Routers are essential components of any home or enterprise as your internet network can make a huge difference in the quality and speed of your internet connection.
Like any electronic device, routers develop issues that require rebooting or resetting to fix.
If you’ve reset a smartphone or computer, you may have had to wait for up to an hour until the device goes back to factory settings.
That’s because PCs have so many files and data stored on the hard drives that it takes a long time to get rid of them.
Now, you may wonder if that’s the case with a router.
How Long Should The Router Take To Reset?
Resetting a router can take from 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on the brand and the device’s hardware specs.
As soon as you press the reset button on the back of the device, the reset process starts, and you can finish it after holding the button for 10 seconds and releasing it.
If you use the 30-30-30 method, you’ll need to spend 90 seconds on the reset process, and the device will return to the factory settings within a few seconds.
Most routers return to factory settings within two minutes, but older routers may take up to 10 minutes.
However, you should know the difference between resetting and rebooting since these two are entirely different and can lead to different results.
Reboot Vs. Reset
If you often confuse resetting, rebooting, and restarting and use these terms interchangeably, you’re not alone.
Many people don’t understand the difference between these three terms.
However, they’re different and used for different purposes.
Knowing the difference between these two terms is essential since they affect your saved data, and you can lose all your information.
Restart and reboot refer to the same process, while a reset is different.
Rebooting a router or any electronic device like a laptop or a smartphone involves simply turning it off and back on.
This simple process helps remove temporary glitches that cause issues with your connectivity.
This process will cut off the electricity running inside the router and “power cycles” it.
It’s recommended to reboot your router at least once a month because, like any device that runs on an operating system, it can slow down over time.
It’s a safe process that doesn’t erase any data and only helps run the device more smoothly.
What Happens When You Reboot A Router?
You may wonder why a router takes a long time to reboot.
That’s because the router requires several steps to complete until you can see the established connection.
After every step is complete, the router’s peripherals have to confirm these completed actions before the next step can start.
However, these processes don’t take more than several seconds if you have a new router and a fast connection.
The router is like a minicomputer with a specialized operating system.
When you reboot the router, it takes some time until the operating system boots up.
Then, the router must connect to the ISP after checking all the frequencies and finding the strongest one.
Spending on the router’s specs, this process may take longer.
For example, a 5 GHz router may take longer because it needs to scan in the Dynamic Frequency Space (DFS).
Since many other devices work at the 5GHz frequency range, the router needs to look for free channels that don’t interfere with these devices.
Whenever you turn off your router, your ISP assigns a different IP address to it.
It’s the next step after establishing the connection between the router and the ISP.
You may have a static IP address, which is fixed and saved in your account details.
This process will also take some time since the ISP has to fetch it from your account.
Then, the router requests address settings via the DHCP, and it establishes the main connection with the ISP to connect to the network.
The router may need to connect to different websites and servers to adjust its settings.
For example, it needs to set its time by connecting to a time server.
After configuring the Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports, the router is ready to send connection signals to your devices.
Newer models take less time to boot up because their hardware and firmware are updated.
However, these routers have more features and capabilities, meaning they have to check many more things upon startup, which takes longer.
How To Reboot A Router Correctly
As mentioned, rebooting a router is simple: it only involves pressing the on/off button on the back to cut electricity for a short time.
When you restart your router this way, it’s essential to wait for a few seconds and then turn it back on.
If you turn the device on immediately, the ISP may consider it a minor issue or noise, so it will keep working without resetting anything.
However, when you unplug the power cords and wait for a few seconds, the ISP hardware will recognize this shutdown and assign a new IP address to start a new connection.
In addition, the router has tiny capacitors that contain electricity.
When you turn off the router, the memory can still run on this tiny amount of electricity for a few seconds.
If you wait 30 seconds, this power will drain, and the memory has enough time to reset because it doesn’t get any power.
After plugging the router back into the outlet, the router will automatically turn on and load its software to establish connections.
This process may take up to two minutes until the router loads all the information required to connect to the network.
However, it may take more than that—up to 10 minutes—if your router is old or the firmware is outdated.
You can also reboot your router via its web interface.
This option allows you to reboot your router even if you’re away from the device and want to troubleshoot it remotely.
Most routers, even the obscure brands, have the reboot option on their web interface.
You just need to know your router’s IP address, username, and password to access it.
Once in the panel, look for the Reboot option on the lefthand side menu.
You can find it under Management or Advanced.
When you click the Reboot button, the countdown starts, and the router will turn off.
After thirty seconds or a minute, the router will turn back on.
Resetting is another solution that helps you address connection issues, especially the more serious ones that rebooting can’t solve.
The most important difference between rebooting and resetting is that the former doesn’t erase your data.
Imagine your smartphone has minor issues like slowing down.
You simply restart it using the power button and tap the restart button on the screen.
When it boots back up, the issue is gone.
However, you don’t lose any of your data, and you can use your phone as before.
On the other hand, your need to use the factory reset option to reset your smartphone for more serious issues.
