Can Your Router Support Your Smart Home?
456 views | June 15, 2021

Can Your Router Support Your Smart Home?

The article will help explain how upgrading a wireless router depends on numerous factors that can also help explain how long routers last and when to replace a Wi-Fi router.

Routers are the devices that make wireless internet possible. Without these devices, wired internet would still be necessary. For those with no idea what that means, there was a time a cable had to be plugged into a computer to access the internet. There was always a struggle between choosing to use the home telephone or the internet because both couldn't be used simultaneously.

When it comes to routers, they are either issued by the internet service provider or purchased separately by the internet user. Some even install more than one to expand the wireless internet coverage.

But while most people look for ways to expand coverage, few think about their router's lifespan. While there is no conclusive data, most experts recommend upgrading to a new router every three, four, or five years. These numbers correlate with how often users upgrade other devices like smartphones and computers. 1

But really, upgrading wireless routers depend on numerous factors that can also help explain how long routers last and when to replace a Wi-Fi router, which this article will explain.

How to Choose the Right Wi-Fi Router for Your Home

Every household has different needs for the internet, which will impact the type of plan they get from their internet provider. A large family would probably need a completely different plan than someone living alone. Regardless of the internet plan, it is important to make sure your router is the right fit for the internet traffic generated.

Keep an eye out for the router's AC number – the higher the number, the better. For a single internet user, an AC1200 router (which can handle speeds up to 1200 Mbps) should be more than enough. In comparison, in a home with a larger family, an AC3200 router may be better.

Other technologies like beam-forming or Mi-Mo mesh technology are essential features to keep in mind. These ensure that the router can simultaneously handle all internet traffic – be it streaming, gaming, and even video conferencing, without disruptions.

How Long Do Wi-Fi Routers Last

Every router differs, but typically they usually don't last for more than 3 to 5 years. But of course, some factors can help determine when to change a wireless router.

Internet speed and connectivity issues

If the internet speed and connectivity are consistently becoming a problem, like a device connection dropping or the speed is less than 50% of the plan speeds, this is an indicator that it's time to get a new router. The existing router may be outdated or is no longer compatible with the Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Today's minimum requirement of network protocol is 801.11ac. It uses a frequency band of 5GHz and can be backward compatible with older protocols. At present, 802.11ax, also referred to as Wi-Fi 6, is state-of-the-art connectivity.

Physical damage to the router box

Overheating of the router is a sign of physical damage to the device. It could be a result of wear-and-tear or could also be a result of power surges. This sign is another clear indicator that the router is not functioning at its full potential.


Rebooting a router is a great way to refresh the device, similar to other electronics. But if the router needs constant rebooting or restarting, it's best to replace it with a new one.

Why Is Router Quality Important

Whether purchasing a router or receiving one directly from the internet service provider, make sure the router quality is up to par.


Routers protect an internet connection from external harm and malware. It's crucial that routers can handle current technology because they can do a better job at ensuring your home network's security.

When most of the workforce is working from home, it is crucial to have a secure connection to protect the company and personal data.


The quality of a router also matters for wireless signal range. For instance, the Google Nest Wi-Fi router is perfect for an area of around 2200 square feet. When paired with the Nest Wi-Fi Point together, they can cover a total area of 3800 square feet (with additional benefits of the Nest Point device) and connect 200 devices at a time. The Google Nest pair is ideal for a larger home with a big family.*

3.Dual Band

Dual-band routers are some of the best routers available because they support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, making them reliable and flexible for handling lots of internet traffic.

Shop Routers

View All

In Conclusion

The life of a router is measured by numerous factors that come into play. It depends on everything, from the router's quality to the internet speed the traffic it can handle, and subtle signs to watch out for that can indicate the end of the router's life is near.

In general, all routers, regardless of the brand, have around the same lifespan. And once the time is up for the existing device, it's always a great idea to replace it with a brand new one, preferably an updated model, rather than spending unnecessary money having it fixed.

Thanks for reading. If you want more information on wireless routers or home network connectivity, please visit the FirstEnergy Home Learning Library to learn more.

* FirstEnergy Home's review of this product is solely opinion. FirstEnergy Home did not receive compensation for the review. FirstEnergy Home, and any FirstEnergy affiliates, are not affiliated with the manufacturer of the product, nor is there any endorsement or sponsorship between the product manufacturer of the product and FirstEnergy Home or any of its affiliates.