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Every few days is a bit much! Wi-Fi routers do need to get rebooted every so often. But I'm talking more like a number of weeks or months... not days.

My Wi-Fi router disconnects from the internet every couple of days. I ran the Windows 7 diagnostic on the connection and the solution it gives me to is to restart the router. So I do, and everything works fine again. Any guesses what might be causing it?

In this excerpt from Answercast #64, I look at a router that is mysteriously needing a reboot every few days.

Guesses on malfunctioning router?

I have two.

One, that's kind-of, sort-of in your control is: keep an eye on the heat of the router. Make sure that it's got good air flow. It is possible that the router itself is over heating and eventually that's causing it to crash.

Remember, that routers are really small computers and just like any computer, they're gonna generate some heat. They're gonna need some air flow around them to allow them to cool off properly. So, that's the first thing that I'd look for.

You know, every couple of days is a bit much! Definitely it does happen, Wi-Fi routers do need to get rebooted every so often. But when I say, "every so often," I'm talking more like a number of weeks or months... not days.

Faulty hardware

I'd be really, really tempted if there's nothing else at all obvious, to go ahead and replace it. Replace it with a different model from a different manufacturer and see if that doesn't improve the experience.

That's about the only thing that I can guess right now.

Check with the manufacturer

I suppose the other thing to look for (if you want to go down that path) is to check with the support site for that router's manufacturer. See if there are any known problems with that router and if there's an updated set of firmware for that router.

Sometimes, it could be as simple as a bug in the router's firmware. Sometimes, those kinds of bugs do get fixed just like they get fixed in operating systems.

So, if there's updated firmware available for that router, I'd be tempted to see if I couldn't download it, install it, and see if that doesn't make the problem go away.

My experience is it probably won't. But it's cheap. It's free. It's relatively easy to do and it avoids you having to run out and get a new router right away.

Article C5956 - October 25, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

October 25, 2012 1:27 PM

I had a similar problem, but in my case, the disconnect could happen multiple times a day. From June to October, I had over 80 failures. Sometimes I would get 4 or 5 days between failures, and other times I would have a solid connection for less than 2 hours. I always had to unplug both the router (Apple AirPort) and the cable modem to reconnect. I went through three replacement modems from the cable company, and had the tech come to the house twice. Nothing seemed to resolve the issue. Finally, I did two things: purchased my own cable modem and installed the latest Apple firmware. I lost the connection again, just hours after the installation, and went throught the same unplug and plug scenario. Since that final unplug and plug, I have experienced no disconnects.
Bottom line is that I don't know whether it was the modem or the Apple software, as both were changed simultaneously, but Leo's suggestion of updating the firmware would sure seem to be a first step.

October 26, 2012 8:30 AM

I was experiencing dropped internet connections on a regular basis. I contacted my ISP who sold me the modem/router and they discovered that the "Lease" time set on the router was very short so they entered a new lease time of a much greater duration and I haven't had a problem since.

In this case it was just a modem setting.

October 26, 2012 8:38 AM

Had similar problems last year. Replaced router and modem and fiddled with some settings and finally got a stable link. One issue to look for (that Leo himself noted in an old article) is that sometimes there is a timing problem between the router and your computer when both try to do a handshake at the same time. It was this point that started me down the path to resolving my problem (though I still can't be sure exactly what caused the problem!).

October 26, 2012 9:49 AM

I had the same problem when I upgraded to a new Cisco DLink modem, did not shut down but disconnected the internet connection every few days.
All I did was relocate the modem and it has been fine ever since - the problem was heat build up!

October 26, 2012 2:48 PM

My AT&T DSL router would disconnect and reset multiple times a day.
It seemed to fix itself and would be OK for a week and then it would start the same cycle, over and over, conveniently, at the least opportune time.
This became very frustrating and I kept double checking connections and wiring in the walls at all of the "plugs" in the condo only to find that it all seemed OK.
I had looked at the router diagnostics from a computer and found information stating excess noise on the line, not much, but still...
This is something that the in-line filter is supposed to take care of and I had/have filters on all of the phones and the modem, even though the modem was on a separate and dedicated pair of wires from the service panel.
I thought that the wiring in the walls coming from the service panel a few condos away may have been compromised by a nail or a screw or something and we'd just have to live with it.
But, after giving it some thought, the indication of excess noise prompted me to swap out the in-line filter to the modem for one that I had previously used at another location.
I haven't had a connection problem since that day, many months ago.
Upshot being that it is possible that the filter is bad and needs to be replaced.

October 26, 2012 4:11 PM

I have the same problem of loosing connection to the internet since installing a new Asus RT-N66U router on a DSL Line but it loses connection multiple times a day. Lease times on the wired LAN = 86400 but on the wireless there is a setting called "network key rotation interval" which is set to 3600. I don't know if this is equivalent to lease time but there are now other settings on the wireless side to change. Can anyone help?

John Servis
October 27, 2012 10:49 AM

I have satellite internet (Wildblue/Exceed) and they provide me with a modem which I have hooked to a Router. Every morning I have to restart both just to get internet in the house. I've gone through 2 routers in the past 3 months so I know it's not that.
Wildblue sent a guy out who re-aligned the dish and checked everything, still the next day no internet.
It's become a routine now, make coffee, unplug modem & router, go out to front porch and drink coffee & smoke ciggarette, come inside and plug everything back in, up & running in a minute or two. I have just learned to live with it.

October 29, 2012 3:49 PM

DO YOU HAVE A PASSWORD SET UP ON YOUR ROUTER? Windows defaults to choosing a wireless connection that has security. If your router is not set up with a password, and your neighbor's(or someone within range) is, your router will disconnect from yours and try to connect to theirs, BUt since it doesn't have the password it CAN't, so it just disconnects and leaves you off the internet. It is an intermittent problem and very frustrating. It took me a long time to come up with this info(from Cisco) and solve the problem. Just add a password(security) to your router and problem is solved.

November 3, 2012 8:27 AM

I would suggest you check the power supply to the router and make sure it is not defective or has not been crossed up with another one on your system e.g. your modem.

March 10, 2013 11:54 AM

In my case, I found out that a frequency and channel interference with my neighbors' WiFi is a the cause. So, changing the router's radio channel did the trick.

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