Outdated routers: Why every remote worker should update or upgrade

Is your router sitting on the shelf blinking away like a ticking timebomb?

We often allow our routers to collect dust without touching them for years, other than to restart them occasionally. Routers are devices that route information between all the internet-connected devices in your home and the internet. As such, they are essential for remote workers to stay connected to business apps.

When everything is working smoothly, it’s an easy device to forget about; but having an older router can cause a handful of problems such reduced internet speed, insecure Wi-Fi, and inconsistent internet connection. This can cause a lot of headaches and a disruption in productivity for remote workers who rely on a secure, fast and reliable internet connection at all times. And, with 42% of the U.S. labor force now working from home, the quality of your home internet must be one of your top priorities.

Here’s how to stay ahead of the game and ensure your home network is secure and your connection to the internet is as fast and stable as possible.

If your router is 3 years old or older, consider replacing it

So, is an outdated router really that big of a deal? Yes, it can be for many reasons. First: internet security. The longer your router ages, the more likely it is to be compromised by hackers who are intent on stealing your data and monetizing it. Hackers scour the internet for outdated and unprotected devices with loopholes to gain access to your sensitive information. Newer routers have advanced security and improved firewall protection so that you can work with greater peace of mind. Some older routers cannot provide the full data throughput — or speed — of the fastest 1 GB internet connections available since their release. 

Finally, older devices, having operated continuously for years, just tend to be less reliable. Heat effects the delicate circuits inside and makes them more likely to fail. Some bugs even like to make their home inside the nice warm routers and can also cause malfunctions.

So, if it‘s time to replace it, one of the best home routers on the market is the Unifi Alien. This wireless mesh device can easily scale with the option to add Wi-Fi coverage in other parts of your home without running more wires. Setting up a new wireless router is easier than ever with apps to help with setup and configuration. When given the option, be sure to change the administrative password to a secure password and use a secure key to encrypt your wireless network. You’ll be back up and running in no time!

If your router is less than 3 years old, update it

If your router is otherwise meeting your needs and not ancient (at least in computer terms!), you may not need a new router. Updating your software is important to ensure that your network is secure. All routers run software that requires updates from time to time. This software works behind the scenes to ensure that your network, security and connectivity are at their best. Whether your router is manufactured by Netgear, Linksys or Ubiquiti, there is always a way to check for and install updates.

Every manufacturer handles updates a little differently, so check the support website of your device manufacturer or ask a tech friend to assist you. While you’re at it, consider changing both your admin password and verify that your network security password is strong and that your wireless is using the current WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access) encryption technology. Update your wireless router at least twice per year — put it in your calendar to remind yourself.

Business-class Wi-Fi for your home office

Another option for businesses that handle lots of sensitive information and have their workforce all at home is to consider deploying standard, company-managed wireless routers and have work computers connect through those devices. This separates work computers from the other devices on the home network adding another layer of protection.

An ounce of prevention

Give yourself peace of mind and be totally prepared for busy times by evaluating that important little device that keeps you connected to the rest of the world and update or replace it today.