Is it Time to Replace Your Modem? Watch Out for these Signs

You know that little box with the blinking lights that hooks you up to the internet? It might be trying to tell you something. Your modem plays a key role in connecting your devices to the web. But with age, it may not operate as efficiently as it should. That means you may not be getting the fastest speeds possible. So how do you know when it might be time to replace it? Start with this information and determine if your modem is telling you it’s time.

What does a modem do?

Think of your modem as the great translator of data languages. It speaks the language coming into your business through your cable line and can translate it into something all your devices can understand. And when your devices speak back, it retranslates the message back through your transmission line.

What makes modems go bad?

Over time, your modem’s ability to translate data quickly and efficiently can deteriorate. Depending on the type of modem you have, GizBuyerGuide suggests most last between two and five years. The following factors can contribute to its decline:

  • Changes in technology – Not all modems can accommodate the faster speeds available from internet providers. So you don’t get the benefits of a speed upgrade.
  • Constant demand – Most modems run 24/7. That constant operation generates heat, wearing on the mechanism, causing malfunctions.
  • Fluctuations in electricity – Power surges and reductions cause wear and tear. A high-quality surge protector can help minimize the impact.
  • Dust build-up – Dust can accumulate inside the modem over time. That can act as an insulator causing further heat buildup.

Can you extend the life of a modem?

All devices have a shelf life but there are some tasks you can perform to be sure things are running as smoothly as possible. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Restart regularly – Restarting or rebooting once a month gives your modem a chance to reconnect, clear out any errors and perform any updates. Use this step-by-step process for rebooting your modem. Be sure your power and wired connections are secure.
  • Adjust position – Consider repositioning the modem to a place that allows the signal to be broadcast more efficiently. Avoid placing it on the ground or in tight spaces where ventilation is restricted.
  • Protect against surges – Power and data surges can happen during storms. Using a coaxial and power surge protector can add another layer of protection.

Signs it’s time to replace.

If you’ve performed regular maintenance and you’re still experiencing issues, that can mean it’s a modem issue. Here are some potential signs from tech troubleshooters Xtrium and TechProJournal:

  • Slow speeds – Do a speed check to see what download and upload speeds you’re getting.  Compare the results against the data speed you purchased. If you’ve recently upgraded, your modem may not be able to handle the faster speed. Keep in mind that test results can vary depending on how many devices are connected. A wired connection from a single device provides the most accurate test.
  • Frequent internet disconnects – If you frequently lose your internet connection, it may be a modem issue. Check first to be sure your cable connection is secure.
  • Lag time – Buffering during video conferencing or when you are streaming HD video content. It may be your modem isn’t able to process the high-speed content fast enough.
  • Indicator lights not showing – The data transfer light on the modem should flash intermittently when surfing the net.
  • Noisy modem – Does the modem makes a persistent loud humming noise? That may signal a faulty internal component.

Your modem plays a key role in your business. So it’s important to monitor its performance and watch for signs of trouble. If you are experiencing any signs, check with your internet service provider first. They can help you troubleshoot and identify the source before making any changes.