Wireless Automation Systems: Resetting Your Router

Nearly every home in America connected to the internet utilizes a wireless router/modem device. In your home, the device may be provided by your ISP or you may have one that you own. Regardless, you know there are times when your internet service seems to stop dead in its tracks, requiring you to reset the router by turning it off and back on again. You may find you have to do this more frequently after installing a wireless home automation system.

With hundreds of millions of global Internet users connecting billions of devices every day, it would be impossible to assign static IP addresses to everything. So ISPs have to assign dynamic addresses (‘dynamic’ means they change) to connected routers. The routers turn around and assign dynamic IPs to the devices connected to them. But just like a desktop or laptop computer, routers hold onto old information that may have changed with the assignment of a new IP address. Eventually, a router’s internal memory can fill up and simply stop working. That’s why you need a reset.

Home Automation Uses Tremendous Resources

Wireless home automation systems, because they are running and communicating constantly, use a tremendous amount of the resources on a limited wi-fi network. This presents a couple of challenges. First, older routers that are more than 3 or 4 years old do not tend to handle complex automation systems very well. They just don’t have the robust power needed by current automation technology.

Second, even modern routers on the entry-level end of the scale may suffer performance issues if weighed down by home automation. They require more frequent resets to keep them functioning. If a homeowner has to reset a router more than once a month, it might be time to upgrade to something better able to handle the traffic.

Here’s how to know when your router is struggling to keep up:

  • Dropped IP Addresses – Wireless routers assign temporary digital leases to connected devices. If you connect your smartphone to your network whenever you are home, its digital lease should never expire. A frequently expiring lease that results in your phone constantly getting a new IP address suggests your router is dropping leases to free up limited resources.
  • Slow Internet Access – With the average broadband connection, it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to load a basic web page that isn’t heavy on graphics or videos. If you find your web browser is slowing down when accessing your favorite sites, do a reset and see what happens. A temporary performance boost tells you the router is slowing down over time.
  • Stalled Service – Some routers will get so bogged down they eventually stall internet service altogether. You’ll bring up the browser on your computer, but it will simply not load the page – even though you are connected to your local network. A reset will fix it, but it also indicates an upgrade is in order.

Wireless home automation systems can put a lot of stress on wi-fi networks. Your best bet for avoiding problems is to purchase a router with as much internal RAM as possible. Purchasing a dual-band router is even better. It would allow you to completely separate your home automation system on its own band.

One last suggestion is to purchase a recycling device. This device plugs into a wall outlet and can be programmed to reset the router at any time of the night or day. You could reset yours in the middle of the night without cutting the power supply to your home automation and security devices.