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What is wireless router firmware and is it important?

Firmware

Most electronic equipment used in a home or business network has built-in software to run the device.  This software is usually referred as firmware.  Computers, Smart TVs,  and streaming devices like Roku, and Amazon Fire sticks will prompt a user to upgrade the firmware(software) when that device has an Internet connection. The firmware upgrade will correct any known issues that a previous version had and possible add additional features to the device.

For most wireless routers, this firmware upgrade prompt is not automatically. A user will have to manually update the firmware on the wireless router.

You will have to check with your router vendor’s website on how to upgrade your router.

Here is a link to firmware downloads or router support.

Linksys/Cisco:  http://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=164513 [1]

Netgear:  http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/23960/related/1 [2]

DLink:  http://support.dlink.com/  [3]

A Google search for your router model number can also be helpful in finding vendor information.

Importance of Router Firmware Updates

A customer has this router.  Firmupgrade1

Accessing the router management page from a LAN computer shows the current firmware version.  firmupgrade2  Noticed this router’s firmware was released in 2009. At the time of this article, that made the firmware 6 years old.

Cisco’s firmware release notes (see graphic)  for this model shows 4 additional firmware versions have been released since version 1.0.04 and one of those versions fixed an issue this router had been experiencing: “Resolve some DHCP lease issues”.  Also, note that no additional firmware versions have been released since 2012 which is 3 years ago at the time of this writing. This gap of having updates usually indicates that the vendor will not have additional releases for this older router.

firmwareupgrade3