Your router works hard. It’s a full-time job to broadcast your WiFi signal over radio waves, route data to devices, and support your internet-connected gadgets. Just like any other piece of technology, like your smartphone or laptop, your router (and WiFi connection) can benefit from a regular reboot. Let’s talk about why you should restart your router and how to do it.

Your router is a computer

Like other devices, your router has a central processor, operating system, and memory. When you restart the router, it clears out its short-term memory or cache. It also resets the connections to your devices. Once your router is back up and running, it re-routes data traffic on the least-crowded frequency (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz). The whole process can result in smoother performance from your router and a stronger connection to your devices.

Routers vs. modems

When it comes to the devices that keep you connected, we should define a few terms to keep everyone on the same page. The words “modem” and “router” are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.

Your modem is the device that connects you to your internet service. This is the piece of equipment that plugs into the jack in your home.

Your router is what broadcasts your internet signal wirelessly. It connects to your modem and then emits radio waves. Your connected devices then pick up those radio waves to get online wirelessly.

Sometimes, your modem and router may be combined in a single device called a gateway. Your Quantum Fiber C4000 modem is technically a gateway since it includes both a router and modem.

A couple enjoys the internet via WiFi in their living room.

Router health

To keep your router healthy and functioning as it should, treat it like you do other computing devices. As operating systems and firmware become obsolete, plan on replacing your router approximately every three to five years. Using the most up-to-date equipment will help keep your WiFi strong.

In the meantime, be sure to keep the firmware updated. Fortunately, updates typically run automatically. But if you notice laggy performance, you can use your admin settings to check for updates. Also, be sure to keep your router in a well-circulated area, away from heat sources, to prevent overheating. For the best WiFi signal, set it up on an uncrowded bookshelf or counter.

How often should you restart your router?

First things first: rebooting your router never hurts, so you can’t do it too often. But how often you should do it really depends on the age and health of your router. Healthy routers benefit from a restart every few months (or as needed). If your router is a little older or you’ve had trouble with your internet connection, you may want to reboot it weekly or even daily. Let’s go over a few ways to restart your router.

3 ways to restart your router

The manual reboot

You can do a manual reboot by simply unplugging your router. Just pull the power cord from the outlet (preferred) or from the power port on the back of your router. Wait one minute before you plug it back in. Your router should restart and be up and running within another minute or two.

It is essential to give your router a whole minute of rest after you’ve unplugged it. This allows the router to fully cycle down and purge the cache. If you try to plug it back in too soon, you may experience the same slow or spotty network.

Use the app

These days, you can reboot your router via an app. (Isn’t technology amazing?) With the Quantum Fiber app, you can instantly and conveniently do a restart right from your smartphone, and from anywhere in your home.

Create a schedule with outlet timers or smart plugs

If you want to create a regular reboot schedule for your router, use a tool like an outlet timer or smart plug. An outlet timer is a simple way to schedule a router reboot. The older, non-digital models are usually low-wattage and can manage a router just fine. But you can also get a more advanced version, like one that has 850 to 1800 watts. This type of outlet timer can manage not only your router but also your smart home hub and other devices you want to restart routinely.

You could also use a smart plug. These IoT devices can be paired with a smartphone, and you can create a custom schedule for your reboot plan. It’s easy to modify your timetable or adjust it if something comes up, too.

A father and daughter watch a kid's show on a tablet together.

When a reboot isn’t enough

There’s nothing more frustrating than frequent issues with your internet connection. It’s part of why we built Quantum Fiber on a 100% fiber-optic network in the first place. We wanted to offer 99.9% reliability* to our customers. But sometimes, hardware like your router can really impact your internet experience.

Suppose you consistently have internet connectivity problems or need to restart the router multiple times a day. In that case, it may be time to try something else. Your router may have more significant problems, like obsolete firmware, faulty hardware, or equipment that’s just too old to keep up with the internet speeds of tomorrow. If so, a reboot won’t help. Here are some other things to try:

  • A full router reset. That means returning your router to its original factory settings, which might help with performance.
  • Boost your WiFi connection with a mesh WiFi network, like Quantum Fiber 360 WiFi. You may be experiencing weaker coverage in areas of your home that are further away from your router. Mesh WiFi can blanket your entire home with a more consistent signal so you can enjoy the internet seamlessly.

Give your router some love

If you haven’t rebooted your router in a while, we hope you’ll give it a fresh start today. Rebooting can help improve your internet experience and help keep your router healthy and functioning the way it should. For more on optimizing your internet, check out:

Your life is unlimited. Your internet should be too. 

When you need a connected world that actually works, try fiber-optic internet. Quantum Fiber lets you say “goodbye loading symbol” and “hello, Gigspeed,” with fewer slowdowns on a 99.9% reliable* network.

Get tomorrow’s speed today

*Based on network uptime or availability