How Long Do Modems Last? [Modem Lifespan]

Like all electronics, modems don’t last forever. It’s important to know how long modems last so that you can expect when it needs to be replaced. How long do modems last?

Modems last from 2 to 5 years on average. How long a modem lasts depends on its quality, how well it’s cared for, and the technology updates that may affect its operation.

If a modem doesn’t get proper updates, it won’t last long, even if it is in good physical condition. Modem lifespan will also depend on the type of modem.

Read on to learn more about how long modems last and tips for ensuring your modem lasts as long as possible.

How Long Do Modems Last?

Depending on the quality, how much you take care of your modem, and the updates, your modem should last for two to five years. Your modem can be in good physical shape but it can stop working if it doesn’t receive proper updates.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) typically provides your modem. If the modem breaks down, your ISP will replace it. Generally, you should contact your ISP in two to five years after getting your modem, to get a replacement. So even if your modem is still working after a few years, it is still worth contacting your ISP to get a newer model. A newer modem can give you faster and more reliable internet speeds.

Some consumers reported that their modems lasted three to four years. And many have a modem that is functioning well for more than five years. There are also cases where the modem is still working, but it does not function as it is incompatible with newer devices.

So do modems go bad? Modems will go bad after about 2 to 5 years of use. You can prevent the modem from going bad by ensuring it has proper updates and is well-cared for.

how long do modems last

Tips for Making Your Modem Last Longer

1. Protect Your Modem from Electrical Surges by Using UPS

Electrical surges and spikes can damage your modem more quickly. You can protect your modem by using a surge protector, an AV regulator, or a UPS (uninterruptible power sources) with phone/coax protection.

This equipment protects your modem when brownout occurs or when the power is unstable.

You can plug your router into the surge protector as well, so both of your devices are protected from electrical surges.

2. Use a Separate Modem and Router

This may cost you, but using separate devices would avoid getting them both damaged simultaneously.

Your modem’s lifespan may also last longer. If you prefer to have a built-in router in your modem, then choose the most durable device out there.

3. Turn Off Your Modem When Not in Use for a Long Time

Another tip for making your modem last as long as possible is to turn it off when not in use for a long period of time. By turning off your modem, you could allow it to cool off or rest for a while. This is also one way of saving electricity and money.

Even though modems are made of durable material that could withstand prolonged use, it is still good to turn it off when you do not use it for several hours or days.

4. Keep the Modem in a Cool Place

The room could be air-conditioned but do not position it directly across the air-con as it may become damp or wet. Moisture or wetness could damage your modem, as it is an electrical device. Neither should you place it under direct sunlight as the extreme heat could also damage the modem.

5. Keep It Free of Dust and Dirt

To prevent dust accumulation, you could wipe it with a clean cloth, careful to wipe the hidden surfaces. Unplug it before cleaning. Avoid wetting it as it is not waterproof. Avoid cleaning electrical devices with water.

Only expert technicians can do that because they know what portion of the equipment should never become wet.

6. Let the Company Replace the Modem

To ensure your modem lasts for several years, your ISP should update it regularly. Eventually, though, they should replace it with a newer modem. The ISP usually provides the modem when they install your Internet connection.

You can contact your ISP when you need to replace the modem. The modem’s rental fee is generally included in your Internet fee. It may be more expensive if you buy your device.

Nevertheless, stick to your preferences and don’t adhere to standard practices just because everyone’s doing it. Buy your modem if it makes your connection quicker.

7. Choose the Most Durable Brand

If you purchase your own modem, ensure to purchase a high quality, durable brand. Durable modems may cost a little bit more, but their lifespan is longer. Your expenditure would be the same or even more if you buy a cheap modem three times within 4 years rather than buy a durable one once in 4 years.

Advantages of High-Performing Modems

1. Uploading and Downloading Online Is Fast

You can quickly download or upload data without the hassle of waiting for long hours. Almost everyone has an Internet connection. It is a vital part of every aspect of your life.

The majority of people need the Internet to work or engage in their personal affairs. So, having a fast connection is crucial to the success of everyone’s lives.

2. Smooth and Uninterrupted Viewing

You can watch your favorite shows and programs without interruption. The modem plays a vital role in your smooth Internet connection. You wouldn’t want your program to stop in the middle of an exciting game, would you? Hence, choose your modem well to avoid such mishaps.

3. You Can Access All Online Data

You could access all online data – even expert gaming – because your modem can accommodate the high-paced downloads of these games. You may have to finance for some services; however, the free materials you could get online are still worth your effort.

4. You Can Connect to the Internet

The modem is your road to the Internet highway. Without it, you would find difficulty in accessing the Internet. You could use broadband sticks, USBs, and other pocket devices, but the connection may be slow and intermittent.

Long-Lasting Modems

You may want to purchase your durable modem instead of renting it from your ISP. Here are some high-quality, long-lasting modems you can choose from.

1. Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem

This Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem is compatible with most American Internet Service Providers, such as COX, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Xfinity, CableOne, SuddenLink, Charter Spectrum, and many more. The Internet speed is up to 650 Mbps, providing you a high-speed and reliable Internet.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

How long do cable modems last? A cable modem, like the Motorola MB7621 tends to last longer than 5 years if it is well-cared for and receives proper updates.

2. Netgear Cable Modem CM500

The Netgear Cable Modem CM500 is compatible with all major American Internet providers, such as COX, Spectrum, and Xfinity by Comcast. However, it does not work with DirecTV, Verizon, DSL providers, Verizon, and CenturyLink. You can choose from cable plans up to 300 Mbps.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

3. ARRIS Cable Modem

This ARRIS cable modem is compatible with Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity, and other Internet providers. It is not compatible with CenturyLink, DSL or Fiber Internet providers, ATT and Verizon. It operates with 10+ Gbps, built to last for several years.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

How to Speed Up Your Modem?

You may want to utilize any or all of these methods to speed-up your connection.

1. Use Ethernet Cables

Using wires will increase your modem’s speed as the Internet gets connected directly to your device. You could directly connect your computer if it is within a short distance.

This action would free more bandwidth for other devices connected to your modem and Internet service.

If you are not using the device, you could turn it off to free some of your bandwidth. Your modem’s speed will surely increase.

2. Reboot the Modem

You could also reboot the modem by restarting it. You can turn it off or unplug it for a few seconds, count from 1,001 to 1,010, and then turn it on again. This simple restart process often solves slow connections.

3. Double Check the Coaxial Cable Connections

You should screw the coaxial cable tightly and securely into your modem. A loose screw would slow down your service. A wrongly connected cable could cause problems too. This improper connection could even short-circuit your modem and damage it.

4. Close Other Programs

Open only the programs you are working on and close the others. If you are only using MS Word and Google, close the rest. Many people often do multi-tasking.

They open their social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, while working on their PowerPoint presentations and online research.

Take note that some programs use massive bandwidth and this usage also slows down your computer. An example is a website on gaming. This website uses a lot of bandwidth, and you may need a dedicated server to access it.

5. Connect Directly to Your Router

You could connect directly to your router to speed up your connection. The bandwidth is concentrated on your device so that it can load quickly. If there are various devices connected to your Internet, a large number of users will slow down your Internet.                                                

6. Upgrade Your Modem Regularly

If you want to maintain your game, you may want to upgrade your modem every two years. The modem may still be working, but it may not be compatible with updated software or hardware. New apps are discovered almost every month, and if you fail to upgrade, you cannot access these new apps.

Also, when technical issues occur, your modem may be the culprit and not your ISP. The reverse may be also true. Check your device before making any changes.

How long does a modem last? A modem can last from two to five years. Their lifespan depends on various factors such as brand and how well you take care of your modem. Please take note that some app upgrades might affect their functionality due to incompatibility.

do modems go bad

What Is a Modem?

Some may not know that the box-shaped device that comes with their Internet is a modem. So, let’s define it.

A modem (modulator-demodulator) is a type of hardware device that converts digitally formatted data into an appropriate suitable medium to which it is connected.

An example is a Wi-Fi modem that would convert the digital Internet data it receives and sends them through a router to your computer, laptop, cellphone, or other devices connected to the modem.

In simple terms, a modem is a hardware that helps you connect to the Internet, so you could access all entertainment or Internet data from your office or home and on all your devices.

Do modems go bad? How long do modems last? Modems stop working properly or go bad after about 2 to 5 years. The modem will last longer if it receives proper updates and is well-cared for.

Types of Modems

Modems have three types, the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), the dial-up, and the cable.

1. DSL

The DSL or DSL broadband works by connecting your computer to a telephone line that allows subscribers to connect to the Internet.

2. Dial-Up

The Dial-Up also uses the Public-Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to dial a number and create a connection with an ISP. The modem will then decode the digital data or audio signals that you could access from your device.

3. Cable

The cable modem utilizes coaxial cables connecting to your modem and your cable box to deliver high-speed Internet to your computer, laptop, cell phone, or tablet.

The difference between the modems is the devices and services they are linked to. For example, the DSL Modem and Dial-Up Modem are connected to your telephone lines, while the Cable Modem is connected to your cable services.

The fastest modem is the cable modem, as it can speedily convert audio and digital data to access it swiftly.

Modem vs Router

The modem and router are similar-looking boxes, but they have slightly different functions.

The modem connects your network to the Internet provided by your ISP, while a router allows you to connect all your devices simultaneously to that Internet connection.

Nowadays, many modems have built-in routers that you can use conveniently without having to add a router. Devices could also ‘talk’ to one another within your home Internet connection.

Conclusion – How Long Does a Modem Last?

Modems last from two to five years on average. Modems last depending on their quality, how well you take care of them, and the technology updates that may affect their operation.

How users take care of their modems is one crucial factor in its longevity. Follow the tips mentioned above, and your modem would surely last longer than expected.  

Also, all modems can get damaged by wear and tear, so don’t expect it to last a lifetime. In about 3 to 5 years after getting your modem, call your Internet provider to get a replacement. This way you ensure you get the fastest and most reliable speeds.