After a factory reset, you’ll lose all your data since the reset will return the device to its factory state.
The same thing goes for router reset.
It removes all your saved passwords, settings, and software features that you’d set to customize your router.
Resetting the router doesn’t take long, although it erases all your data stored on the device.
Depending on your device, you may expect the process to take between 30 seconds and two minutes.
When To Reset A Router
Since resetting a router will return it to its out-of-the-box settings, you should do it as the last resort if nothing else can solve your issues.
If you don’t have any connection problems, the only cases requiring a factory reset are when you want to sell your router or dispose of it.
In addition, it’s not recommended to perform regular factory resets, unlike a reboot.
When you run into connection issues, you should first try rebooting the router, not resetting it.
For example, a reboot can solve your issue if your router is sluggish and can’t establish connections fast or when certain devices can’t connect to your router.
If it doesn’t help, you shouldn’t jump to resetting the device.
There are still some other solutions that can help without turning the router back to its default settings.
Here are the main ones:
A. Update The Firmware
You can try updating the firmware since outdated firmware can cause a wide range of issues.
Although your ISP is responsible for updating the firmware, it may not do it regularly.
That’s particularly the case if you haven’t received the router from the ISP.
You can easily update your router’s firmware by accessing its web interface.
All you need to do is enter the router’s IP address in your browser’s address bar and look for options that indicate firmware updates.
Since different brands of routers use different wordings, you can find the option under Update Software, Router Upgrade, Software, or System Update.
Some routers also have an option to enable regular automatic updates.
If you’ve enabled this option, you won’t need to upgrade your firmware manually.
Still, it’s a recommended solution for router problems if rebooting doesn’t help.
Upgrading a device’s firmware is a sensitive task since it can render your device unusable if it goes wrong.
That’s different from other software updates because the system memory can turn it back to a previous good state if a software update goes wrong.
However, devices that use firmware don’t have such memories.
If the firmware update is interrupted, the software can’t go to a previous good state.
Don’t use your Wi-Fi connection on other devices while updating the firmware.
And never turn off the device in the middle of the process.
B. Update The Accompanying App
Another solution you can try before factory resetting your router is to update its app.
Many modern routers come with an app that allows you to manage them without having to access their web interface.
These apps work on smartphones and give you access to almost all the features found on the web interface.
Netgear, Asus, Linksys, TP-Link, and Google Wi-Fi are among the routers that come with smartphone apps.
If you have one of these apps, try updating it before taking serious measures.
C. Look For Overheating Signs
Sometimes, your router runs into issues not because of connection or software issues, but the real cause is purely physical.
Like any other electronics, routers can overheat because heat is a natural byproduct of electrons moving.
Routers have vents on their top and bottom panels to avoid overheating.
If these vents are clogged, the internal components can overheat and cause different issues like frequent crashing.
Before performing a factory reset, remove the dust using compressed air and place the router in a well-ventilated area.
Don’t put it inside cabinets.
Instead, place it on an elevated surface to get the best signals.
Most users put their routers behind furniture for aesthetic reasons, but it can reduce ventilation and signal coverage.
However, there are some cases when you can’t do anything else but reset your router.
For example, if your router has been hacked or infected with viruses, you must reset it.
Of course, you can prevent these problems by taking security measures and practicing internet hygiene.
One of the most important things is to change your router’s password when you first access its web panel.
Since most routers’ default username and password is “admin,” it can pose security threats if you don’t change your password.
Another situation that requires a factory reset is when your router keeps rebooting without any apparent causes.
In such cases, an underlying issue is causing the router to reboot, which is difficult to pin down.
How To Reset A Router?
If you decide that your router issues won’t fix and your only solution is a factory reset, you can do it through a straightforward process.
Resetting a router can be done in different ways:
A. Press The Reset Button
You can reset your router via a reset button on the back of the device.
And since this button shouldn’t be confused with a reboot or on/off button, it has a different shape.
Most routers’ reset buttons are in the shape of a tiny hole you need to access using a sharp object like a paperclip or needle.
It’s recessed to prevent users from accidentally pushing it and resetting the router.
You can reset your router by inserting the paperclip inside the hole and keeping it for 10 to 15 seconds.
This will simply erase all your router data and customized settings to give it a fresh start.
B. The 30-30-30 Method
The best way to hard reset your router is the 30-30-30 method, ensuring the router has enough time to perform the reset.
Without turning off the router, insert the paper clip inside the reset button hole and hold it for 30 seconds.
Disconnect the router from the modem and the power cord and wait for another 30 seconds without releasing the reset button.
While you’re still holding down the button, connect the router’s power cable to turn on the router.
Hold the button for an additional 30 seconds and then release it.
C. Reset Your Router Remotely
You can factory reset your router via its web panel if you don’t have physical access to your router.
After entering the web interface, look for options that indicate resetting, such as Factory reset, Default Restore, Factory Restore, or just Reset.
Some routers allow you to save the router’s settings on a file and use it after the rest.
This way, you don’t need to enter and tweak new settings and can return to your previous settings by importing the saved file.