Router Firmware 101: Should I update my router firmware?

Router Firmware 101: Should I update my router firmware?

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Router Firmware Updates

One topic often discussed when troubleshooting routers have to do with firmware. There is a lot of mystery around what it is or how the update could potentially resolve an issue with your home router. This article will define what firmware is, why it’s important to update, and some basic instructions on how to find out if you need to update your firmware.

What is firmware?

Firmware is software that comes preinstalled with your router and controls the different hardware and features. This software is available from each router maker. It governs all the device's inner workings, just like the operating systems that operate on your smartphone or personal computer. In the case of a router, firmware control things like antennas, the lights that show it’s working, how the ethernet ports work, and many other functions. The firmware works in tandem with the software on the device to allow a user to do things like change settings, or simply log into and use their Wi-Fi.

Why should I update my firmware?

Firmware, much like the software on your computer or smartphone, requires occasional updates to provide bug fixes and feature improvements, as well as critical security updates. We constantly hear about new security threats, and one of the best ways to keep your network safe, beyond strong passwords and safe internet practices, is to keep your firmware up to date. Keeping your router up to date will make sure that you have the latest security features and capabilities available to your router.

How Do I update my firmware?

The specific steps to update your firmware will vary based on the make and model of the router, and those steps can typically be found on the “support” page of the manufacturer’s website, but there are a few ways to access your router that are mostly universal:

  1. If your router has an app, you can typically use that to connect to the router and it may offer you the option to be notified when an update is available. In most cases, selecting this notification should start the update process.
  2. The stickers found on your router that show information like the model or serial number may list a URL or website that you can use while connected to your local network. When you type this website in, it will bring you to a sign-in page. The default login information may also be found on the same sticker, but during the initial router setup, you may have changed this. Once you are logged in, there should be an “Administration,” “Advanced,” or “Management” section which will give you the option to search for and apply a firmware update.

There may be additional features and options to perform these updates. Your best bet is to review your user manual or reach out to your router manufacturer for additional information on how to keep up with the latest firmware updates the manufacturer may be providing!

 

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