How to reset your router and modem.
If web pages won’t load or streaming video keeps buffering, resetting your router and modem is one of the first things to try, as it can fix a host of Wi-Fi or Internet connection issues. .
This works like restarting your Windows PC when it’s having problems. Your router and modem software will shut down and restart in a new state. When you restart your modem, it will reconnect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Some routers, especially older ones, can slow down over time while running. This is a software problem and a quick reboot can fix it.
Locate your router and modem
Your wireless router likely has visible antennas. It is the device that hosts your Wi-Fi network. Your router connects to your modem, which is the device that communicates with your internet service provider.
These may not be two separate devices. Some ISPs offer router and modem combo units, so you may only have one device to reboot.
If in doubt, find your wireless router and see what it’s connected to. If it’s plugged directly into a wall outlet, it’s likely a combo unit. If you’re connected to another device, which then plugs into a power outlet, you have two devices, and the other is your modem.
Restart your router and modem
This is a simple process and won’t do anything fancy. You will lose your Internet and Wi-Fi connection during the reset process, but everything will automatically reconnect in a few minutes.
First, turn off the power to both the router and the modem (or just one device, if it’s a combo unit). You should see a power connection on the back of each device.
We recommend waiting at least ten seconds before plugging them back in; wait 30 if you want to be thorough.
Waiting ensures that your router and modem capacitors fully discharge and forget about any settings. It also ensures that the modem will lose connection with your ISP and you will need to reset it. Waiting may not always be necessary, but it ensures that everything is completely shut down and ready to go again.
Reconnect power to your modem. (If you have a combo drive, just plug it back in.) The lights on your modem will turn on, it will start up and reconnect with your ISP. This process can take a few minutes.
You can tell if it’s done by monitoring the lights on your modem; they may flash different colors or a different pattern while connecting. There may also be an “Internet” light that turns green when the connection is established.
Finally, reconnect your router to its power source. Your lights will come on; if they don’t, you may need to press a power switch on your router, but this is rare.
Your router will reboot, connect to your modem, and reset your Wi-Fi network. Your wireless devices will begin to reconnect to Wi-Fi, although it may take a few minutes to do so. You may want to wait a few more minutes before testing to see if your issue is resolved.
When you’re ready, try using your connection normally and see if everything works. If you’ve given it some time and the lights on your modem are flashing strangely, the problem could be on your ISP’s side.
If you find yourself regularly rebooting your router to troubleshoot, try automatically rebooting it on a schedule.
A faster way to reset your router
The method above is the longer, drawn-out version of this process. In our experience, it’s often good enough to simply unplug your modem and router from power, wait ten seconds, and then plug them back in. They will automatically reboot and sort things out.
However, some routers may have problems with this if they are connected before the modem has connected to the Internet. Other devices may need more than ten seconds to make sure everything is erased.
The first method is the safest to ensure that you are performing a hard reset and a graceful reset on any modems and routers. However, if you have to frequently restart your devices to fix problems, try this faster method and see if it works for you. It might save you some time.
Reboot vs. Reset
Note that “resetting” a router is another process. This term refers to performing a “factory reset” on your router, which erases all your custom settings and returns it to its factory default state. This option may be available in your router’s web interface. You may also see a “Reset” button on your router, usually a small hole button that needs a bent paperclip to hold down, which will factory reset your router.
Resetting is also a useful troubleshooting step if you’re having problems, but it’s different than simply resetting your router or modem. It’s like the difference between restarting your computer and reinstalling Windows (or “reset,” as it’s called in Windows 10).