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Did you know that WiFi routers “wear out” or fail slowly?  We are on our third one now, when I got it configured and back online Gary said “It’s like I got a brand new computer”.

Quite a few years back when we had a 5 MB (megabit) connection, I found that our internet activities were slowing down. Thinking it was the cable company, and it sometimes is, I called and spoke with a technician who really knew what he was doing. He had me do a speed test with my set up as it was. Then I did the same test again, this time with my computer connected right to the cable modem and thereby bypassing the router. To my surprise the speed results shot upwards. Therefore the router was the culprit. Replacing it resolved the speed problem. So if you feel your internet connection is slowing down and your ISP says it’s not on their side, do a speed test with your router in place and then one with your computer connected directly to the cable modem. Our ISP has a dedicated speed test on their servers which eliminates hops or nodes between our cable modem and the server, which can make comparing speeds problematic.

Back to the present, where we have a 50 MB internet connection. Gary was complaining that the internet sucked. We both were having wi-fi stability issues like dropped connections and “your computer is no longer connected to the internet” errors. We are both using OS X Yosemite which has a nasty history of wi-fi bugs, making it harder to pinpoint the problem. I noticed that these problems went away after I rebooted the router. So it was time to go router shopping. I bought a Netgear AC1900 Nighthawk R7000 router, and things are good again. This router was highly rated by Consumer Reports, and I found several positive reviews on it as well. Plus I am a Netgear fan, their products work well. Configuration and set up is much easier than in the past, too. Just make sure you change all the default passwords!

I don’t know why routers “slow fail” like this. There are no moving mechanical parts. Electronics tend to fail completely and go dark when the end of their service life is reached. A mystery I guess.