How Long Do Modems Last

As a network expert, I’ve had to change and replace many modems over the years. It’s also worth noting that they endure longer than you may think.

Many people do not have to change a modem to acquire a quicker internet. However, you’ll never be able to obtain faster internet than what your data bundle offers.

Hence, this blog will highlight how long do modems last and when you need to replace them. Let’s find more about modems:

What Modem Actually Is?

The box-shaped device that connects your computer to the internet is a modem, but many people have no idea what it is.

So, let’s get down to the specifics. An electronic device is a modem (modulator-demodulator) that transfers digitally structured data to the media linked to it.

For instance, you may use a Wi-Fi modem to transmit digital Internet data to your computer, laptop, or mobile phone through a network linked to the Wi-Fi modem.

A modem is a piece of hardware that allows you to connect to the broadband, allowing you to access all of your entertainment and net data from any location and on multiple devices.

Is it possible for higher quality modems to become damaged? A modem’s average lifespan is typically measured in years.

After 2 to 5 years, modems cease operating correctly or become defective. However, if you take good care of your modem and keep it up to date, it will live longer.

Types of Modems

Types of Modems

Modems come in three varieties: Digital Subscriber Line, dial-up, and cable-based.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

You may only make a connection through telephone lines connected to the DSL or DSL broadband service.


Dial-Up also utilizes the PSTN to dial a number and connect with an ISP. Afterward, the modem decodes any digital data or audio signals your gadget may have sent.


High-speed data access for your computer, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet is provided via the cable modem through coaxial wires connected to your modem and your cable box.

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

When it comes to speed, nothing beats a cable modem’s ability to convert audio and digital data so quickly.

Differences Between a Modem and a Router

In terms of appearance, the modem and router are pretty similar, although they perform somewhat different tasks.

The modem links your network to the net offered by your ISP, whereas a router enables you to connect all of your devices concurrently to that broadband.

Many models now come with built-in routers, so you don’t have to buy a separate one. In addition, devices connected to your home broadband may potentially “speak” to one other.

A Modem’s Typical Service Life

A normal Modem works for more than five years, while modem/router combos (also known as gateways) work three to four years.

This goes against a lot of what you’ll see online, which often encourages people to make changes before they’re ready. For example, many ISPs advise customers need to replace their modems every three years.

There are just a few reasons to get a new modem in the first place. These are the ones I’d like to point out:

  • If anything goes wrong with your modem and your warranty has expired, you’re out of luck.
  • As a result, your old net is incompatible with your new ISP.
  • You’ve just upped your data package, but your modem isn’t up to the task.
  • Your internet connection drops due to the malfunction in your modem.
  • If you want to use a new service, such as VoIP, that isn’t supported by your current modem.
  • You may find more information about them in the sections below.

Reasons that Make You Change Your Modem

Reasons that Make You Change Your Modem

You cant rely on a modem’s lifespan as with most electronic devices. Your modem’s performance starts to deteriorate for a variety of reasons.

Each modem type performs the same functions when connecting to the broadband. Therefore, asking yourself, “Do I need a new modem?” might be complicated.

No longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty since it breaks or malfunctions.

Accidentally breaking or often malfunctioning modems are usually covered by a one- to a two-year warranty. After that, your modem’s lifespan might be shortened by environmental factors such as heat, dust, and power outages.

If a modem’s warranty has expired, the manufacturer will no longer repair or replace it. You should then purchase a new modem.

Your modem Doesn’t Work with Your New ISP

Every internet service provider (ISP) maintains a list of permitted modems for use with their service.

So, if you change ISPs and your modem isn’t present on their list, you won’t access it. If that’s the case, probably, it won’t function on your network.

Changing from DSL to cable, for example, is likely to result in this because no DSL modem is compatible with cable net.

It’s not always possible to switch cable providers and keep the same modem.

 The speed of your modem is insufficient for the newer Internet plan you’ve selected.

It’s also a good idea to get a new modem if the speed of your gadget and the Internet service you’re paying for isn’t equal.

For example, a 400 Mbps plan is an example of an upgrade. A modem capable of 200 megabits per second will be your maximum speed if you have a package with 400 Mbps.

Your Modem Is to Blame for a Poor Internet Speed.

My modem doesn’t support my internet speed. It’s not working for some reason, and as a result, you’re experiencing a slow connection. When this is the case, you will need to make specific changes.

Whether you’re not sure if the slow internet is coming from your modem, try attaching a desktop directly to it and doing a speed test that way instead.

It’s possible to add a service that your old modem doesn’t support to expand your internet options.

VoIP applications, for example, demand the use of modems that support eMTA. Feature not seen in most cable modems. You will need a new modem if you want to add this feature.

