How long can modern routers safely be kept powered on?

Drsunil V April 24, 2014

How long can a modern day router safely be kept switched on? For e.g., how many hours a day is safe so that it won’t get damaged or it’s hardware / software resources do not get overburdened?

  1. dlfs
    April 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    My TP-Link TL-WR940N wireless n router has been the most reliable of the several different routers I've owned over the years (also the cheapest ~ $20). It runs all the time, rarely needs to be rebooted (maybe once a year due to ISP outages).

  2. Oron J
    April 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    As others have said, routers are designed to be left on 24/7. In fact, ADSL router/modems need to be left on for best performance, as they optimise their performance over time. They might ocassionally need to be restarted for upgrade or because they crashed, but otherwise should be left alone in the on position. Most routers I've seen (and I've seen many) last for a very long time - 5 years, 7 years or even longer and are usually replaced when the user receives a new one from the ISP or when they require extra/new features.

    I haven't noticed any difference in physical quality between routers. The differences tend to be in performance (esp. WiFi) and ease of use/features.

    • Drsunil V
      April 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      thanks. you mentioned " ADSL router/modems". Please tell , do you imply routers which provided by telephone company's broadband

    • Oron J
      April 26, 2014 at 10:28 am

      I mentioned ADSL router/modems (as supplied by ISPs for use over phone lines) because ADSL modems optimise their performance, but all broadband routers and similar devices can be left on 24/7.

    • Drsunil V
      April 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks. Please tell , 1) Do you imply that both ADSL modems / routers and non-ADSL routers can safely be kept powered on even 24 hours a day? if yes , 2) say if the ADSL modem/router is not an international brand like DLink / Netgear / Belkin , even then would it make difference to your answer?

    • Oron J
      April 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yes, networking equipment (routers, modems, switches, print servers, powerline adapters, you get the idea!) is designed to be left on 24/7. The weakest link in these is actually the power supplies, which are bought by the manufacturers from the cheapest source in China, but even then, the failure rate is low. As for brands, as I said earlier, I've only seen these devices fail very seldom, so I don't have a large enough sample to suggest that brand-x is better than brand-y.

    • Sunil
      April 28, 2014 at 4:08 am

      Thanks. Can you please weblink an authorized documented evidence to support your statement that modern day routers are designed to be kept turned on safely for 24 hours in a day

    • Dalsan M
      April 28, 2014 at 8:50 am

      I haven't found documentation on routers and other network appliances being designed for 24/7 powered on. What must be considered, though, is that more homes across the world use VOIP services, networked home security systems, media/file serving, "smart home" devices, DVR/PVR systems, etc., which would require 24/7 network and/or internet connectivity. Also, most routers do not come with power buttons; if they were designed to be turned off, wouldn't they include a power button?

    • Oron J
      April 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Like Dalsan, I too haven't got such documentation to hand. I will point out though that many routers, and practically all home switches/hubs don't have on/off switches. Is the user really expected to unplug the adapter every day? As for ADSL modems and router/modems, as I said, they rely on being kept on for a long time for best performance and users in the UK are advised to wait a week to 10 days after receiving a new router to let the connection reach its optimal rate - hardly something you can do if you switch off your modem once a day.

    • Drsunil V
      April 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks. Nice points from both of you. I do not disagree that routers won't be overused if kept turned on without a break in a day. But if this is so , then companies like Dlink , Netgear , Belkin , Linksys and the like would atleast have a line mentioning the same on their portals. If yes , can you point to a weblink? so that it can benefit many a readers. Regarding modern day routers not having power button , I have used a router with power button

    • Oron J
      April 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Dr Sunil, I think your premise is flawed. Network equipment manufacturers do not tell users to leave their equipment on permanently, or to switch it off regularly. Computer manufacturers do not do so either and neither, for that matter, do Microwave oven on refrigerator makers. On the other hand, ISPs do tell users to leave their routers on, and in businesses such equipment has to be left on.

      Don't get me wrong, I agree with you that it would be good to have such an indication in the manual (at least where it really makes a difference, i.e. with regard to ADSL modems). but we do not write these manuals and cannot change how they are written...

    • Drsunil V
      April 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks. Your point has weightage

  3. Dalsan M
    April 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

    As long as there is sufficient airflow and cooking, there shouldn't be much of an issue, much like servers are left on 24/7 for years except for performing updates and upgrades. Most brands, such as Linksys/Cisco, TP-Link, Buffalo Technology, Neatgear, Belkin, and other well known brands should have similar results.

    I had an Ativa AWGR54 router that had issues from the first day of use, and then progressively got worse over time until it completely burned out (the processor inside was known to be bad and overheat badly). I have been using a Linksys/Cisco E1200 router 24/7 for the past 3 years without fail, though it had to be restarted on occasion when my devices stopped recognizing the network. It works nicely for streaming content to and from many different devices while browsing the web abd haven't noticed any unusual overheating or performance issues.

    • Drsunil V
      April 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      thanks. I read both para carefully. Broadly speaking , does 24/7 working router's hardware resources get overburdened? or their makes make them immune to 24/7 or even 8 hours continuous use? In other words , can giving frequent breaks to routers optimize their efficiency?

    • Dalsan M
      April 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      As Oron mentioned, there isn't much reason to turn routers off as there is for leaving them on. Just make sure the router maintains a reasonable temperature; make sure it is away from sources of heat and sunlight, keep it clean (dusted) and free from clutter.

    • Drsunil V
      April 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      thanks. Please confirm , Do you imply router's power can be safely kept switched on for 24/7? or do you imply only for rebooting?

    • Dalsan M
      April 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      It is quite safe to leave the router's power on.

    • Drsunil V
      April 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks. Okay. Please tell , is it true for only router or even for ADSL modems-router?

    • Dalsan M
      April 29, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Modems, routers, and gateways (modem with router built in) all can safely be left on 24/7. VoIP services and other services that rely on internet and network connectivity would need these items turned on in order to work.

  4. Dalsan M
    April 24, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Routers are built to be on 24/7 for several years. Some may say that for energy savings and to secure the network while not in use is to keep the router and modem off, unless the modem is used for home phone or other important activities, then just the router. I believe, however, that some things burn out or stop working more often if they are constantly turned off and on again rather than left constantly on. The same can be said about hard drives, as well because results will vary, but most people, mainly out of laziness, keep their routers on since most do not have power buttons.

    • Drsunil V
      April 24, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Thanks. I see. Please tell name of brand and model. Is heating not a hinder to it's hardware?

  5. Bruce E
    April 24, 2014 at 6:04 am

    My current router has been powered on 24/7 for more than 2 years. During that time it has been restarted 3 times - once for a firmware upgrade, once for a firmware downgrade due to an incompatibility with a new cable modem, and once after an ISP service outage when it the modem just decided not to recognize anything connected to it again. Other than those items, it has just kept right on doing its thing.

    • Drsunil V
      April 24, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Thanks. Please tell name of brand and model. Is heating not a hinder to it's hardware?

    • Bruce E
      April 25, 2014 at 1:13 am

      I'm using a Belkin 750DB Wireless N+ router. Both my cable modem and router are kept in the coolest corner of the room where there is the most airflow so overheating isn't an issue, even in Arizona.

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