Have you ever asked, “Do modems slow down over time?” Let’s get to the bottom of this once and for all.
You’ll notice this when your ISP gives you a significant speed boost, but you don’t see any improvements on your end.
Subscribers with older hardware are the ones that are mostly affected.
Let me explain why this can happen to you.
So, Do modems slow down over time?
Yes, they do! There is such a thing as modem speeds, and if your internet goes beyond this, you’re essentially bottlenecked. The same goes for WiFi modems. New technologies offer faster transfer speeds, so your modem can get left out and be slower.
Let’s look at the different reasons why your modem can slow down over time:
Reasons Why Your Modem Slows Down Over Time
Before diving deeper into modem speeds and how it slows down your internet, let’s look at the different reasons why it happens.
Slow modems are a serious issue and are often neglected as it’s the last place you’ll look for.
1. Old And Outdated Hardware
Internet technologies, including WiFi, are popping up left and right.
If your modem is at least 5 years old, there’s a good chance it’s already outdated compared to the latest available tech.
2. Firmware Issue
Outdated or corrupted software can also cause your modem to slow down.
It’s easy not to update your modem’s firmware, but it can cause significant slowdowns in your internet speeds.
3. Too Much Heat
Your modem can also overheat. Although, it’s not something to look out for. However, if you’re running older versions, they can start to heat up as their hardware starts to fail.
4. Processing Power
A modem can only process so much information before it hits the wall. The RAM can also leak, which can lead to a significant decrease in speeds.
Now that you have a good idea of why your modem can slow down over time let’s look at how you can spot it quickly and take the necessary steps to resolve it.
What Does a Modem Do
Your modem is essentially a translator of the internet. Internet signals from your ISP are not readily usable by the different devices in your home.
If you connect the cable from your provider directly to a computer, nothing will happen.
You can think of your modem as the middleman that does all the conversion so that your devices can access the internet.
From this, we can say that the modem is an essential part of your network and making sure it’s not slowing down is a priority.
Modems, Technology, and Ultra-fast Bandwidths
Internet and WiFi technology evolve super-fast. There’s a lot to unpack, from gigabit ethernet to the entire alphabet of WiFi suffixes.
You must remember that your modem needs to keep up with these insanely fast internet speeds.
Optimizing Your Internet and Modem Speeds
Let’s say you upgraded and got gigabit internet from your internet provider.
From your ISP to your home, you will be getting internet speeds of at least 1 Gbps.
However, the modem you currently have at home is only capable of 300 Mbps.
This means that from the modem to your devices, you’re only going to enjoy speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
The same goes for WiFi modems.
If you have at least gigabit internet, you want to get a modem that supports 802.11ac, so you’ll be able to enjoy the full bandwidth of your internet.
Here’s what you need to know between your internet plan and modem:
- Know your internet’s bandwidth or data rate.
- Know the data rate of your modem.
- These numbers should closely match.
- If not, make sure that the larger data rate is your modem’s.
Note: Get a modem that supports WiFi 6, they should offer you the best optimization for your super-fast internet.
What Does This Mean for Your Modem
Now that you know that your modem essentially translates the internet so your devices can use them, you want to use the best one for your network set up.
A modem can severely limit your bandwidth, especially if you use older hardware. However, it can’t help you speed it up.
You also need to watch out for any firmware updates. Regular updates can give you breathing space and improve your modem’s performance.
Here are some of the things you need to consider with your modem:
- Your modem needs to support your internet speeds.
- You can get a faster modem for future-proofing your setup.
- If your ISP bumps your speeds, ask if you need to upgrade your modem.
- If your modem is over 5 years old, consider upgrading it.
- Check for firmware updates regularly.
Tip: Modems from your ISP usually come with your subscription and you don’t have to pay additional fees for an upgrade.
How to Know If Your Modem is Slowing Down
You’ll know if your modem is bad or slowing down since you will feel the effect on your connection.
There are certain signs that will tell you this is happening, and you want to be able to notice it as soon as possible.
Prolonging it can lead to bigger issues, limiting your options later down the road.
Here are some of the troubling signs you need to look out for:
- Your internet is dropping out often.
- Your modem randomly restarts.
- Test your internet speed and compare it with your plan.
- Check if your modem is overheating.
These signs will usually tell you that your modem is starting to slow down. You’re still in the early stages, but if you continue to ignore it, it can cause your modem to malfunction completely.
Whenever you experience these issues, it’s best to start knowing your options so you can take the necessary actions to fix them.
Tip: Make sure that your modem has “breathing space” and is not crammed with other heat-generating devices to avoid overheating.
What to Do If Your Modem Is Showing Signs of Slowing Down
The first thing you need to do is not panic. You want to determine your modem’s age. If it’s over 5 years, it needs replacing.
The good thing with modems is that your ISP provides it for you. All you need to do is contact them and ask for a replacement.
They’ll happily replace it for you.
If you want quick fixes, there are a few you can take that should tide you over until you figure out a more permanent solution.
Here are some of the things you can do if your modem starts to slow down:
- Reboot your modem. Leave it off for at least 5 minutes.
- Update your modem’s firmware.
- Reset it to factory settings.
These steps should help you figure out what’s wrong with your modem. These should fix your slow connection issues if it’s not too old.
However, if they don’t, you want to consider contacting your ISP to get a replacement or a new one.
Note: Unplugging your modem and waiting at least 2 to 5 minutes before powering it back on also helps resolve slow internet.
Read Next: Can I Plug My Modem Into Any Phone Line?
We’ve covered everything you need to know that answers your question: “Do modems slow down over time?”
Hopefully, you now have the necessary knowledge to see the signs of a slowing modem so you can make changes to improve it.
If you feel like your modem is slowing down, we recommend contacting your ISP and asking for a replacement. They’ll happily give you one that should support your current internet plan.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.