A wifi connection disruption is never welcome, whether you’re in the middle of submitting a big work project or streaming music to your smart speaker. In many cases, a quick check of your router can solve the problem—restarting and/or resetting the device can clear memory or cache issues, stabilize your network connection, or improve wireless signal problems.
Remember that a router is not the same thing as a modem (though you can buy a modem-router combo unit). Routers act as the interface between all of your wireless devices and the modem, which in turn connects the data from your home network to the internet and vice versa.
How to restart your router
Restarting your router can help improve the speed, performance, or stability of your connection. If you still have issues, you may need to reset the device by returning it to factory settings.
Unplug the router
The very first step is to unplug your router from its power source by removing the cord from the router’s power input. Wait at least 30 seconds for the device to cool down and go offline, then reconnect the power. Depending on the model, you may also need to press the Power button.
Once the power is on, wait at least 30 seconds—and up to a few minutes—for the router to boot back up and reconnect to the internet. If the problem has resolved, you’re all set. Otherwise, you may need to take additional steps.
Note: if you are rebooting both your modem and your router, plug the modem back in first and wait at least a minute before powering up the router.
Reset the router
Restarting your router won’t change the settings, but that may be the next best step in the quest to troubleshoot connection issues. There are several ways to conduct a router reset, the most complete being a hard reset back to factory settings. While the router is on, locate the Reset button on your device and press and hold for 30 seconds. (Some buttons will require a sharp, pointed object, like a paperclip, to access.)
Because this process deletes all custom settings, you’ll need to log into your router’s admin using the default username and password, which are usually printed on the router or in the user manual, and change your wifi password.
Troubleshoot your connection and location
If restarting and resetting didn’t fix the problem, you may be dealing with a bad Ethernet cable or some barrier to your signal reaching where you need it. Try swapping out the cable and/or moving your router to an open, centralized location.
If none of these steps improve your connection, it may be time to replace your router.
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