When to Upgrade Your Old Wireless Router

When to Replace Your Wireless Router

If you’re like me, you may be a bit apprehensive about dishing out the extra cash on a new piece of technology. You tell yourself that something works just fine, while everybody tells you otherwise. There comes a time however, when the signs you need to upgrade can’t be ignored any longer. This is especially true in wireless networking. According to Network World Advisory, the average life expectancy of wireless hardware is roughly three to five years. We’ve assembled a few of the tell tale signs that it’s time to kiss that dusty old router goodbye.

Routers tend to be taken for granted a majority of the time. The only time people seem to give them the time of day is when there’s a significant malfunction. Even then, it’s unlikely that an upgrade would be considered. If you’re experiencing frequent symptoms of an under powered router or can’t get a WI-Fi signal everywhere in your home/office, it might be time to consider an upgrade. Other indicators include network-related congestion issues, such as slow webpage loading, and stuttering video playback. ISP provided routers are often prone for trouble. Chances are if your internet service provider supplied you with their own router, chances are it won’t be able to meet all your needs.

Over time, heat can damage the internal components, which could explain symptoms like intermittent outages or slow performance. Consider pointing a small fan at your router, or moving it somewhere there’s good airflow to see if that improves the situation. If you’re current router doesn’t support the 802.11ac standard, you should definitely look into upgrade your router. If your current router tops out at 802.11g or 802.11n, you won’t be getting the speed and range that you should be. Furthermore, if your wireless router doesn’t offer dual-band wireless, it could be possible that some of your other wireless home appliances are running on the same 2.4 GHz wireless band as your router, resulting in major interference.

Life expectancy of network gear in years

All-in-one security appliances 3.5 IP telephones 4.5
Backbone routers 5.0 Macintosh desktops 3.5
Branch-office routers 4.0 Macintosh laptops 2.5
Campus wiring 9.5 Mainframes 8.5
Cell phones 2.0 Minicomputers 7.0
Chassis-based network switches 4.5 NAS devices 4.0
Departmental copiers 4.0 Office multifunction printers 3.5
Desktop monitors 4.0 PBXs 8.5
Desktop printers 3.5 PDAs 2.0
Digital telephones 6.0 Room videoconferencing systems 5.0
Enterprise high-volume copiers 4.0 SAN switches 3.0
Enterprise storage arrays 5.0 Stackable network switches 4.5
Firewalls 3.5 Uninterruptible power supplies 6.0
Intel-architecture desktops 3.5 VPN solutions 3.0
Intel-architecture laptops 2.5 Wi-Fi net-access points 3.0
Intel-architecture servers 4.0 Wi-Fi switches 3.0
Intrusion-prevention systems 3.5 Windows for desktops 3.0
IP PBXs 6.5 Windows for servers 3.5

 

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Doug Atkinson

President at Solutions Review
An entrepreneur and executive with a passion for enterprise technology, Doug founded Solutions Review in 2012. He has previously served as a newspaper boy, a McDonald's grill cook, a bartender, a political consultant, a web developer, the VP of Sales for e-Dialog - a digital marketing agency - and as Special Assistant to Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.
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