There is no specific length of time a router will last; your router doesn’t have an expiry date. However, it is generally accepted that a standard Wi-Fi router will last between five and ten years.
As with all technology, numerous factors affect the lifespan of a router, such as how well it is looked after and maintained, where it is kept, its workload, and more.
Another mitigating factor is age itself and whether your router works with the latest Wi-Fi standards used by your other devices. It’s no use buying the latest and greatest laptop with Wi-Fi 6E technology if your Wi-Fi router is stuck using Wi-Fi 5. It simply won’t be able to deliver the Wi-Fi speeds you expect.
In addition, age itself typically means dirt and dust. You can have a perfectly clean house (or other local environment), but over the years, dust will find its way into your router and begin slowly degrading your router hardware. Unlike most other computer hardware, a Wi-Fi router isn’t on most folks’ “take apart and spring clean” list.
Should You Upgrade Your Router When New Wi-Fi Standards Launch?
In a word, no. At least, not immediately, and there are a few reasons for this.
First, when a new Wi-Fi standard launches, it takes years for it to reach production. For example, Wi-Fi 6E launched in 2020, but it took until 2022 for most manufacturers (routers and other hardware) to start using the standard. When Wi-Fi 7 launches (expected 2024), it’ll take at least one year for devices to start using the new standard, so there isn’t an automatic rush to upgrade.
But there are some other reasons you’ll want to upgrade your router.
- Network Performance: A newer router should deliver greater network performance across the board. It’s not just the potential to use a new Wi-Fi standard; all the hardware in your new router will be upgraded and deliver better Wi-Fi, process data faster, handle more devices, and so on.
- Security: Newer routers often come with improved security features and better network management tools. If your current router is outdated in these areas, upgrading can provide both performance and security benefits. For example, a new router will likely support WPA3, the latest Wi-Fi security standard.
- Reliability: New routers are often more reliable and less prone to issues like random disconnections or the need for frequent restarts. When your old Wi-Fi router can’t maintain a proper connection, upgrading to a new router will feel like stepping into the future.
- Compatibility: Your old router might not have what it takes to handle gigabit Ethernet, which will limit your Wi-Fi speeds.
- Future Proofing: As stated, Wi-Fi standards take a while to filter through, and that applies to your devices, too. Upgrading an old router will protect against future changes for many years to come, especially given how long a router lasts.
Even though routers last for up to ten years, there are some good reasons why you should upgrade your router in the interim. Just be sure to consider your current and future needs before ditching your old router.
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Published with consideration from MUO SOURCE