Set Your Router with easy steps

My router sucks. My connection goes wonky once every few days, and I have to unplug the router and reboot it (I believe this is called a hard reset) to fix the problem. Obviously, this is incredibly annoying. What can I do to just make the darn thing work properly? This is a very common ailment, but there’s no one universal cause (which, sadly, means there’s also not one simple solution). It could be that your internet provider changes your IP address often, and your router doesn’t catch on. Maybe it’s overheating, or maybe it’s getting bogged down by too many connections at once (which can happen if you download a lot).

There isn’t an easy way to figure out what the problem is, but there are a few common solutions that could help you fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.Before you start messing with your router, you should make sure the problem doesn’t lie with your modem or your internet service provider. To do this, plug your computer directly into your modem and see if you get any dropped connections or other problems. If not, the problem is more likely related to your router. If your modem is a modem/router combo, you won’t be able to perform this step (we recommend having a separate modem and router for just this reason). If your modem is the problem, contact either your internet service provider or the modem manufacturer to get support, since it’s probably not something you can fix at home.

Set Your Router with easy steps:

This is about the easiest solution to the problem, so it should be your first go-to step. Get your router out of hot, enclosed spaces, raise it up using wooden blocks, or even stick it in front of your fan. A lot of times, a router that keeps dying can be fixed with just a bit of extra airflow.If the internet works fine when directly connected to the modem, it’s probably an issue with your router, and the first thing you should do is check for firmware updates. To do this, just:If the latest firmware on the downloads page matches the one your router is using, then you have the latest firmware. If not, then you should download the latest firmware and update your router according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Making multiple connections:

If you’re lucky, the latest firmware will fix whatever problem your router was having that made it thirst for regular reboots. If not, though, continue on to the next step.Sometimes, your manufacturer’s firmware just isn’t very good. In those cases, flashing a third-party firmware—like the free, powerful DD-WRT—can potentially fix all your problems. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but can seriously boost the usefulness and customizability of your router, so we think it’s a worthwhile project. It can also reboot your router on a schedule, which may not solve the problem itself, but will keep you from having to do it manually.Oftentimes, your router can just get bogged down by too much traffic coming through. This is especially common with things like BitTorrent and Usenet, which achieve high download speeds by making multiple connections at one time. If you make too many, your router will stop working and need a reboot.

Update the firmware:

If you’re a heavy downloader, head into your BitTorrent or Usenet client of choice and go to its settings dialog. You should find a place where you can limit the download speed. Try limiting the speed, and see if that solves your problems (or just shut off your client for a few days). You can also try tweaking the number of connections, if your client allows it. If you find that your router woes disappear after changing these settings, you’ve found the problem and you’ll just have to settle for slightly slower download speeds.The fact of the matter is that while the above tweaks may help, chances are your router is old, cheap, or just plain crappy. If none of the above solutions work, head on over to a site like start reading reviews on routers. I’d look for a router that not only has high ratings, but is popular—this means that the manufacturer is more likely to update the firmware, and also more likely that DD-WRT will have a version available for it.

Flashed DD-WRT:

Also make sure that you buy from a store that has a good return policy in case you experience problems within the first few weeks. You don’t want to go spend $100 only to find that your new router has the exact same problem.
This could solve a number of the problems that would cause your router to need a reboot, and if you just set the timer to reboot once a day when you’re sleeping, you probably won’t ever have to do it manually (note that if you followed Option 3 and flashed DD-WRT, you can do this with its built-in scheduled reboot feature). It isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s a rather clever one that doesn’t involve buying a new router or going through hours of troubleshooting.

Infamous router reboot problem:

Any outlet timer should work; there are a lot designed for indoor lights that will let you program the outlet over a 7-day period, like this one from GE. They’re cheap and they’ll get the job done. Again, these aren’t the only solutions to the infamous router reboot problem, but these are some of the most common ways to solve the issue. While you’re fixing router problems, you might as well fix your crappy Wi-Fi signal, too. Good luck!For reasons unknown to me , my router’s reach is terrible. My house has all kinds of Wi-Fi dead zones, and I have no idea why. What could be the cause, and how can I fix it?We know your pain.

Wi-Fi killers:

This particular editor once lived in an apartment that formerly housed a block of dentist offices. There were lots of walls, possibly reinforced with lead shielding, in that re-purposed building. Unless you could directly see the router, your were out of luck after a room or two.Adam Dachis touched on a few ways to extend your wireless signal in his guide to going completely wireless in your home, but we’ll get a bit more substantive in dealing with Wi-Fi killers in trying to help out a laptop warrior tied to such a small area.Some people are just unlucky in their net connections. Maybe the cable only comes in from one spot in your house, a lower corner, and your walls and ducts aren’t particularly amenable to running cable.