Can An Old Router Cause Slow Internet?- Easily Explained In 2023

Are you tired of slow internet but can not figure out whether it’s the old router or your ISP causing the issue? 

If so then you are in the right place. Because as a network professional I am going to answer your queries. So, can an old router cause slow internet? 

The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. But it’s possible that an old router might cause slow internet because of its old wifi standard and wifi version. However, it’s not as simple as this and it needs a bit of an explanation. 

So, in this article, I am going to explain can an old router cause slow internet, How to test router performance,  how often should you replace your wireless router, and all the related queries. So, stick here till the end.   

Can An Old Router Cause Slow Internet?

Yes, an old router might cause slow internet. It’s because old routers tend to have an old wifi version and wifi standard. 

Though internet speed completely depends on the bandwidth that comes with your internet package. So, if you get a 100Mbps internet plan then your maximum bandwidth will be 100Mbps. Routers have little or no effect on increasing the speed. 

However, routers do have a lot of effects on the entire performance of your router. So, an older router can use old wifi standards and versions which might cause slow internet. Because old routers have older wifi standards like 802.11b which can not cope up with the modern speed. 

Moreover, old routers only had a 2.4GHz band with an 802.11a/b/g  standard which might be good for covering a large area. But they do not have good speed and routers can only provide the speed it supports. 

For example, if an old router has a maximum 150Mbps speed capability and you have a 400 Mbps plan then your router will only be able to provide 150Mbps speed at max. 

Lastly, old routers tend to have wifi 4 or wifi 5 technology whereas most modern devices are wifi 6 capable. So, old routers might have a hard time coping with these new performance-hungry devices.  As a result, your network performance slows down causing slow internet speed. 

Now, let’s find out whether wifi routers lose strength over time average life of a wireless router or not. 

Do Wifi Routers Lose Strength Over Time?

Yes,  wifi routers lose strength over time. However, it’s not only because your router’s performance decreases. But also your router gets outdated. Here are some reason other reasons why routers lose strength over time 

  1. Routers tend to heat a lot in high-performance situations and heat can cause significant damage to your router’s internal components. As a result, your router will go slow over time. 
  2. All the routers have some sort of firmware. But router companies provide support only for 1 or 2 years. As a result, old firmware routers can not keep up with the new devices and become outdated. 
  3. All the routers have RAM and CPU to provide device support. However, newer wireless devices take a big chunk of the router’s CPU and RAM. So, old routers struggle to cope with newer devices.  
  4. All the routers have fixed standards and wifi versions. But with time the wifi versions get updated. As a result, old routers become outdated. 
  5. The router’s signal will start to degrade. This is because the radio waves are constantly being absorbed and scattered by objects in your home. Eventually, the router’s signal will become too weak to be usable.

That’s why wifi routers lose strength over time. But what should be the average lifespan of a router? 

What Is The Average Life Of A Wireless Router? 

Normally, the average life of a wireless router is about 3-4 years. However, this can vary depending on the quality of the router and the surrounding environment. 

Wi-Fi routers come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy a router for a few dollars at a discount store, or spend hundreds of dollars on a top-of-the-line router designed for gamers or businesses. But no matter what the price, all wireless routers will eventually lose their strength and need to be replaced.

Though the average life of a wireless router is about 3-4 years, this can vary depending on the router’s make and model. Moreover, modern technology is evolving faster than ever before. So, wireless technology is evolving to cope. 

As a result, the lifespan of a router is also decreasing day by day. However, to help your router last as long as possible, try to keep it in an open area with few obstructions and be sure to regularly update the router’s firmware to ensure optimal performance.

But how do you know your router’s performance has decreased?

How To Test Router Performance? 

Testing a router’s performance can get a little complicated if you do it manually. But as a consumer, you don’t need to do it. So, I am providing some easy ways to test your router’s performance below. 

1. Speed Test

The easiest way to test your network speed is using a speed test website. Though most of them do not provide accurate results. However, some do provide close to natural results. One such website is Ookla.  

With Ookla speed test you can view your download and upload speed along with latency. Though it’s not completely accurate. However, you will have a close idea. 

