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While being the single most important aspect to your home network, your router is also generally the most vulnerable. There are a huge range of security issues which you are always going to have to be aware of and protect your home against, and this is something that is likely to be the case for as long as you have the internet in your home. Many people have found numerous flaws in the most popular routers on the market, and it is likely that the one you are using at the moment has some of them.
That?s where firmware comes in. Firmware is an important part of the process if you are trying to keep your internet connection safe. But what is it, and what do you need to do about it to ensure your internet connection is kept safe at all times?
In essence, firmware is the name for the security software that generally comes pre-installed with a device or piece of hardware. It is actually often seen as the lowest class of protection, but also the most essential. It is because it is such a basic that you must make sure that your router has firmware, and that it is updated, as if that is not the case then you are going to struggle to keep it safe and secure at all times. Firmware is installed on a hardware?s memory chip and comes installed – but you need to update it frequently to ensure greater protection.
Why Update The Firmware?
You might well be wondering why it is so important that you update the firmware on your router. The truth is that without doing this, you are going to struggle to safeguard your privacy and keep your internet connection secure, and it is much more important than many people often seem to realize. Bear in mind that all of your information that you input or download to or from the web goes through that router – so it is clearly vital that it is as secure a machine as possible. Researchers have discovered means of hacking routers in order to take names, passwords, and even bank details – so this is very important to think about if you care about your real-world safety and security.
As long as you keep the router?s firmware updated, you are going to be provided with the best possible latest protection that there is, so you can at least rest easy knowing that you are doing everything in your power to remain safe online.
It is also true that upgrading your router?s firmware will bring about a number of performance improvements too, so you might even have an improved experience on the web if you keep on top of the firmware upgrades. This reason, along with security upgrades, means that it really is a great thing to keep on top of as best as you can.
So, we now know just why it is so important to keep your router?s firmware updated. But the question now is: how do you actually go about doing it? It?s actually very straightforward, and is generally just a case of following some simple steps – but as with anything technical, before you know it and how it is done, it might seem like a minefield. Let?s take a look at some of the most basic steps as an outline first.
- Firstly, remember that if you have a new ?smart? router, it is likely that it upgrades its firmware automatically. You need to double-check, however, and you should not merely assume that this is the case without looking first. In the vast majority of cases, you will need to carry out manual upgrades of the wireless router?s firmware.
- Identify and download the firmware file from a trusted source. You need to search the web for the make and model of your router plus the term firmware to find this, but it is generally going to be the first result that crops up. You should make sure that you download only from a trusted source, as downloading the wrong firmware or alternative software posing as firmware, could be very dangerous indeed, and could worsen things rather than secure them. That generally means going to the website of the manufacturer of your wireless router.
- Then you need to log in to the router?s console. You do this by typing the router?s IP address (found on the back of it in most cases, or on the box) into the URL bar at the top of your web browser. There are also common IP addresses for big companies which you can look up.
- Enter the username and password. Most commonly, this is simply admin in both cases, or can often even be left blank.
- Somewhere in the router?s settings which you now see before you, you will be able to locate the firmware options. This can often be found in the Advanced or Management section. Navigate there once you find it.
- Transfer the firmware file to the router. Some routers ask you to use a flash drive, in which case you will need to do that to apply the firmware. There might be other steps to follow depending on your router, but it is pretty straightforward at this point.
- Afterwards, you must restart your router completely, to ensure that the firmware upgrade takes place. This should happen automatically during installation, but it?s a good idea to do it manually again anyway, just in case.
Better Security, Faster Internet
Once you have done that, your router will be upgraded to provide you with better security and a faster internet, both of which are going to be very useful indeed. You should make sure to upgrade your router?s firmware as often as there is a new one out. In many cases, you can get an email notification from the website of the router?s manufacturer when they release a new firmware upgrade. But also just make sure to check every six months or so, just to make sure that you are actually keeping on top of it.