Can an Old Router Cause Slow Internet?

While an outdated router won’t have too much of an impact on internet speed, it can choke the signal and cause your devices to run more slowly.

I’ve spent years using different routers and configuring unique internet setups. That personal experience has allowed me to understand the devices and see how they affect networks.

To expand on that, the following guide will look at the ins and outs of old routers. That includes the way they impact connections, how to know when a router is getting old and the best way to replace them when the time comes.

Key Takeaways

  • Older routers can choke your connection and negatively affect how well the internet interacts with your personal devices.
  • If you see any massive declines, productivity drops, or consistent performance issues with your internet, an old router may be to blame.
  • Running speed tests and monitoring your router’s health are two simple ways to stay on top of the device and know when you need to switch it out.

How Routers Affect Internet Speed

Routers are incredibly important machines that help manage and process every single device on a home network. They make sure everything runs smoothly, help keep your items connected, and have a big effect on the way a network operates. 

That being said, they don’t directly affect the speed in one way or another. Internet is only as fast or as slow as your plan. No matter how great a router is, or high-end end the model, you’re not going to get anything better than what’s on your plan. 

Despite that, routers do have an impact on how well your devices perform. A dated model might not actually slow down your speed, but it can lower general performance by bottlenecking different connections. That can happen if it’s too far from your devices as well.

It’s also worth noting that such issues arise with old modems as well. Outdated ones are going to give you problems and cause everything in your home network to operate at a lower level. Update yours (and any extenders) alongside your router if possible.

How to Know If Your Router is Out of Date

An old router can cause a lot of issues, especially if your internet isn’t up to snuff either. Luckily, there are many ways you can tell if it’s time to update or get a new model.

While it differs depending on what router you have, the general rule is to replace your router after five years. It’s at that time most start seeing performance issues, and is common when they start to dip in productivity.

Something else to note is if you’re seeing an unusually high number of connection issues. Most routers work decently well, even on mid-tier internet plans or average connections. If they aren’t doing their job, it’s usually the result of a hardware issue.

Check the lights on your router when problems arise. If they’re off, it could be a sign of something else. If they’re all where they should be and you still have problems, it typically means it’s time to get new hardware.

The last two aspects to check for are slow internet speeds and heat. As with connection issues, if your WiFi is getting slower or more laggy, it could very well be due to an older router.

On the other hand, if your router ever runs too hot it’s most likely time for a replacement. Older models  weren’t designed to handle heavy loads, nor were they designed to deal with heat. If yours is hot to the touch or constantly overheats, you need a new model.

How to Test a Router

Once you know what to look for and understand how routers generally work, it’s important to test your model in order to get a better idea of its general health. That will make sure you always know what’s going on and will help you better understand when it’s time to upgrade. 

When running such a test, always look at both the download and upload speed.  Those will give you a great idea of how well your internet is performing, and provide further insight into your router. 

If you want an easy way to run a test, check out free websites like this one.

How to Replace a Router

Though most routers will stick around for a while, there comes a time when you need to replace your old model. When that happens, there are a few steps you can take.

First, research routers and purchase the one that best fits your needs. Don’t just get the most expensive model out there. Try to find something that will give you great results without breaking the bank. You can also replace it through your internet provider too.

Next, hook up your router somewhere near the center of your house where it can reach all of your devices. Activate the WiFi by plugging it into the modem through a basic ethernet cable and follow the device’s instructions on how to access its web interface.

Once you’re up and running create a new network name, set a password (one that’s quite strong), and connect your devices either wirelessly or with an ethernet cable.


Here I cover, and answer, a few of the biggest questions about old routers.

Should I Replace My Ten-Year-Old Router?

Yes. Even if you aren’t experiencing any huge drops in connectivity or seeing slowdowns, it’s typically a good idea to switch out your router if you’ve had it anywhere close to a decade.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Router?

Routers, like any technological device, can be both cheap and expensive. You always want to get something that’s within your budget, but you should expect to pay somewhere between $60 and $120 for a decent model.

Is My Slow Internet Due to My Router?

If you’re seeing slow speeds, plug it into your modem. If they become fast, it’s likely your router. If they’re still slow, it’s likely an issue with your internet.

Final Words

Old routers may not actually cause your internet to become slower, but they can cause your internet to slow down. While many people put off replacing their model, it’s a simpler process than many think. If you see the signs, don’t be afraid to switch to something sleeker.

How old is your current router? What was the longest you ever kept one? Comment your answers down in the comments below.

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