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Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes Many Issues

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes Many Issues

You cannot connect to the internet, but you know what to do: unplug your router or modem, wait 10 seconds, and reconnect it. At this point, it’s like second nature, but can you explain why it truly works? And does the number ten seconds hold any special significance?

And a much more important question: do you know of any method to stop doing this?

It’s easy to get the impression that routers are mysterious, but they’re not. In most cases, the issue may be fixed once the root cause of the problem has been identified.

Your Router Is a Computer

Although you probably don’t think of it that way, your router is a computer. A central processing unit (CPU), memory, and local storage are all housed inside that plastic box and are all running an operating system. And just like with a computer, there is always the possibility that anything could go wrong. 

It’s possible that a flaw is the cause of a memory leak, that the central processing unit is overheating, or that a full-blown kernel panic has brought the whole system to a halt.

What is the quickest and easiest way to resolve issues of this nature using a computer? Activating and deactivating it again and again.

It is the same with your router: every reason why restarting a computer can solve difficulties applies here as well. In the same way, as with your computer, you are not fixing whatever is causing the router to crash, but you are enabling it to function normally once more.

Although this does not resolve the underlying issues, it does, in most cases, help to alleviate the immediate difficulties.

10 Seconds Waiting Time

This explains why disconnecting the device is helpful, but why is it necessary to do it for ten or thirty seconds? Have you ever unplugged a machine only to notice that the power indicator light continued to glow for a few seconds after you removed the plug? There is a reason for that, which is tied to the answer we provide here.

Capacitors are little batteries used extensively throughout most electronic devices. If you’ve ever disassembled a computer or other electronic device, you’ve seen these before.

They cannot store a significant amount of energy, but occasionally they will have just enough to keep a memory chip operating for a few seconds. A delay of ten seconds guarantees that every capacitor will be completely drained, and as a result, every bit of memory will be erased. This will ensure that settings on your router are reset, including anything that may have been the initial cause of the crash.

As has been established, there are a variety of scenarios in which it may be necessary to reset your router. Because a 10-second discharge is not required to fix each of these issues, some issues can be tackled immediately rather than waiting. However, the 10-second wait could mean the difference between success and failure in resolving the problem if you are looking into a new topic.

Why Do Routers Fail?

Like any other piece of gear, your router is susceptible to crashing for a wide variety of causes, and in such cases, you will need to restart it. Here are a few of the possible explanations:

  • Common accidents. Your router can crash like a computer if there are bugs in the firmware that use up too much memory or cause a kernel panic.
  • IP conflict. Sometimes your router screws up private and public IP addresses. If two devices on your network share the same IP address or your router’s public IP address is out-of-date, your connection may break. Restarting the router resets IP allocations, restoring functionality.
  • Overheating. Your router can crash like any other computer if it gets too hot, which is more likely to happen if you hide it in a small space.

There are other possibilities, but these are the ones that come up the most frequently. And there are a few remedies that aren’t too complicated to deal with.

Update Firmware

The most common cure is installing new software when your computer has problems that won’t go away. The same is true for your router; it, too, needs to be kept up to date.

We have previously provided instructions on updating your router so that we won’t go through those again here. However, the procedure is more straightforward than you may believe: in most cases, all you need to do is launch your web browser, enter the IP address of your router, and look for the Update button.

An upgrade to your router’s firmware should assume a documented cause and be able to fix the problem if your router keeps crashing. Try your hand at it.

In addition, if the manufacturer is no longer releasing updates for your router, you should consider purchasing a new one.

Check for Overheating

Overheating can cause computers to fail; the same can happen to your network. If it feels hot when you disconnect it, consider finding a solution for the heat.

As is the case with your computer, if your router has vents, you should ensure that they are not blocked. If there is a lot of dust inside your router, try cleaning it with some compressed air.

It is also a good idea to ensure that your router is exposed to the air and not hidden away in a cramped cabinet with many other electronic devices. I know that routers are unsightly, but they must be placed in plain view to function correctly. Not only will this aid in the control of heat, but it will also improve the signal range.

Temporarily Reboot your Router

Meanwhile, while attempting to figure out the issue, you can alleviate some of your concerns around restarting by setting a timetable for your router to renew itself. If all goes well, this should reduce the number of times you have to do it manually.

You have a few choices available to you here. Connect your router to a regular outlet timer, which will turn off the power at the time you choose and then turn it back on again at the time you choose. To keep things moving, you can keep things going by setting the router to reboot once or twice a day.

You may achieve the same result by configuring your router to execute a script that will periodically reboot it. This requires a higher level of technical expertise on your part.

Again, this is not a solution, but it is an excellent hacky workaround that will prevent you from manually rebooting it all the time, at least until you discover a real solution. Again, this is not a solution.

Replace Your Router

If none of these solutions work, it might be time to eliminate the bullet and invest in a new router. Similar to a computer that refuses to stop having issues, there are times when the only option is to move on. 

You will be able to eliminate from your life a piece of hardware that is prone to breaking, and in exchange, you will gain access to a wide variety of new capabilities. If you’re using anything a little bit older, you’ll surely get your money’s worth by changing to something more current regardless, given how far wireless technology has progressed in the past few years.

In addition, you won’t have to perform the traditional unplug-wait-replug motion any longer.


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Hi! I'm Sofia, a Tourism and Hospitality Management graduate. I am currently the Senior Editor at ManilaShaker. I write current news events and respond to your technology-related FAQs.

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