Routers are often the most overlooked device in your home’s internet system. After all, once you set up a stable connection, you usually leave it alone until you run into a problem.
However, just like smartphones and computers, routers require cleaning and maintenance to ensure that they remain in top condition. So, in addition to physically taking care of your router, you should also check its software.
So here is 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 Firmware
Although routers generally do their job unattended, they are still susceptible to becoming obsolete. For example, the manufacturer may have patched a critical security vulnerability or may have developed more efficient firmware that makes it run faster.
That’s why it’s essential to keep your router up to date, especially since almost all of 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 An outdated router is vulnerable to hacking by cybercriminals, allowing them to penetrate your home network and have free reign over all devices connected to it.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
Although most routers update their firmware automatically, it’s always a good idea to check it manually periodically. To do this, you need to access your router.
When you access your router, you must enter its IP address in your browser. You can usually find your router’s IP address printed below. If it’s there, write it down, but you need to locate it using your computer if it’s not. In the meantime, while looking at the underside of your router, you should also copy your router’s model number.
Also, if you’re going to use your computer, you need to make sure 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 title, click Properties your router’s network.
Once you are in the properties view, scroll down and search for IPv4 DNS Servers. Copy the IP address you see next to it, which is usually 192.168.xx. If there is a note in parentheses after the address, ignore it.
Mac users should click on the apple menu then choose System Preferences… Then, in the System Preferences window, choose Network. Then choose the network you are connected to in the Network window.
After clicking on the correct network, click Advanced… in the lower right corner of the Network window. In the Advanced window, under the TCP/IP tablook for Router. You should see your router’s IP address listed next to it.
Android and iOS
You can also update your router’s firmware via Android and iOS. On Android, you must first install the IPConfig application. Once you’ve installed it, make sure you’re connected to the router you want to update, then open it. On the app’s homepage, you should see the router’s IP address under DNS.
To download: IPConfig for android (Free)
iOS users can see their router’s IP address by going to Settings > Wi-Fi. Tap the information icon next to the network you’re connected to, then swipe up until you see Router. You should see the IP address you need next to it.
How to Check Your Router’s Firmware Version
Once you have obtained your router’s IP address, enter it in any browser to access it. You will usually be greeted with a login page that protects your router settings. You should consult your router’s user manual to find the default username and password, unless you have already changed it.
Since different brands and models of routers have different views, you will need to explore your router’s admin tools to find its firmware version. Typically, you’ll find it under the Advanced, Maintenance, Management, System Tools, or Utilities menu.
Once you have found the Firmware window, note the current firmware of your router. Some routers also have an automatic update option. If your router has this feature, just click on the To verify or Update button, and it will directly contact its manufacturer and ask for an update.
If the router offers download links to updated firmware files, click on them to save them to your computer or smartphone. Some routers also give you the option to update automatically. If so, click its update button and it will automatically upgrade to the latest firmware version.
If your router does not have the previously mentioned features, go to your router manufacturer’s website, navigate to Support, then find your router’s model number. Make sure you have 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 landed on your router’s firmware download page. If it is higher than what is currently installed on your router, download it. Otherwise, you have nothing to do, your router is up to date.
How to Update Your Router Firmware
If you need to update your router, return to your router’s Firmware page. look for it Browse button to preload the new firmware that you downloaded from the manufacturer’s official page. Once downloaded, click Improve.
When complete, your router will now be running the latest firmware version from the manufacturer.
Keep your gear safe
Although updating your router and other network hardware may seem like a tedious task, it’s something you should do from time to time. Installing the latest firmware ensures that any security vulnerabilities that may have appeared since you purchased it are fixed. Additionally, newer firmware is generally more efficient, allowing for faster internet speeds and better connection quality.
Keeping all your hardware up to date is essential, especially as the Internet of Things is slowly invading our homes. The updates don’t just affect smartphones, PCs, and routers, they also apply to all smart devices, such as security cameras, TVs, refrigerators, and microwaves.
As long as your hardware or device connects to the internet, you need to ensure that it is constantly updated. By doing so, you limit security risks to your entire network. After all, your home internet security is only as strong as its weakest link.
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