Why You Need to have a New Router, Even on a Slow Online Connection

A very old Wi-Fi router sitting on a table.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Old Wi-Fi routers are vulnerable to safety exploits and absence the high-quality-of-daily life upgrades identified in modern-day routers. Even if you you should not have to have the bandwidth enhancement, upgrading is helpful.

If your house world wide web is pretty sluggish, you could possibly consider it does not matter if you have a dusty outdated router without having the newest bells and whistles. Here’s why you need to give really serious thought to upgrading.

1st, Let us Determine Outdated and Slow

Conversing about a router becoming previous or new, or an internet connection currently being slow or rapidly requires us to define how we’re utilizing people terms within just the context of this report.

Most routers are normally at minimum a Wi-Fi technological innovation era out of day about 5 a long time or so right after their launch day. If you purchased your router five years ago, and it was currently an old product at the time of invest in, you’re even further taken out from existing Wi-Fi engineering. New, in the context of routers, refers to router products launched in the previous few years—within three yrs is even greater.

And as considerably as “fast” and “slow” world-wide-web goes, that is really subjective concerning views on broadband adoption and personalized choice. Nonetheless, we’re seeking at rapid and sluggish below as a connection among the Wi-Fi router hardware and the net relationship speed.

People today have requested us, does it make any difference if I have an old router if I have gradual net? And which is a perfectly legitimate query. What does it make a difference if you have an early 2010s-period 802.11n router with only a 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps broadband connection that will by no means saturate the router thoroughly? It matters far more than you feel for the reason that the Wi-Fi practical experience is far more than just speed check success but a whole host of router capabilities. Let’s glance at why.

Aged Wi-Fi Routers Really don’t Get Safety Updates

Chatting about security is not attractive, but protection is essential. Even if you really do not truly feel like any of the pace or excellent of lifetime enhancements we’ll be speaking about in a instant make any difference to you, the security of your residence community must matter.

The times of turning on the family members personal computer now and then to deliver an occasional e-mail or play an offline sport are very long gone for most of us. Our homes are on line all the time in some capability, our televisions are connected to the world wide web, and folks use their residence world-wide-web connection and the units on it for factors like banking, securely logging into the health-related records,  and other vital issues.

With that in thoughts, it is significantly less than ideal to have a tremendous old router that does not get stability updates anymore. What ever vulnerabilities are found just after the very last spherical of updates your router received, you are trapped with. And you won’t be equipped to use the most advanced Wi-Fi encryption with your products.

You do not want a brand name new chopping-edge router to assure you get security updates, but you do want a extra latest model that still receives updates (and will for at least a handful of much more years). Router security updates is a subject we experience strongly ample about that we advocate you throw out your router when it no longer receives them.

Previous Wi-Fi Routers Have Weaker Hardware

You may well not give much imagined to the amount of processing energy your Wi-Fi router has or what type of components is within, so just before we communicate about routers particularly, let us speak about the concern by evaluating it to personal computers.

Approximately anyone has experienced the encounter of upgrading their pc and then currently being blown absent by how a lot nicer the knowledge of working with the laptop was right after the upgrade. We’re not even chatting about gamers experiencing enhanced effectiveness in AAA video game titles or other demanding functions. We’re talking about fundamental day-to-working day stuff like opening files, searching the net, and many others.

It is not that producing emails or observing a YouTube movie on a 2013-period laptop vs . a 2023-period laptop computer is a fundamentally different action. It is that a ten years of hardware advancements and optimizations will make performing so sense snappier and a lot more enjoyable.

Your old router very likely has a considerably weaker CPU. It also has significantly less powerful radios applying older Wi-Fi technological innovation. Even the physical ports on older routers can be anemic. Gigabit Ethernet is normal now, but even into the mid-2010s, quite a few finances routers however experienced standard 10/100 Ethernet ports. Pair that variety of router with a lot quicker broadband, and you are hobbling yourself proper out of the gate.

So confident, you can join your new Apple iphone to a 10-year-old router just good, but that aged router won’t be optimized for Wi-Fi technological innovation improvements that did not even exist when it was made.

When you leap from an aged router to a new router, you are going to be stunned to see issues you didn’t recognize have been connected to the router—such as how quickly a net webpage masses immediately after you send the ask for or how nicely social media posts load on your phone—are enormously improved. It turns out you didn’t have to have a new intelligent Tv,  you wanted a Wi-Fi router that could variety a a lot more reputable link to it.

Previous Wi-Fi Routers Weren’t Produced for Significant-Density Environments

When I put in my initially Wi-Fi router back in the 802.11b/g times, I experienced a handful of Wi-Fi devices in my home—most of which were by no means on at the same time, permit by yourself executing demanding factors in tandem.

Now, even so, I have all around 100 gadgets linked to my Wi-Fi network at any offered time. Though quite a few of individuals devices are matters like intelligent plugs, really a couple are large-demand from customers things like sensible TVs, telephones, and other products that demand trustworthy superior-bandwidth connections.

The community landscape of the property has improved, and newer routers are designed with that landscape in mind. Whether you have a basic 100 Mbps connection through your local cable company or a 2 Gbps fiber connection, your router’s ability to juggle dozens and dozens of connections on the Wi-Fi network is crucial.

It’s not just about supplying any given device with the maximum amount of bandwidth possible it’s about stability and connection management. Take streaming video bandwidth demands, for instance. You only need about 5 Mbps of speed for HD video and about 15 Mbps for 4K video.

It’s more important to have a reliable router that can reach the location of your smart TV or phone with a stable signal than anything else—and newer hardware is better suited for delivering that stability to multiple devices simultaneously.

Old Wi-Fi Routers Lack Quality of Life Improvements

We like to encourage people to think about their router purchases like they are shopping for a car. When you’re shopping for a car, you rarely shop for the fastest possible car you can buy. Outside of buying a performance car for racing purposes, the maximum speed a car can go is almost entirely irrelevant, and most people never drive their car as fast as it can possibly go.

What matters is comfort and ease of use. Most of us don’t want a car than can go 200 MPH. We want a car with comfortable seats, lane-assist semi-autonomous driving, room for the stuff we want to haul around, and so on.

In that regard, most people don’t need to buy a bleeding-edge performance router with a theoretical throughput capacity 20 times higher than their broadband connection. But they should buy a newer router that includes all the quality-of-life improvements we’ve seen in Wi-Fi and router technology over the years.

Newer routers include automatic security updates, so you’ll never have to worry about manually downloading and applying a firmware fix again. Speaking of automation, many older Wi-Fi routers don’t even have Quality of Service (QoS) rules. Or, if they do, you have to configure them manually. Newer Wi-Fi routers include automatic QoS adjusts that can intelligently identify and adapt network allocation based on activities without you even knowing what a QoS rule even is.

Wi-Fi optimizations in newer Wi-Fi generations benefit not just the newer devices that can take advantage of specific features like fast roaming but also older devices on the same network.

If you want to upgrade and you’re not sure where to start, you can consider buying a budget Wi-Fi router. But we also recommend buying a single mesh router. You get a perfectly good modern Wi-Fi router all by itself (with great automated features) for around the same price as a stand-alone budget router. And if you need more coverage extending your network with mesh nodes is dead simple.

However you approach the problem, though, it’s worth replacing that old router with an awesome router with modern features and current security updates.