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When To Get a New Modem

Wi-Fi Router Modem

Modems are an essential piece of network hardware in most homes today as they provide a connection to the internet. However, modems are notorious for sometimes creating frustrating and hard-to-troubleshoot internet connectivity problems. So, what is a good sign you need to get a new modem? 

Quick Answer

Ideally, most modems last between 2 and 5 years. Suppose your modem has lasted that long, and you start to experience connectivity issues such as slow internet connection, inconsistent speed, trouble connecting, or running too hot. In that case, you need to get a new modem. 

The period a modem lasts depends on the modem’s quality and maintenance. If your modem starts giving you issues way too early and you have a warranty, it helps to use the warranty to get it fixed at no cost or get a replacement.

This guide explains more about some of the signs that indicate you need a new modem. 

Signs You Need a New Modem 

All electronics, including modems, go bad eventually, but dust build-up, water or moisture, wear on the internal components, and electric surges can damage them. Also, how fast technology advances can make your modem obsolete, thus causing you to need a replacement. 

Below are some signs that tell you it’s time to get a new modem. 

Sign #1: Troubles Connecting to the Internet

Most modems transmit at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency, while some use both frequencies. Provided your device can receive signals at 2.4 or 5 GHz, you shouldn’t have trouble connecting to the modem. But when you start having trouble connecting to the modem, it indicates something is wrong. 

If you are experiencing this issue, it could be that the modem’s transmitter is faulty or there are some trouble codes in it. Especially when you are nowhere near the peak number of devices that can connect to the modem, you shouldn’t have an issue connecting to it. 

Sign #2: Internet Connection Randomly Drops

When you notice your modem’s internet connection drops randomly, it signals that the modem is about to give out. Hence, it would help if you plan on getting a replacement soon. 

However, the weather sometimes could contribute to your internet connection dropping randomly. And sometimes, it could be that your internet service provider is having issues. If none of these are the cause, you are most likely dealing with a faulty modem. 

Sign #3: Frequently Having To Reset or Restart the Modem

If you must reset or restart your modem due to one error frequently, it is a strong sign that you need a new one. While rebooting your modem helps to refresh it in case of an error, you shouldn’t be required to do it often to make it work. 

If you are experiencing many errors on your modem, try updating its firmware if an update is available; perhaps that might fix the issue. If no update is available, the best solution is to get a new modem, as having to reset or restart a modem is not ideal. 

Sign #4: Streaming Is Lagging

Most people use a modem rather than a mobile carrier network because it allows them to stream without lag. A modem can allow multiple users to connect to it without its internet speed dropping. But when you are experiencing lags while streaming, the modem isn’t functioning as it should. Although this could result from a bad internet connection from your service provider, moving the modem to a different location and checking in with your service provider could help fix the issue. But if the issue is not caused by the above, you need another modem. 

Sign #5: Internet Speeds Are Inconsistent

Most modems can offer an internet speed ranging from 3 to 15 MB per second. While this internet speed can fluctuate, it often doesn’t fluctuate much. At least most times, you may not even notice when it does fluctuate. But when the rate at which it fluctuates is so significant, it means there is an issue with your modem. 

You can consider moving the modem to a different location, and checking the connection at the back of the modem to ensure they are well connected can help fix the issue. But if the problem persists, you should get a new modem. 

Sign #6: Indicator Light Remains Unlit

On some modems, lights like the power indicator are constantly on, and some modems blink and may even change their color. If the indicator light on your modem is not coming up even when you power it on, it means something is wrong. But if all the indicator lights on your modem still do not come up, you need to take the modem to a repair shop to check it. Or better still, you should get a new modem. 

Your modem might behave this way because the power getting to it is insufficient, or some of its internal components have been damaged due to an electric surge

Sign #7: Modem Runs Constantly Hot

If your modem is constantly hot, it is a sign that you need a new modem. We recommend changing the modem’s location to a well-ventilated area, such as near a window; this might help the situation. But if the problem persists, it means that maybe the cooling system of the modem is faulty or some of its internal components have been damaged.

The only way you can be sure of what is going on with your modem is to take it to a technician to inspect it. Or, better still, use this as an opportunity to upgrade to a better modem. 

Recommended Lifespan of Modems

Even if your modem is not damaged, changing it after 3 to 5 years is highly recommended for better security and internet connectivity.


Most modems tend to last exceptionally long before failing. It’s not unusual to see a modem still functional even after ten years or more if it is well-maintained. However, it is worth noting that the older a modem gets, the more obsolete it becomes. But when your modem starts to give signs that it is about to fail, you should get a new modem. 

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