Along with electricity, these days an internet connection is on the hierarchy of needs for most human beings. It seems we do everything via the internet – from working and checking email to streaming music and movies and controlling smart home devices like security systems and thermostats. The internet is also an essential tool for folks who need to remain connected on the go.
So just like electricity, when the internet goes out, life can become really inconvenient. It’s especially problematic when an expensive piece of equipment like a router is the issue. To keep your internet up and running smoothly, it’s helpful to understand what can go wrong with your router, how to take care of it, and how to get router protection should your equipment go on the fritz.
Spotting Common Router Problems
If your internet is suddenly slow or unresponsive, how do you know if it’s your computer or tablet or your router? Here are some common indications that your router may be experiencing trouble.
Total Disconnection. The most obvious symptom of a router issue is a complete inability to connect to the internet. Try resetting your devices if you’re having this issue; if that doesn’t work, then your router may be to blame.
Slow Internet. When your internet slows to a crawl, it’s a huge inconvenience. Sometimes this is due to high traffic causing network overload, but it can also be a sign that your router is on its last legs. One way to troubleshoot this is to plug your computer directly into the router. If your connection speeds up, reduced bandwidth was likely the issue. If not, your router may be the problem.
Dark Indicator Lights. Wi-Fi routers have an array of lights that should be illuminated and blinking intermittently when they are working properly. If these lights aren’t illuminated – even if you’re still able to connect to the internet – this is a sign of router trouble.
Router Protection and Care
No electronic device is perfect and all of them are vulnerable to issues. Wi-Fi routers are the oft-forgotten pieces of equipment in the electronics world – usually set up and shoved in a cabinet or under a desk and forgotten until they malfunction. However, there are some things you can do to keep your internet router in better shape.
Keep It Cool. If you’ve got your Wi-Fi router placed where it receives direct sun or jammed in a cabinet amidst lots of other equipment, you may want to consider moving it. Routers generate quite a bit of heat by themselves; combine this with sunlight, other heat-creating devices, and little airflow and it may cause component failures.
Get Out the Canned Air. Electronics hate dirt. It gets into components and clogs airflow. If your router is starting to gather a healthy layer, consider giving its surfaces and vents a once-over with a can of air (or a very lightly dampened cloth). Use a Surge Protector. Like all of your valuable electronic devices, it’s important to protect routers from power surges. From power spikes to thunderstorms, it only takes a few seconds for your router to get fried – leaving you without an internet connection.
Get a Router Protection Plan. No matter how well you take care of your router, issues can always arise. So along with careful router positioning, cleaning, and upkeep, a router protection plan will ensure that should something go wrong, you’re covered for a replacement. The router protection plan for GotW3 routers, for example, offers coverage for $4.99 a month. Customers can obtain a full router replacement (available via quick same-day shipping) by filling out a claim form online.
By understanding how to take care of your router, learning the signs that indicate it may be having problems, and obtaining an excellent router protection plan, you’ll ensure that your internet stays up and running without a hitch.