How long does a wireless router last

How Long Does A Wireless Router Last?

Have you ever experienced using a wireless router that wasn’t right for your web surfing needs? Not only does it hamper your productivity, but it could cause some serious to your device. That is why knowing how long this tool lasts is a basic piece of knowledge all users should be aware of.

As consumers, one of the most frustrating situation we could put ourselves in is getting stuck between trading a product in for a newer model and keeping it to maximize its value. Both choices have their respective pros and cons, but this decision is definitely easier said than done, especially if the item is on the expensive side.

In my own day, I’d like to lessen this problem by talking about what the standard lifespan of a wireless router should be. I’ll also be describing some symptoms you need to watch out for that would signal a problem. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be armed with more information before choosing to keep your apparatus or ultimately throwing it in the trash.

Average Lifespan

So, how long does a wireless router last? There is no exact science to deciphering a network device’s exact life duration, but there are several factors that we can consider. The most we can do to answer this question is observe, research, and provide an educated estimate.

I scoured through some online forums to read up on some experts’ opinions and from what I could collate, a wireless router typically lasts from two to five years. Since most models on the market would cost you anywhere from $100 to $200, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal. But, how did they come up with this 3-year window? Here’s what I found out.

router average lifespan

The main reason for upgrading your internet hardware at home isn’t because it’s broken, but to ensure that its major parts are still up-to-date. To keep up with the growing demands of the tech world, manufacturers need to constantly update their system with new technology, and that comes with phasing out parts. As consumers, we need to share in this same principle.

Think about it as maintaining a certain standard and keeping it aligned with the growing trends in the market. Investing in a new router every so often guarantees that both your Internet and components are updated.

Signs To Look Out For

How long does a wireless router last? Well, no one really knows as it depends on the user. However, here are the most common signs that signify an improvement is already needed.

Slow Internet

If you’re paying for a 100Mbps connection and you notice you that you’re only reaching half of that, it could be because your router is outdated. It may no longer be sufficient to carry your internet supplier’s bandwidth requirement.

Slow internet

Check your device and make sure it at least runs at 802.11g. If not, you should seriously consider in a newer and more heavy-duty option. As long as you’re settling for an archaic wireless router, you’ll never be able to reach your contracted speed and you’re essentially just throwing money away. It could also lead to low productivity when you go online.

Constant Disconnections From Devices

Don’t you just hate always having to reconnect your gadget to the internet? Or when you are loading a web page, only to notice that you’re no longer linked to the network? As with the first example, an incompatible router could be the root problem.

disconnected wifi

Older prototypes operate at 2.4GHz, which is the same as a lot of home appliances. Using them all at the same time could cause an interference in the radio signals. It would lead to one or more of these to not work properly.

Additionally, later versions of some gizmos are already running at a higher GHz frequency. This means that it may not be compatible with older routers, resulting in regular disconnections or the inability to sync at all.

Physical Symptoms

A primary physical sign that your router is already asking for a replacement is if it’s warmer than it should be.  After a few minutes of initially plugging it in, you’ll notice that its sides and topside become very hot. You may even observe that it makes very weird and uncharacteristic cracking sounds.

wireless router

These are early warning signs that its motor and processor may end up overheating. Sometimes, the requirement of the internet provider does not match the router’s power capacity, which would force it to expound more energy than it can. If not addressed immediately, it could cause internal damage to its major parts or worse, cause a fire.

If this is currently happening to you, a possible short-term fix would be to place an electric or mini fan beside it. This would act as an external cooling system to help lower the temperature. Try this for a few days and observe if anything positive happens. If not, it may be time to upgrade your router into something more substantial.

Has Limited Coverage

An entry-level wireless router, regardless of brand, usually has a reach of up to 150 feet for indoor areas. A sign that it’s no longer performing well is if the frequency it emits within this range is noticeably weak. Users will notice that need to be right beside the source to receive a strong signal. Otherwise, there’s a constant need for you to refresh pages because it loads incorrectly.

limited coverage

Once this becomes a habitual occurrence, have your machine checked immediately. You can try adding a Wi-Fi extender to fix the problem, but the best long-term solution will still have to be revolutionizing your entire network device.


It is a difficult – sometimes even heartbreaking – decision to change your wireless router. But after four to five years of service, it would be wise to move on and upgrade your system. Once you do, you’ll instantly feel the difference in Internet speed, not to mention connection stability. Upgrading your network will likewise save you a ton of money in repairs and maintenance fees.

That is why knowing how long a wireless router lasts is something we should always know; As with anything in life, it’s important to know when to hang on and when to move on.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I invite you to watch this YouTube video:

About the Author Steven

Here at OnRampWireless, we want users to have a deeper understanding of the internet. Our goal is to encourage people not just to use it but know how it works as well. This begins with knowing the simplest of details first.

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