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Is My Router Bad/Broken? How To Tell if You Need a New Router

A guide for finding out if your router is permanently broken or not.

WiFi Connected But No Internet on Android Compare Fibre / Unsplash

Last Updated: January 5, 2023

Written by Brandon Jones

Routers are just like all other electronics; they are prone to perform slower or break over time. In this article, I discuss the signs of a bad router, along with possible ways to fix your router issues.

Signs of a Bad Router

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If your internet connection is cutting out, slowing down, or not working entirely, then these can be a sign that your router is going bad or already dead.

Let's troubleshoot the possible causes and symptoms to find out if it just needs fixing or if it's completely dead.

Check out the Things to Try Before Buying a New Router section below to make sure the router can't be fixed.

Hardware Failure

Consumer routers often fail after a few years due to:

  • Faulty hardware caused by poor manufacturing or degrading materials.
  • Router got too hot over a long period.

Incompatible Firmware

Old firmware or no new updates available from the manufacturer can cause incompatibility with newer products.

Internet Is Slow or Cutting Out

If you have consistent connection issues or slow internet speeds, this could be a side effect of a router going bad.

Indicator Lights All Off or in Error State

Your router has indicator lights which are usually on the front or top of your device.

These lights can tell you if your router is having any issues.

If all of the indicator lights are off, this could mean that the device has suffered a hardware failure.

To determine possible indicator light error states, you will have to refer to your router's manual.

Things to Try Before Buying a New Router

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  • Restart your router.
  • Restart your client device (e.g., phone, tablet, streaming device, or laptop).
  • Upgrade the router firmware.
  • Move the router to a colder area with more air circulation around it.
  • For poor Wi-Fi connections, try moving your device closer to the router, avoiding obstacles which may block the signal, and maximizing distance from other Wi-Fi routers.
  • Follow the Ultimate Cable Internet Troubleshooting Guide - This guide shows you how to troubleshoot cable Internet problems.
  • Follow the Ultimate Cable Internet Wiring Guide - This guide shows you how to wire cable Internet for your home or office.

If you've tried all of those troubleshooting steps, then your router is likely bad or outdated and needs replacing.

Check out our recommended router below: