router and how to choose the best replacement. 

The internet is rapidly growing and becoming more vital, so here is a detailed answer to help keep your connection;

Can A Wi-Fi Router Go Bad?

Your Wi-Fi router can go bad if you use it for long enough without changing it. Technology evolves rapidly, so constant changes in hardware and software requirements could make your router obsolete. 

Additionally, the internal components of the router will age with time, and it can lead to the router losing connections or stopping. Depending on the router’s quality, this can happen in around 4 or 5 years.

How Long Do Routers Last?

Routers are exciting technology, but most people don’t think about them. They are background technology that comes to our minds only when they aren’t working, and we forget they exist the rest of the time.

There are many types of routers depending on your Service provider. Some are standalone devices, while others are connected to a modem. 

You can get a personal router and subscribe to a provider of your choice, but you need to understand the device’s lifespan, whichever the case.

Several factors will play a role in the lifespan, and a responsible internet user must understand these factors. 

  • The first one is the build quality, and one of the best ways to know this is how much you bought the router for. 
  • Low-end, cheap routers have poor-quality compartments that will wear out faster than a more expensive option. Get a router from a reputable company or good internet service provider to ensure maximum time.
  • Routers generate heat when used, and their thermal handling capability is another crucial factor in how long a router lasts. Routers primarily run on passive cooling, which means they have vents, and air passes through them to help with cooling. 
  • This means that your router’s cooling will depend on where you put it and the air currents around it. This issue is because most people stuff routers behind TVs or cupboards to protect their decor and deny them the unrestricted air movement they need to cool down. 
  • These spaces also have dust that clogs the vents and covers components, preventing proper cooling and reducing lifespan. 
  • The ventilation issue means that the installation location also has a crucial role in how long the router last. The best locations should have free air flow, minimal humidity, and clean, dust-free surroundings. 
  • It also shouldn’t be an area with too much traffic where people can accidentally hit the router and cause physical damage. 
  • The user patterns also determine how long a router will last. If the router is used often and with many devices, it will heat up more and last for a shorter period. Get a powerful router designed for it if you need a connection for many devices.

With the current technology and average user patterns, a router has a lifespan of about 5 years, which is pretty decent. Upgrading after half a decade ensures you have high-speed connections and easy compatibility with all new devices.

You can get significantly more time with your router if you properly maintain it and turn it off when you aren’t using it. 

Eventually, you will have to confront the issue of the router having outdated technology and replace it, but that will take time. If the router starts malfunctioning, you will want to repair specific components to keep using it, but this isn’t the best move.

The components will have mismatches that will worsen the problem, or they will work, and other elements will fail soon after. 

It is easier and less stressful to just replace the router when the five-year mark comes so you can run your home or business without worrying about connectivity.

Signs Your Router Is Getting Old and Needs A Replacement

Many warning signs will tell you when to get a new router, and you need to know all of them. Some of these will be connectivity issues with the settings or network, so don’t worry about them if the router is still new.

When the router ages, however, and gets to more than 5 years, a combination of the following signs will indicate that you need to replace your router.

1. Slow Speeds on Stable Networks

You understand how fast your internet is on a regular day, so a gradual or sudden drop in speed could be a red flag. 

You will notice slower speeds with a specific router even if there aren’t network changes, and your downloads, Movies, and Video calls will start lagging.

There could be several reasons for this, so you must troubleshoot all possible problems before changing your router. 

The first potential issue is that too many devices could be connected to your router, and the bandwidth can’t support all of them.

Disconnect some devices and test the speed to see if you improve speed with just one device connected. If the speed is still low, connect your computer directly to the modem with an Ethernet connection, then run a speed test.

This will help you see if there is a problem with the primary connection rather than your router. If the speed is still slow, your router is fine, and you should call your service provider. If the speed is normal, you must look into your Wi-Fi system.

Check for updates and restore default settings to ensure the problem isn’t with the software. Some outdated drivers could cause slower speeds, so a full system update will help resolve the issue.

If all of the above solutions don’t fix your internet speed then it might be time for you to buy a new router.

2. Getting A Weak Connection

Sometimes, you will have a weak connection with your devices and must constantly reconnect for it to work. One potential cause could be that the devices are too far from the router, so they can’t support a stable connection at that distance.

This is especially a concern if there are several walls or big items between you and the router, such as fridges. Try to boost the signal strength in the router settings and move next to the router then see if the connection will improve.

If the distance and barriers around the house are not the cause of your weak connection, then it could be caused by the router.

3. Parts of The Router Malfunctioning

Sometimes, there will be elements of your Wi-Fi system that don’t work like they used to. Maybe some buttons are not responding, or indicator lights have stayed permanently off. Ports could also stop working or start malfunctioning.

These are signs that your router has run its life cycle, and it is time to look into buying a new one to replace it. This is especially true if you haven’t dropped or done anything that could damage the router.

4. Trouble Connecting To Newer Devices

Devices come with new chips and internal hardware as technology advances. These newer devices have software designed to be compatible with the latest Wi-Fi systems, and most manufacturers won’t account for systems launched half a decade ago.

A network could be exemplary, but it has issues connecting with an old device because the network card has problems or is outdated. Similarly, an old router might be incompatible with newer devices such as Phones, TVs, and Computers.

Newer devices will also put more work on your router since they need more bandwidth and speed. Connectivity with new devices can be an excellent way to tell if you need a new router.

5. Overheating 

A router will inevitably get warm when you use it, especially if several devices are connected. If your router overheats, it is another problem, and you need to move it to a well-ventilated area and see if it will improve the situation.

If nothing changes and the router gets too hot, it will further damage its internal components. This will lead to a self-destructive sequence that will force you to upgrade. 


So, can a Wi-Fi router go bad? You now understand how the life cycle of a router runs and you get that it can go wrong after several years. 

Routers are electronic devices, so their internal parts have an expiration date, and when the time comes, they will start malfunctioning, which limits the router.

These limitations will manifest as a lack of connectivity, slow internet speeds, or unresponsive components. There can be more than one course for most issues with routers. Troubleshoot all possible problems, and if they can’t be fixed, you know it is time to get a new router. 

David Huner
David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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