Should You Turn Off Your Router at Night

In our daily lives most of us use the internet for a variety of different things. The internet has allowed the world to become a much smaller place than ever before. We can send emails, stream movies, download software, or post to social media all with the click of a mouse or a touch on a screen. Our WiFi router is at the heart of our connection to the outside world. WiFi has made the process of sharing a home broadband internet connection with multiple devices a breeze. Most of us give little thought about our router until something stops working. Then we go over and unplug, wait 30 seconds, and power back up. Usually at this point everything is up and running. A popular question that people want to know is should you turn off your router at night?

No, you should not turn off your router at night. Turning off your router at night will not save any meaningful amount of electricity and is not required to keep your network secure. Frequently powering down your router can actually reduce its lifespan and can also cause other issues. Additionally anything that relies on your WiFi will stop functioning, this includes devices such as WiFi enabled security cameras, and IoT devices.

Keeping your router powered on at all times is the optimal way to run your network. If you do not want your kids using the WiFi at bedtime, either enable parental controls on your router or on your child’s devices. Powering off your router is not the answer.

Turn Off WiFi Router At Night

Reasons to Keep Your Router Powered On

  • Your devices will continue to receive updates when idle.
  • You will not need to turn on your router and wait for it to boot up each morning.
  • Your routers lifespan will be greater.
  • Turning off your router nightly may slow down your internet connection (especially if using DSL).
  • Your IoT (smart home) devices will continue to function.
  • Your WiFi enabled security cameras will continue to function. (Ring, Nest, Arlo, etc.).

Your devices will continue to receive updates when idle

When you keep your devices powered on and connected to the internet they are able to receive updates as needed. Hate waiting for Windows 10 /11 to update? Schedule your updates for the middle of the night, leave your WiFi router on, and wake up in the morning to an updated computer that is ready to go.

Other devices including smartphones and tablets also receive frequent operating system updates. Ideally you want to download these when you are not using the device. Leaving your WiFi router on is the best solution.

Xbox Series X Update

You will not need to turn on your router and wait for it to boot up each morning

Who wants to get out of bed, pick up their phone to check the weather only to remember that the WiFi router needs to be plugged back in. Your life is busy enough, why add the unnecessary steps of turning your router on and off each day. There is simply no benefit.

Your routers lifespan will be greater

Routers are designed to remain powered on for most of their useful life. Short cycling a router by turning it off and on daily will greatly reduce its lifespan by wearing out components such as power supplies and capacitors. This will end up costing you extra money when you have to replace your router sooner. Renting your router from your Internet service provider (ISP)? Purchase your own router and stop paying $9 – $20 per month to your ISP for their router. The router they provide you with is generally not very good anyways.

Turning off your router nightly may slow down your internet connection

Technically this one only applies if your router is a modem / router combo unit. Combo units are quite popular these days, especially if you are renting the equipment from your ISP. The problem is that when you power down a modem it loses sync with your internet service provider. Most ISPs have equipment that monitors the lines for errors. Switching off your modem can show up as a fault. Some monitoring equipment will try to renegotiate at a lower speed when the modem comes back online if it sees frequent disconnects. This can result in slower speeds when using your internet connection. The solution is simple keep your router powered up 24/7. Restart your router only if there is a need. A speed test can tell you how your internet connection is really performing.

Internet Speed Test

Your IoT (smart home) devices will continue to function

Do you have smart home devices? Smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa, smart plugs, smart lightbulbs, smart coffee makers, smart refrigerators, smart thermostats, etc., will not function if your router is turned off. Keep your router powered on at all times if you have any smart home devices connected to your home network at all.

Your WiFi enabled security cameras will continue to function. (Ring, Nest, Arlo, etc.)

If you are using WiFi enabled security cameras such as those from Ring, Nest, Netgear, or any other band, turning off your router means that your cameras will not be able to communicate with their respective cloud services. This means no recording will take place. This defeats the purpose of having the cameras, especially since many home invasions take place at night. Keep your cameras rolling by keeping your router routing.

 IoT Device

Reasons Often Cited for Turning Your Router and Modem Off at Night

  • Saves you money on your electric bill.
  • Protects you from harmful radiation.
  • Increases security of your network.

Saves you money on your electric bill.

Routers are designed to remained powered on. You may be interested in turning off your router at night to save money on your electric bill. Unfortunately routers use such a small amount of electricity that you will not notice any real savings by powering your router down at night. An average home router costs less than $5 per year to run in electricity costs. Turning it off for 8 hours per day will at best save you $2 per year.

In contrast you can save over $20 per year for each lightbulb you switch over to LED. You can also save over $100 per year in electricity costs by setting the thermostat on your air conditioner a couple of degrees warmer.

Protects you from harmful radiation

WiFi signals are not harmful to humans. The type of frequency used and the amount of power used is simply not enough to have an effect. We are exposed to radiation sources all the time, the sun being by far the most powerful. Fortunately most radiation we get exposed to is classified as non ionizing radiation.

According to the American Cancer Society, “non ionizing radiation is a type of low-energy radiation that does not have enough energy to remove an electron (negative particle) from an atom or molecule. Non-ionizing radiation includes visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light; microwaves; radio waves; and radiofrequency energy from cell phones.” WiFi uses a tiny fraction of the energy vs devices such as cell phones that are designed to transmit to a cell tower several miles away.

Turning off your router at night is not going to improve your health in any way. There are numerous peer reviewed studies that all point to the same conclusion about WiFi radiation.

Improves Network Security

Technically this statement is not false. A powered down WiFi network is not able to be attacked / compromised. This is a valid point. The issue is many of the same people who preach this approach to security, fail to properly implement other more effective means of security. Powering down a router for 8 hours per day does nothing to secure it for the remaining 16 hours out of the day.

Enabling WPA2 / WPA3 encryption on your router is the single most important thing you can do to secure your wireless network. If your router doesn’t support at least WPA2, it is probably a dinosaur. Replace it immediately, not only is it a security issue, it is also likely making your internet connection much slower. Check out our router recommendation listed below.

The other most important thing you can do to secure your router is to change the admin password to something other than the default password. This is super important. If you have not done this already, shame on you. Go do it now, do not pass go, and do not collect $200.

Assuming that you are using WPA2 / WPA3 with a strong password, and that you have changed your routers admin password, you are a pretty safe. Turning off your router at night for security purposes is superficial at best.

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FAQ

Is it OK to run WiFi Router 24 7

Yes it is okay to run WIFI Router 24 7. This is how your router was designed to operate. Routers are not made to be frequently turned off and on. The only time to restart a router is after a firmware update or if you are having issues with your internet connection. If your router needs frequent restarts, it is time to replace your router.

How often should you turn off your router

In general, routers do not need to be restarted regularly. If your router requires restarts more than once every few months, it should be replaced. Routers are designed to be powered on 24 /7. They are designed to operate this way. Frequently turning your router off and on can significantly shorten its lifespan.

Should I turn off WiFi at night

No you should not turn off your WiFi at night. Doing so offers no significant energy savings and can greatly reduce the lifespan of your router. If your router is also a modem it can negatively impact your internet speeds.

Is it bad to turn off your modem every night

Yes, it is bad to turn off your modem every night. Doing so not only can shorten the lifespan of your modem but can also affect your internet performance. Modems are designed to be left turned on 24 hours per day. It is not advisable to turn your modem off every night.