How to update your router’s firmware: A universal guide

How to update your router’s firmware: A universal guide

March 11, 2024 privacy 0

Installing the latest firmware update on your router may seem like something you’d have to do yourself, but most routers have an update process that keeps their firmware automatically upgraded. However, it’s still good cybersecurity practice to look at your router’s settings from time to time and ensure that it’s always running the new firmware version to prevent unwanted access to your router’s Wi-Fi network. Here’s a guide on how to update your router firmware. How do you know if your router needs a firmware update? In the best-case scenario, your router’s firmware is already scheduled to update itself whenever a new security patch is released the moment after it’s installed and activated by your router provider. However, this may not always be the case, especially if you’re using an old router running an older firmware version. You’ll have to manually check via a web browser on your laptop or smartphone and run the “Update” feature to see if a new firmware update is compatible with your router. Specific steps in this process will be discussed further below. Newer routers have systems that automatically download an available firmware upgrade once released. You don’t need to keep tabs if new firmware is available for your specific router. Some brands will also announce the latest firmware on the router manufacturer’s website, so that’s another good place to check if a new version of your router’s firmware is available. How to update the firmware on your router If you want to ensure that your router firmware is up to date without waiting for it to download the newest firmware upgrade automatically, you’ll have to dive into your router’s settings. If you’re worried that your specific router brand (such as if you have an Asus router or Linksys router) affects how you update your router’s firmware, these instructions can apply to many routers regardless of brand or model number unless otherwise specified on your router manufacturer’s website. 1. Find your router’s IP address To access your router’s configuration page, you’ll need to find its corresponding IP address. Most of the time, it’s, though some routers may have different configurations. If the above address doesn’t work, you can check the bottom of your router for the sticker containing your Wi-Fi details. Your IP address should be listed on the same sticker. Alternatively, you can find your router’s IP address via the ipconfig command for the Windows operating system: Click the search field or “Start” button from your Windows homepage. Type “cmd” to run the “Command Prompt.” In the window that appears, type “ipconfig.” The screen should display your router’s IP address underneath “Default gateway.” Choose the “Default gateway” under the default adapter, as this may change if you use Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable. If you’re using Mac OS, you can navigate to Apple’s “System preferences” menu to find out the router IP address of the connection that you’re currently using: Click the Apple menu and open “System preferences.” Click “Network”, then navigate to your active Wi-Fi connection. Click “Advanced.” Look for your router’s address under the “Router” entry in the “TCP/IP” tab. Type in your router’s IP address into any browser Once you’ve managed to secure your router’s IP address, simply type it in the search bar of whatever browser you’re using. Because of the sensitivity of the information, some browsers will attempt to block your access to your router’s login page as a security measure. In these situations, simply choose the option to proceed to the login page. 2. Log into your router Once connected to your router, you’ll be asked to enter your username and password to access the configuration page. In most scenarios, these details are also included in the sticker, where you can find your router’s IP address. If you’ve already changed your default login information (and forgot the details), you’ll have to reset your router by pressing the reset button on the device. You may also check your router’s user manual for information on what to do after you’ve pressed the reset button or call your router’s manufacturer/customer support team for more help. 3. Find the router firmware update settings After logging in, you’ll be taken to a homepage that contains all of the configuration settings for your router. You’ll want to navigate to the “Advanced settings” tab, as that’s the menu that’s most likely to have the technical information and settings about your router and your router’s network. Some routers have a dedicated section to their firmware in their settings, while others may group them with the “About” tab of your specific router model. 4. Check for available firmware updates Once you’re in the corresponding router firmware menu, check if there’s a button to download the latest firmware automatically. Some routers will be able to tell you the current version of firmware you’re using and whether there’s any new firmware available for download. In most situations, checking for the latest firmware will automatically download that version for your router. 5. Download the updates (if available) If there’s a new available router firmware, click “Download” or “Install” immediately. An update shouldn’t take very long as a firmware file isn’t too big, though make sure your internet connection is stable to avoid any problems while downloading the update. Given that router firmware is closely tied to the security of your device and internet connection, downloading an update may sometimes cause a brief interruption in your network connection. Depending on the age of your router, you may find it necessary to restart your router to ensure that the changes have taken effect. You may also set your router to download any new firmware update automatically, so you don’t need to manually update it. Some newer routers may ask if you want to download beta firmware automatically — it’s best to avoid doing this because these files can potentially affect the performance of your router. Always select the stable option for automatic router firmware updates. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles} Update router firmware through the manufacturer’s website Most router manufacturers (especially those that produce newer models) aim to make router firmware updates as convenient and automatic as possible. This is because router firmware is closely linked to the overall security strength of that particular router model and is shared across all similar router models. Without a regular update, the security of every router user could be compromised. However, there may be situations where you’ll have to install a firmware update from your router’s manufacturer. This is usually necessary if there’s a new firmware update but the update hasn’t appeared in your router’s settings yet or if a firmware update was launched very recently in response to a security concern with your router’s model. Here’s how to update router firmware manually: Visit your router’s manufacturer’s website. Check for the “Support” section. Typically, this will contain a collection of firmware files that are stable enough for release. Enter your router’s model number in the search bar. You can find your router model number on the same sticker that contains your Wi-Fi details and other login information. A list of firmware files associated with your specific router model number will appear. Download the latest version of the firmware file for your router. This will usually be in a .zip file format. Return to your router’s configuration page and access the “Advanced settings” menu. Most routers will have a “Manual firmware update/install” option under their firmware menu. Click this option. Upload the firmware file you downloaded from the “Support” page earlier, then click the “Install/update” button. Wait for the firmware to install. You may have to reboot your router after the installation is complete, especially if you have an older router or you’re upgrading from an old firmware version. Otherwise, you can resume your online activities as normal. What’s the difference between the two firmware update methods? Logging into your router and downloading a firmware file from the router manufacturer’s website hardly differ from how you do it. The same firmware file that your router will automatically download will also be the one on the website’s “Support” section. However, there are some differences between why you’d want to download a firmware update manually vs. having it automatically installed: You want to use a specific firmware version. If you’re troubleshooting problems with your internet connection, you may want to use different firmware versions for your router to see if it’s a potential culprit. This may also apply if you’re modifying your router, such as setting up a VPN. You want to use beta firmware. Beta firmware can technically be considered the latest security updates available to your router. However, most experts recommend not downloading this as it hasn’t been certified as stable enough for public use. You’re applying a specific hotfix. In rare cases (usually, if a security breach or vulnerability has been discovered in the router), the manufacturer would recommend that you manually download the firmware file in case your router’s downloading capabilities have been compromised. Your firmware update fails. Depending on your internet connection, your router may sometimes download a firmware file incorrectly, causing it to malfunction after installation. In these cases, you can choose the specific firmware file to manually install so that it functions properly. In any of these situations, it’s important to have a basic grasp of how to update router firmware to prevent any malfunctions from happening. When to not update router firmware As discussed earlier, many popular brands of routers will usually have their devices pre-set to download any firmware update automatically. While manual downloads of a firmware update are always possible, there are situations where it’s best not to attempt to mess with your router settings. The most prominent of these cases is when you don’t have confidence in your technical know-how in navigating and changing your router’s settings. If you attempt to update your router’s firmware without knowing how to do it properly, you risk changing essential settings that can cause disruptions to your smooth and secure browsing activity. At worst, attempting to change router settings while not knowing how to update router firmware may leave security holes in your router security, potentially allowing unwanted access to your device and network. If your technician has installed your router correctly the first time, you should be fine leaving your router as is to download firmware automatically.

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