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Updating your router’s firmware can help improve connectivity and secure your router. It is always recommended to install the latest updates available to ensure the security and efficiency of your network. Most routers have an integrated update checker that may or may not automatically execute the entire process.
Router firmware updates are as important as device firmware updates. A firmware upgrade provides new features and security enhancements.
If you have been using your wireless router for years, you can (and should) upgrade the firmware. However, unlike computer software updates, which you can usually do with a simple update tool, router firmware updates are not as easy to understand.
Fortunately, there are not many steps to take to update the router firmware.
How can I update the router firmware?
Find the address of your router
- Check the address on the physical router. You can access your router by entering its IP address in your web browser. Most routers have this IP address printed on the sticker at the bottom. If your router does not do this, or if you do not have access to the physical router, follow these instructions to find it.
- Open the Start menu or screen and enter “Network Status”. The Show Network Status and Tasks window opens.
- Click on the name of your current connection in the upper right corner. An icon will appear indicating the type of connection you are using (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc.).
General update process
Some routers require you to use a desktop or mobile application to perform the update; however, most will use a web user interface and the procedure will be something like this:
- Download the firmware from the manufacturer’s support website, which is often in a.zip file. In this case, open this zip file and copy the firmware file.
- Connect to the router’s web interface, which is similar to the one you first configured, and then access the section where you can update the firmware. This is usually found in the
- Administration, System, Configuration, Progress or Tools section.
- Click on the button to search for the new firmware file.
- Click Update (or Download) and wait a few minutes for the process to be completed.
Dangers related to updating the router firmware
Updating the firmware of a router is a big problem for the neck. Although each article on router states to update the firmware regularly, no one talks about the problems. Here is my list of “problems” with firmware updates:
- It’s dangerous: The new firmware can cause a problem and there is usually no relapse option.
- This is dangerous: if the firmware update fails by half, it can block the router.
- It’s dangerous: The new firmware can reset some settings, settings that very few people will notice or understand. When I updated the firmware on a TP-LINK TL-WR841N, I lost all the settings I had changed. It is returned in new condition at the factory.
- Often this is not done because router owners do not know that it should be done (see below for the different update notification schemes).
- This is often not done because firmware problems do not yell at you, they go unnoticed in most cases.
- The upgrade process varies, technicians have to deal with different upgrade procedures for different routers.
- The upgrade process is never properly or fully documented.
- Even if you update the firmware, you may not yet have the latest firmware. Routers do not always upgrade to the latest firmware. You may need to update the firmware several times.
We must mention that the firmware update process sometimes fails, and when this happens, you must reset your router. To do this, connect to your router and search for the Factory Settings section. Click the Restore button and wait until your router is reset.
If you cannot access your router, you can also reset it by holding down the router reset button. This button is usually located on the back, and you only need to hold it down for ten seconds or more to reset the router.
Once your router is reset, you will need to reconfigure your settings and wireless networks.
We should mention that some routers can perform firmware updates automatically, so you do not need to download or install updates manually.
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CCNA, Web Developer, PC Troubleshooter
I am a computer enthusiast and a practicing IT Professional. I have years of experience behind me in computer programming, hardware troubleshooting and repair. I specialise in Web Development and Database Design. I also have a CCNA certification for Network Design and Troubleshooting.