You may be able to get a free modem from your ISP because there are no third-party authorized modems with eMTA functionality for sale by most ISPs.

What Are Gateways?

What Are Gateways

Although many of the reasons for changing a modem may also apply to modem combinations, there are additional considerations you should keep in mind.

Gateways are more likely to replace standalone modems because of their router capabilities.

In addition to signal strength, your gateway’s longevity influences it. This is because the signal strength of a gateway decreases with time.

Because of this, gateways have a shorter lifetime than conventional modems.

Most modems may survive up to seven years, but gateways can last just four years or such.

Gateways are more likely to be changed than modems since they are not updated as regularly.

It’s essential to keep an eye on the activity of your gateway to identify when it’s time to upgrade.

When Should You Replace Your Modem?

Several variables influence how long you should wait before upgrading your modem. The quality of your internet depends on several factors, including the kind of network gear you own or rent, as well as the networking technology your ISP uses.

Replacing your modem is a good idea if:

  • You’re no longer pleased with the internet connection’s speed and want to build quality.
  • With the addition of these new features, there is no going back.
  • Your modem doesn’t support the modern networking standards that your internet service provider does.

A new DOCSIS standard for cable internet is typically released every four to seven years. It reflects that you should upgrade your cable modem every 3 to 4 years to get the quickest, best-quality connection.

New standards aren’t often adopted promptly by cable internet service providers, though. So as long as your internet service provider (ISP) doesn’t yet support the newer DOCSIS standard, you may hold off on purchasing a latest modem until they do.

Does My Modem Need an Upgrade?

To know whether it’s time to replace your old modem, you must consider a few things. In most cases, it’s worth it to replace your modem if it’s more than ten years old.

Your internet service plan, available plans from your internet provider, and whether or not upgrading will enhance your service are all factors to consider if you have a more recent modem.

It’s also a good idea to examine if you’ll be renting or owning your modem. Even while buying a modem is typically a better decision if you want to stay in the same area and use the same ISP for many years, renting offers the advantage that your ISP may provide frequent free updates.

You can upgrade your modem if you rent it and have used it for over 2 years.

If your modem encounters a problem, you should go for a replacement. For example, your rental modem may have obsolete technology or worn-out internal components like capacitors, even if you’ve only used it for a short period.

Your Internet service provider’s official list of supported modems might help you determine whether your modem is compatible.

In addition, consider upgrading to a newer modem if your current modem does not support the unique networking standard your ISP offers, such as DOCSIS 3.1 vs. 3.0, or if your current modem does not have the functionality you desire.

How Will You Know Your Modem is Going Bad?

A modem may operate well one day and fail the next without prior notice. It’s as if you flipped a light switch when a critical internal component breaks.

However, whether a less vital element breaks, you may notice a few warning signals that might help you determine if your modem needs repair.

If your modem shows any of the following symptoms, it’s time to get a new one.

  • You are resetting the modem regularly.
  • Frequently, your internet connection fails to function correctly.
  • You’ve got a poor internet connection.
  • Sound of the modem buzzing or humming
  • There is a problem with the modem’s LEDs.
  • The modem’s indicator lights are not working.
  • Your ISP has reported no outages, yet you cannot access the internet.
  • Even after you unplug it and plug again, the modem would not turn on.

Conclusion: Pay Attention to Your Modem

The modem comes with a solid and reliable technology that lives longer. Nevertheless, with the rapid advancement of technology, older models may no longer be compatible with fast Internet connections.

You should consider changing your modem or gateway if problems start to arise. Modems typically survive for four to seven years, while gateways usually last for three to four.

Keep your gadgets for at least four years, notwithstanding the advice of numerous modem makers, internet service providers (ISPs), and other websites. However, to avoid buying a new modem too soon, keep an eye on your current modem.

This list of modems compatible with your ISP might help you determine whether you need a new one.

If your modem is often giving you problems, renting a modem may be the best option for you. For example, when it’s performing strangely, you may exchange it for a new one.

Also, if you have a faster internet connection or whatever else, you have the option to upgrade. To rent, you may either go via your internet service provider or a few big-box stores.

If you’re having major issues with your modem, it may be a good idea to contact your service provider and inquire about your warranty. Your service provider may offer a new modem if you encounter a problem.

Hence, we can say that a good modem plays an integral role to give us quality services.

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About the Author

Ahmed Ali

Hey there, I am Ahmed Ali a professional programmer, and video gamer. I have gained ample knowledge of Laptops, and Computers over the year. Here on SoLaptop, I share helpful guides and recommendations to pick right machines and gadgets.

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