Firstly, test using the wifi network. Then use a device that is connected to the internet via ethernet. You will find a difference in both results. If the difference is significantly large then your router has an issue. 

2. Connectivity Test  

The device connectivity test is another test you can do quite easily. Every device has some sort of device limit. Because routers have limited RAM and CPU capability. But with time the capability also decreases. 

So, connect all the devices of your house at the same time and find out if your router can support all the devices or not. If it fails then it might be the time to change your router.

3. Range Test 

The range of routers also decreases with time. So, if your router could be used to cover your whole house but now it can’t then It might be the time to change your router. ‘

If you test all of these and find negative results in all the tests then you should change your router.

Now let’s find out how often should you replace your wireless router

How Often Should You Replace Your Wireless Router? 

It is recommended that you replace your wireless router every two to three years. However, how often your router needs to be replaced depends on a variety of factors, including the age of your router, the number of devices connected to it, and how often you use it.

Wireless routers are typically good for about three to four years, but that can vary depending on the router’s quality and how often it’s used. If you have a lot of devices connected to your router, or if you use it frequently, it might need to be replaced more often. This is because wireless routers tend to become outdated as technology advances. 

Wireless routers are one of the most important pieces of technology in your home. As routers are responsible for connecting all of your devices to the internet. So it’s important to have a router that’s working properly.

Moreover, if your router is not functioning properly, it can cause connectivity problems for your devices.

In case your router is more than two or three years old, it may not be able to support the latest devices and technology. Furthermore, older routers may not be as secure as newer routers, making them more vulnerable to attacks.

If you’re not sure whether or not you need to replace your router, you can check the device’s firmware version. If the firmware is out of date, you should replace your router. 

If you are looking forward to purchasing a new router then check our article on best router for fast internet. 

Now that we have found out routers might cause issues when they get old. But what about modems? 

Can An Old Modem Cause Slow Internet?

Yes, modems typically have a limited lifespan and can start to slow down over time. There are many potential culprits when it comes to slow internet speeds, from outdated equipment to congested networks. But one common factor that is often overlooked is the modem.

Modems are the devices that connect your home to the internet, and if they are outdated or not working properly, it can cause speeds to slow down. In some cases, you may even need to upgrade your modem to get the speeds you are paying for.

If you are experiencing slow speeds, it is a good idea to check your modem first and see if it is the root of the problem. You can do this by checking the manufacturer’s website to see what model you are using and whether or not it is up to date. If it is not, you may need to upgrade in order to get the speeds you are expecting.

Moreover, your old modem may not be compatible with your current service plan. This is especially true if you are using an outdated model. 

Furthermore, the old modem may not be able to support the latest security features and could leave your device and information vulnerable to attack. So, if you’re experiencing slow internet speeds, consider upgrading your modem to a newer model.

What Determines Internet Speed Modem Or Router? 

Actually, a modem or router does not determine internet speed. Yes, they have a significant influence over your network speed, and with an old router and modem, your internet speed can go down. But they do not determine your internet speed. So, what does? 

Your internet speed is completely determined by the bandwidth you are getting with your internet plan.  For example, if you get an internet plan with 400 Mbps bandwidth, your max internet speed will be 400 Mbps. No matter how good a router or modem you use it can not increase your internet speed by over 400 Mbps. 

However, as older routers and modems can not cope up with modern devices and internet protocols. So, an older wifi router or modem can significantly decrease your internet speed.  

Moreover, there are some other factors like data transfer technology and network centralizers that help to determine if you will get the complete bandwidth with your plan or not. 

In Conclusion  

I hope my explanation on can an old router cause slow internet has helped you with your quest. If you have any other queries let me know in the comments. 

Lastly, an old router does not only cause slow internet but also causes cybersecurity threats. So, if you have a router that’s 3 or more years old, it’s advised to change it as soon as possible.

Moreover, when purchasing a router please get it from a verified seller like amazon or BestBuy. Otherwise,  you might get a faulty product. 

That’s it for today. Have a great day!  

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