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Your router is responsible for sending Wi-Fi signals to your phone, laptop, smart TV, security cameras and more. It has a big job.
Sometimes it’s the reason your internet connection is spotty, but not always. Tap or click for my guide to troubleshooting your bad Wi-Fi.
Your router plays a crucial role in network security, too. It’s bad news should someone hack into your router. Tap or click for a free check to see if yours has been compromised.
There’s a limit to what your old router can do, no matter how well you take care of it. Do you need a new router? Read on to find out and get help selecting the right one for your home.
1. Your old router is easier to hack
Your router may be doing a fine job keeping you connected to the internet, but is it keeping you safe? The latest security standard is WPA-3, released back in 2018. Any router that uses WPA-2 encryption needs to be replaced.
Run an encryption check on your router. Go to your router’s admin menu. Under the Wireless or Security menu, you’ll see the encryption status. Need help? Tap or click for the steps to do this on my site.
If your router is not WPA3 compatible, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. It’s also a sign you need to get a new router. I’ll tell you how to select the best router below.
More tech tips to your inbox: Try my free emails packed with tech know-how.
2. You’re missing out
When buying a router, you might as well future-proof your network. More and more devices support Wi-Fi 6, but that doesn’t mean a thing if your router doesn’t.
Wi-Fi 6 significantly improves two critical categories: speed and range.
Homes with a lot of connected technology — phones, computers, smart TVs, printers, smart speakers, and smart home devices — put a definite strain on a network. Wi-Fi 6 routers can easily handle 50 devices or more.
There’s something even better than Wi-Fi 6, though not many devices can utilize it yet. Wi-Fi 6 uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6e operates on the 6 GHz band. You’ll find this tech built into many mesh networks.
Location, location, location: Where to put your router for better speeds
3. Your signal is weak in certain spots
Your home should have a consistent, speedy network. A single router works fine for small spaces, but what about multiple rooms and floors?
Mesh networks are more popular and affordable than ever. Rather than relying on one router, a mesh network adds satellite modules around your home, blanketing the entire area with coverage.
These systems usually come in sets of two or more units that work together. As far as your gadgets are concerned, the Wi-Fi mesh is one big continuous network that eliminates poor coverage, dead spots, and buffering.
Internet out? Before you unplug everything, read this: The only way tech pros reboot their routers.
4. Your devices need more juice
How old is your router? Routers that only support 2.4 GHz frequencies are dinosaurs.
Single-band routers only utilize the 2.4 GHz band and one wireless signal.
Dual-band routers use 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to transmit two simultaneous wireless signals, providing better performance.
Tri-band routers typically have 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and an additional 5 or 6 GHz band to transmit three total wireless signals.
Single-band routers need to be replaced. A dual-band router that supports 2.4 and 5 GHz will do the job for homes with less than five connected devices. Get a tri-band router that supports three signals for homes with more than five connected devices.
5. How to choose a new router
I always get requests from folks looking for help choosing a router. It’s tough if you have no idea what to look for. There are pages for sale on Amazon with prices ranging from $20 to over $1,000.
Good news: My team and I did the hard work for you. Take our patented router quiz. Answer a few questions, and we will recommend the best router for your home that gives you the best security and fastest speeds. It only takes a minute or so.
The bottom line is this: Replacing the router is a must if your connection is spotty, isn’t equipped with the latest security standards, or is more than three years old.
Tap or click here to take our quick router-finder quiz. You’ll be glad you did!
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
Your privacy could be in danger if you have any smart home devices. In this episode, learn new Google tricks, keyboard shortcuts and a few Facebook dangers. Also, here’s why you should never use in-app browsers. (If you put your info in them, you’re in big trouble!)
Find my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station.
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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.