How long (average, best guess) do routers last?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by ratchet, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. ratchet

    ratchet Addicted to LI Member

    I've been using a WRT54GS with Tomato v1.27 for around five years. I'm not sure how long before that I had the router. This router rarely has wireless turned on. It's only on when the adult children visit and once per month to update a laptop. Should it pass from this world though, what Tomato compatible router could/should I purchase? I think about this often! Thank you!
  2. remlei

    remlei Networkin' Nut Member

    mine wrt54gs still works for about ...... 7 years I think....
    n16u still works for about...... 3 years?

    both still works. wrt54gs is not yet repaired nor opened, same with n16.

    planning for Asus AC series any time soon.
  3. ilovejedd

    ilovejedd LI Guru Member

    I've got a WRT54G bought in either 2004 which still works fine as a router. I think the wireless radio died sometime around year 4, though. As for which router to replace it with, really depends on your budget and features you want. Given the WRT54G seems to be sufficient for you, I reckon Linksys E900 and E2500 (refurb) or Asus RT-N10P and RT-N12 D1 will probably work fine for you for under $50.

    I'm currently using the Asus RT-N66U as my primary router but have been considering getting the Asus RT-AC68U or Netgear R7000 since I now have 4 laptops with 802.11ac adapters.
  4. FattysGoneWild

    FattysGoneWild LI Guru Member

    My current Linksys E4200 v1 is 3+ years old now. Bought brand new. Has not missed a beat since owning it. And I do believe this was Cisco/Linksys last best consumer router ever made. While the current Belkin/Linksys WRT 1900AC is a beast. Its nothing but trouble atm. Lots of firmware issues reading in the Linksys forums. Considering a router is in use 24/7. I have heard it is smart to replace it every 3 years.
  5. dc361

    dc361 Network Guru Member

    As the previous posters have stated, there is no 'stale date' on your router. You can use it until it no longer does what you want or you have some sort of issue (power spike, power supply failure, etc.) that renders the device unusable. The options for replacement are many -- if you would like to stay with linksys and run tomato firmware, I find that the E900 runs RAF, Shibby and Toastman builds very well. I just checked on eBay and prices range from 25 to 45 US$.

    Edit: This router has 8mb of flash and 64KB of nvram space so it can handle large builds like Shibby's MAX build.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  6. gfunkdave

    gfunkdave LI Guru Member

    I happen to really like Asus routers. The RT-N10p and RT-N12 are both nice, cheap routers. The RT-N66 and N16 are my go-to models for most applications, however. They all run Tomato well.
  7. Grimson

    Grimson Networkin' Nut Member

    Just make sure your new router has at least 8MB of flash, though I wouldn't go for anything below 16MB. The RT-N12 has only 4MB, so current tomato version barely fit in it.
  8. ratchet

    ratchet Addicted to LI Member

    Appreciate all the input folks!
  9. Retronite

    Retronite Networkin' Nut Member

    My Belkin F7D4301 is 7 years old and still going strong. The dual band wireless have been used since day one. No issue with that. I recently bought a second to improve the wireless signal upstairs. I've heard good things about the ARM processor based routers and getting better with the Tomato firmware releases. It seems to be going in that direction.
  10. EOC_Jason

    EOC_Jason Networkin' Nut Member

    I bought my WRT54GS back in 2005... So it's almost 9 years old, and everything still works perfectly. I upgraded mostly because development is pretty stale for older 2.4 kernel based routers.

    I also have a WNR3500L that I got a few years ago and I have been very happy with it. It has current development (Toastman), IPv6 support, good speed and memory. I've even bought a few off eBay for like $20 to play with...

    I still have my WRT54GS, one of these days I might get around to grabbing someone's firmware and updating the modules I want to have something more current on it. They do have 8MB of flash so they aren't that antiquated.
  11. ilovejedd

    ilovejedd LI Guru Member

    Iirc, it's the older A1 model with 4MB. I have the current D1 version and it's got 8MB.
  12. Ole Juul

    Ole Juul Networkin' Nut Member

    I got a WRT54GL about 2005 and it's still going strong. I've picked up a couple of older WRT54G (versions 2.2 and 3) which must be getting pretty old but still work just fine. A couple of years ago I got a WNR3500Lv2 because I wanted space for Shibby AIO. It also has gigabit capability and that's a worthwhile improvement over older routers.

    I think there's a myth that routers "get old". Often I hear people say they're having connection troubles, or dropouts, and are told to get a new router. I don't buy it. In my personal experience routers are like computers and don't usually wear out. In that regard I'd like to point out that I've got lots of old computers and my 5150 from 1981 works as well as the day it was made.
  13. PetervdM

    PetervdM Network Guru Member

    generally speaking, electronics do not "age". but about 10 years ago there has been a batch of faulty elco's ( an electronic component ) from a major supplier used in all kind of electronic equipment. after a number of years they physically expanded and started to leak, and as a result the functionality was strongly degraded. that's how i lost a linksys WAG200.
    i think all the bad elco's have gone by now, either being replaced in a repair or the equipment discarded.
    apart from that electronic equipment is sensitive to heat and moisture. operating a router on a very hot or damp spot might eventually kill it.
    as other forum members state, even if it is still working, it might not be acceptable anymore in terms of speed, compatibility and functionality. but as long as you are happy with it, who cares?
  14. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    Even if not faulty, capacitors get old. I haven't seen data on MTBF for consumer routers, but those numbers are less important to a home user who can count their routers on one hand. For the home user it's a binary outcome: the unit fails prematurely or it doesn't. If it doesn't, expect a decade of service. At the extreme, some units are DOA. Premature failures in this setting can be considered a random event.
  15. EOC_Jason

    EOC_Jason Networkin' Nut Member

    It's not uncommon for chips with passive (or no) cooling to run hotter than spec and over till will eventually fail. This is common when people crank up the wifi power on their router without adding additional cooling.

    It all just depends on the quality of the production batch and also the environment that it is ran in. Imagine the box that get low usage and is always nice and clean in an air conditioned environment vs one that is in a weatherproof box outside susceptible to extreme temperatures (hot & cold)...
  16. Mercjoe

    Mercjoe Network Guru Member

    Any network gear failure I have ever had was due to capacitor failure. They swelled up and leaked/burst.

    One Linksys WRT54g I was able to salvage by replacing the blown capacitors. One D-link DIR-615 had a cap explode and it never booted again even after replacement of the cap.

    Routers these days are built as cheaply as possible. They are basically a throw away consumer product.

    The basic adage that I use is that unless it is broke or have a reason to replace it, leave it alone.

    The only reason for my recent purchase of a R7000 is better wireless capability. Otherwise my Netgear 3500l v1 would till be perfectly acceptable.

    The one thing I look at when updating it future proofing. Look at what you NEED and then think about what you would like in the future. I might not have any AC capable wireless devices at the moment, but in a year or two that will change as it becomes more common in the consumer market.
    Marcel Tunks likes this.
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