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How Long Do Modems Last? Should You Replace Yours?

If you have a modem, you probably already know it’s what connects you to the internet. Every day your modem is almost constantly in use, whether you’re checking your email or streaming the latest shows. The ever-increasing connection of our daily lives with the internet means that you need to have a quality modem that will last for years of use.

Have you ever wonedered how long modems last and wondering when your modem might need to be replaced? Today we’re going to answer these questions and more.

Do You Even Need a Modem?

Fiber internet frees you from needing a modem. When you switch to a fiber internet provider like EPB, you will never have to worry about a modem aging or becoming obsolete and you will get the best download speeds possible. If you’re worried about your modem, consider first switching to a fiber internet provider like EPB and you can get rid of your modem once and for all.

how long does a modem last

How Long Does a Modem Last?

Most modems last for about 2-3 years but higher quality modems can last for 5-8 years. Most high quality modems end up being replaced because they become outdated, not because they have broken down.

The average modem will typically only provide the minimum levels of service and features and will last for a couple of years. More advanced modems have a comprehensive set of features, last about 5-8 years, and are ideal if you are working from home or spend large amounts of time online every day.

You should know that some modems can have issues that could not be avoided. This can be from manufacturing problems to a mismatch with the kind of use that you need access to due to a change in job or a change in activities.

Things That Impact Average Modem Lifespan

If you have an older modem, you might be wondering how to help your modem last through another few years of service. While modems are not significantly expensive, these are not the cheapest part of your internet setup. It is understandable if you want to get the maximum lifespan from your device.

Making sure that your modem is set up in a good location that is not at risk for heat, cold, or wet can make a huge difference in its overall lifespan. This should be your key focus when you are setting up any modem that you have purchased.

how long does a modem last

How To Make Your Modem Last Longer

Use a surge protector to limit the voltage that can flow to your modem.
This will help your modem to stay safe even if there is a power surge. Even a new modem will benefit from this protection.

Put your modem where it cannot be knocked over or bumped into.
You should also make sure that it will not get hot or get wet due to moisture in the air. Avoid locations that experience large temperature shifts during the day.

Consider turning it off at night.
When your modem is not plugged in, it will not be at risk of surge damage as well as heat damage. The problem with this plan, however, is that turning electronics on and off is often the most taxing part of their operation.

When Should You Replace a Modem?

Modems should be replaced for a few reasons. Obviously, outright failure requires that your modem be replaced. But when you have a high-end modem, this might not be a key sign that something is wrong and that you need a new modem. The modem and the router that you have work together, so sometimes when you replace one, you may need to replace the other.

Reduced Speeds and Reduced Connection Quality

If you feel that your internet speeds have decreased or you are seeing issues with increased buffering and lagging or breaking in the connection, it could be time for a new modem. You can easily test your internet speed with online tools like This can help you to see patterns of reduced speeds and ensure that you are aware of the problem before your modem fails completely. This is often one of the earliest signs that something is wrong with your modem and that it is at the end of its lifespan. However, your internet connection speed—and not your modem—might be the bottleneck. Contact your internet provider to understand what speed you should be able to achieve and ask for their advice on whether or not you need a new modem.

when should you replace your modem

Access to New Features

While your modem might not be failing you, it might be too old to take advantage of new technologies that offer improved browsing speeds and a better internet experience. These updates happen over time and some modems will not be able to access these features that have been made available by your ISP.

Internet Service Provider Changes

In most areas, people do not have much choice about the internet service provider (ISP) that they are using. This means that you are at the mercy of the company if they make changes to their networking standards and your modem is not supported. This can be very frustrating but there is little that you can do except upgrade or replace your modem when it comes to pass. Some internet service providers will provide a modem as part of your service.

Why an Old Modem Can be a Problem

You might be thinking that your modem is still running fine and you really don’t need to replace it. This might be the case. However, there are some considerations that you need to have in mind when deciding on updating your equipment.

Modems Get Hot Each Day

Heat is the enemy of all electronics and modems often get warm during periods of heavy use. While your modem might not be showing signs of wear and tear yet, modems that are five years and older are probably at daily risk for shorting out and ceasing to work. This kind of failure might be a really bad surprise for those who work remotely or for people who need the internet on a daily basis for school and other activities.

when do you need a new modem

Reduced Internet Speeds and Performance

As mentioned before, reduced connection speeds and poor performance are key signs that your modem is starting to have problems. This can be your first warning sign that you need to get a new modem before you are left without internet connectivity due to your modem failing. Besides, reduced speeds and less-than-ideal connection quality is not really something that anyone should tolerate these days with all the high-speed internet options that are out there to access.

Internet Service Provider Changes

When your ISP makes changes to what they are offering, this can make your modem obsolete instantly. Since your modem must be able to work with the connectivity that they are providing, this can mean that you will need a new modem if they make a significant change. However, this type of change is fairly uncommon.

Should You Replace Your Modem?

At the end of the day, modems are not meant to be used for ten or twenty years. Technology changes as well as changes to internet standards necessitate that any modem that you buy will have to be replaced on a somewhat regular basis. You should always consider replacing your modem if you have found out that your modem style will soon become obsolete. You should also consider a replacement if you are having issues with performance that seems to be predicting failure in the near term.

Most of us use the internet for hours nearly every single day, so being without a modem is not really practical. Having the foresight to replace your modem when it seems to be showing signs that it will break down is a good rule of thumb. This can prevent you being forced offline for a few days while you get a new one. Having some foresight and budgeting for a new modem and router in advance can be a good plan as well.

If you own a high-quality modem, it is likely that its components will outlast changes to ISP offerings and technology. The reality of modern internet use is that modems will almost always have to be replaced before their component lifespan due to changes in the way that the internet is delivered to your home or business.

lifespan of a modem
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