Routers are frequently the most neglected device in your home’s internet system. After all, once you’ve set up a stable connection, you typically leave it alone until you run into a problem.
However, just like smartphones and computers, routers require cleaning and maintenance to ensure they remain in tip-top shape. So, aside from physically taking care of your router, you should also check its software.
So, here’s an easy-to-follow general guide on how you can check your router’s firmware version and update it.
Why You Should Update Your Router’s Firmware
While routers will typically do their jobs unattended, they’re still vulnerable to becoming outdated. For example, the manufacturer might have patched a critical security vulnerability or may have developed a more efficient firmware that makes it run faster.
That’s why it’s essential to keep your router updated—especially because almost all your internet traffic goes through it. An outdated router is vulnerable to hacking by cybercriminals, allowing them to penetrate your home network and have free reign over all devices connected to it.
How to Access Your Router
While most routers automatically update their firmware, it’s still good to check it manually periodically. To do so, you have to access your router.
When accessing your router, you need to type its IP address on your browser. You can usually find your router’s IP address printed underneath. If it’s there, take note of it, but you have to locate it using your computer if it isn’t. In the meantime, while you’re looking at your router’s underside, you should also copy the model number of your router.
Also, if you’re going to use your computer, you must ensure that it’s connected to the router you want to check and update.
If you’re using Windows 11, you can find your router’s IP address in Windows Settings.
Click on Start > Settings to open the Settings Window, then choose Network & internet. Under the Network & internet heading, click on Properties of your router’s network.
Once you’re in the properties view, scroll down and look for IPv4 DNS servers. Copy the IP address you see beside it, which is usually 192.168.x.x. If there’s a note in parentheses after the address, disregard it.
Mac users must click on the Apple menu and then choose System Preferences… Then, in the System Preference window, choose Network. Then, choose the network you’re connected to in the Network window.
After clicking on the correct network, click Advanced… in the Network window’s lower-right corner. In the Advanced window, under the TCP/IP tab, look for Router. You should see your router’s IP address indicated beside it.
Android and iOS
You can also update your router’s firmware via Android and iOS. On Android, you must first install the IPConfig app. Once you’ve installed it, ensure you’re connected to the router you want to update, then open it. On the front page of the app, you should see the router’s IP address under DNS.
Download: IPConfig for Android (Free)
iOS users can see their router’s IP address by going to Settings > Wi-Fi. Tap on the information icon beside the network you’re connected to, then swipe up until you see Router. You should see the IP address you need beside it.
How to Check Your Router’s Firmware Version
Once you get your router’s IP address, type it in any browser to access it. You’ll typically be greeted by a login page that protects your router’s settings. You have to check your router’s user manual to find the default username and password unless you’ve previously changed it.
Since different router brands and models have different views, you’ll have to explore your router’s administration tools to find its firmware version. Typically, you’ll find this under the Advanced, Maintenance, Management, System Tools, or Utilities menu.
Once you find the Firmware window, note your router’s current firmware. Some routers also have an auto-update option. If your router has this feature, all you need to do is click the Check or Update button, and it will contact its manufacturer directly and ask for an update.
If the router offers download links to updated firmware files, click on them to save them on your computer or smartphone. Some routers also give you the option of automatically updating itself. If so, click on its update button, and it will automatically be upgraded to the latest firmware version.
If your router doesn’t have the previously mentioned features, proceed to the website of your router’s manufacturer, go to Support, then search for your router’s model number. Ensure that you’ve entered the correct model number, as downloading and installing the wrong firmware will cause hardware issues.
Check the firmware version number available for download when you’ve landed on your router’s firmware download page. If it’s higher than the one currently installed on your router, download it. If not, you don’t need to do anything—your router is up-to-date.
How to Update Your Router’s Firmware
If you need to update your router, go back to your router’s Firmware page. Look for the Browse button to pre-load the new firmware you downloaded from the official manufacturer’s page. Once you’ve uploaded it, click on Upgrade.
Once the operation completes, your router will now run the latest firmware version from the manufacturer.
Keep Your Hardware Secure
While updating your router and other networking hardware may seem a tedious task, it is something you should occasionally do. Installing the latest firmware ensures that any security vulnerabilities that may have cropped up since you bought it are addressed. Furthermore, newer firmware is typically more efficient, allowing faster internet speeds and better connection quality.
It’s essential to update all your hardware, especially as the internet of things slowly takes over our homes. Updates aren’t just for smartphones, PCs, and routers—they’re also applicable to all smart devices, like security cameras, TVs, refrigerators, and microwaves.
As long as your hardware or appliance connects to the internet, you should ensure that it’s constantly updated. By doing so, you limit security risks to your entire network. After all, your internet security at home is only as strong as its weakest link.
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