Would you say you are a stranger to internet service problems? Not likely, given the hundreds of millions of households subscribing to affordable residential cable internet from Spectrum internet customer service. That’s not to mention the many more who subscribe to fiber or satellite internet or even DSL in some parts of the country. Regardless, most internet subscribers have experienced one form of internet downtime or another. In many cases, simply rebooting your modem and router seems to miraculously cure the problem and restore service. But why does this happen? How often should you reset your equipment for it to remain problem-free? Read on to find out.
How Your Router and Modem Develop Problems
While you may often forget it, your modem and router are actually computers. Yes, they don’t look anything like the laptops or desktops we commonly refer to as computers. But they operate over the same principle as the conventional definition of a computer. They both have central processing units, memory access, and local storage space. And like any computer, your router and modem can sometimes encounter some problems that affect functioning.
These can be any number of problems, also known as bugs. The most common problem is when your router or modem begins to overheat as a result of extended functioning or a faulty power supply. Modems and routers may also develop memory leaks if used for too long continuously. But luckily, like most computers, the solution can often be as simple as just rebooting your internet equipment.
How Frequently You Should Reboot Internet
There is no exact formula as to how many times you should reboot your modem and router. Generally, it is good practice to reboot your modem and router at least once every two months. If you’re experiencing more internet downtime, then you may have to reboot your equipment more often. The same applies to when you’re using outdated routers. There are also several other very good reasons to reboot your internet equipment. These follow in the sections below.
Your Connection Is Inexplicably Slow
As dependent as we are on the internet for just about everything, we have come to expect high speeds at all times. In an ideal world, we’d never have slow internet speeds, which can often seem much worse than no speeds at all. Unfortunately, given the limitations of even our fairly advanced internet infrastructure, this is not always the case. Sometimes, however, fixing a slow connection can be as simple as rebooting your internet router and modem.
The reason why is based on how internet providers operate. With your wireless home network, each connected device on the network is assigned a temporary IP address by your internet provider. Internet providers can frequently change these temporary IP addresses, and if your router fails to reflect the change, you can experience problems. This can often result in either very slow internet speeds or even none at all. Frequently resetting your router causes it to recognize the changed IP addresses, and resume a fast and bug-free connection once again.
Your Firmware is Out of Date
Many computers and programs encounter bugs when they become out of date. The same is true for the computers we call a modem and a router. Of course, internet equipment is governed by a different type of software, called firmware, that is designed to be resistant to tampering, at least by the average internet user. However, even firmware requires frequent updates, especially given the fact that the internet hardware industry is constantly seeking to maximize performance. Manufacturers and developers frequently release updates. A firmware update can bring your router’s capacity up to speed and will usually require a reboot to install itself on your hardware. When you have automatic updates enabled on your computer, you should make sure you reboot your modem and router after each update.
Your Router May Have Been Targeted by Hackers
While not as frequent, security concerns are another good reason to frequently restart your router, in addition to resolving IP conflicts or updating firmware. In 2018, the VPNFilter botnet malware hit thousands of home networks across the world. This was one of the biggest malware attacks in this half of the decade, and I remember coming across it on nearly every news channel in my extensive Spectrum TV lineup. Allegedly of Russian origin, the discovery of the malware prompted the FBI to take point and encouraged residential subscribers to reboot their internet equipment to disrupt the botnet from using their network. The FBI and other cybersecurity experts further recommended users to frequently update their firmware, firewalls, and antivirus software, restarting their router with each update.