All you need to know about updating router's firmware

Many forums and websites talk about updating your router's firmware or flashing your firmware like it's the easiest thing in the world, without realizing that if you don't have a lot of PC experience, such a thing sounds difficult and even scary. This is why, I've decided to write a short guide to help you out through this process. If you stick with me, you'll find out not only why you may want to update your firmware, but also the steps that you need to take.

In case you're unfamiliar with the term, firmware defines a software programmed in the read-only memory of embedded systems like routers, cameras, traffic lights, etc., providing low-level control over the device. You can think of it as the router's BIOS, even though it's not exactly the same thing. If you're curios about why would someone want to update the firmware, it's because newer version patch fixes bugs, security issues and, in certain cases, can even expand the device's functionality.

Unfortunately, there are tons of router brands and models out there and each of them has their own quirks, so it's impossible for me to give you a button-by-button guide into updating your firmware. However, the vast majority of devices follow the same pattern (due to an industry standard), so I'm going to offer a general guide and I trust that you can adapt it to your situation, even though the buttons that you're pressing don't say the exact same thing.

Before we begin, you should know that once the new firmware has begun installing, shutting down or restarting the router during the process can and, most likely will, permanently damage the device. Here are the steps that you need to take:

  1. Go to the manufacturer's website (Google the brand of your router) and download the latest firmware made for your device model.
  2. Open your router's interface and log in; unless you have a special application installed on your PC or mobile device, you should do this through the router's web interface (the same one that you use to configure the router).
  3. Look for the Firmware category, which should be somewhere under System, Administration or Advanced Settings.
  4. Check to see if you have an automatic check for firmware upgrades and use it if you do; in case you don't go to step 5.
  5. The menu that opens up should have a Browse button; click on it and select the file that you've just downloaded.
  6. Click on the Update or Upgrade button and wait for the process to complete without interrupting it.

Lastly, after the firmware updating process is complete, check to see if your settings are still in place. In many cases, flashing the router will completely reset the device, removing all the configurations that you had in place.

Now that you've found out all you needed to know about updating the router's firmware, you might also want to read some of our other interesting and useful guides such as: "How to increase the power of your WiFi signal" or "How to fix your PC's USB ports".

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