Why Do Modems Need to Be Rebooted?

Modems need to be rebooted title page

Once you plug in your modem and establish a connection to your internet service provider (ISP), you don’t have to do anything with your modem ever again, right?

Absolutely not.

In fact, it is recommended that you reboot your modem every once in a while after it’s set up.

But why is rebooting your modem recommended? What benefits does that provide?

Periodically rebooting a modem is considered good practice. When a modem is rebooted, it resets its connection with its internet service provider (ISP). This ensures that the modem maintains a reliable internet connection with the ISP, which maximizes the internet performance for the devices on the network.

In this post, I’ll talk about the importance of rebooting your modem and the benefits of doing so. I’m sure you’ll find that with minimal effort, you can greatly improve your internet connection.

Why Does Your Modem Need to Be Rebooted?

There are several benefits why rebooting your modem is a good idea. Let’s take a look at each of them in detail.

Rebooting a Modem Maintains Fast Internet Connections

Modems are just like any other computer or mobile device. They have the same components that these devices do:

  • A processor
  • Memory
  • Firmware
  • A power source

The list goes on and on.

The difference between your modem and your mobile devices is that your modem’s components aren’t as powerful.

That’s because they don’t need to be.

Computers and other mobile devices are designed to perform many different, complex functions. They can be used in a variety of ways and are designed to allow the user to do just about anything with them.

Modems aren’t designed this way. A modem has a specific set of tasks that it’s meant to perform. As a result, it don’t need the same level of processing power and memory that other devices have.

Let’s talk about memory specifically.

Because modems don’t have as much memory as computers and other devices, it makes it more important to efficiently use the memory they have.

Modems store information about the devices that are on your home network. Over time, your modem’s memory will start to fill up with information that it doesn’t need. If a modem’s memory gets too full, it won’t be able to process the information going to and from the internet as quickly.

In other words, all your internet connections will come to a crashing halt if your modem’s memory is too full.

When you restart your modem, you clear the modem’s memory. By doing so, you’re ensuring that the modem is only storing the most recent and relevant information it needs. A modem that’s not bogged down by storing useless information will maximize the speed of your internet connections.

Rebooting a Modem Maintains a Reliable Internet Connection

I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation:

Your internet connections have slowed down or you’re not getting an internet connection at all. You don’t know what’s going on so you call your internet provider to see if they can help.

After waiting on hold for 30 minutes you finally get in touch with a representative from your ISP.

The first thing they tell you to do is to turn off your modem, wait for 30 seconds, then turn it back on.

After your modem boots back up, your internet connection has been restored and your devices can access the internet as usual.

What gives? Why does this happen and what’s exactly going on here?

The Problem With Modems and ISP Connections

Your modem is responsible for maintaining a connection with your ISP. Although this sounds easy enough, there is a little more to it.

To get a better perspective, let’s look at it from the ISP’s point of view. Although your modem only has to connect to one ISP, the ISP has to maintain a connection to every modem that’s connected to it.

We’re talking thousands of devices here.

In trying to maintain so many connections at once, it’s easy to see how a connection can easily get lost in the shuffle.

This is usually what happens when you lose your connection to the ISP.

Why Rebooting Your Modem Helps With ISP Connection Issues

When you reboot your modem, you’re starting a brand new connection to the ISP. It’s essentially like your modem is raising its hand and yelling “Hey ISP, here I am. Connect with me please!”.

The internet provider will be more responsive to newer connections as opposed to older connections it made months ago. By rebooting your modem, you’re making sure your ISP is aware of your modem.

If you make sure to restart your modem on periodic basis, the ISP won’t lose track of your connection.

Think of all the time you’ll save by not having to wait on hold when you call your internet provider.

How Often Should I Reboot My Modem?

Although I know you’re looking for a standard answer here, unfortunately I can’t give one.

The answer is because it depends.

The truth is some people will have to reboot their modem more often than others.

There are many variables in play here including:

  • Which ISP you’re using
  • The make and model of the modem you’re using
  • How old your modem is
  • The number of devices you have connected to the internet

All these things will factor into the quality of your internet service. The more your run into problems with your internet connection, the more often you’ll have to reboot your modem.

If you want my advice, a good place to start would be to reboot your modem every few months.

Keep in mind this doesn’t have to be an exact science. You can wait to reboot your modem until your internet connections slow down and you have issues, or you can be proactive about it and restart your modem on a regular schedule.

Feel free to experiment with this. As I mentioned previously, results will vary. Find a reboot schedule that works for you and your internet connections.

How to Manually Reboot Your Modem

Ok, so we know why you should reboot your modem and how often to do it. Now let’s discuss the steps you need to take to actually reboot your modem.

There are several ways to do this, and I’ll explain the manual method first. I’m sure you’ll find this is the simplest way to reboot your modem.

The first thing you need to do is identify the power cord on your modem. It should be easy to find as it’ll be labeled “power” on the back of your modem. Even if your router and modem are combined into one device, the connection should be labeled the same way.

For example, here’s the back of my Netgear CM600 modem:

Modem power connection

The other end of the cable plugged into the “Power” connection on the back of your modem will be plugged into an outlet.

To reboot your modem:

  1. Unplug the power cord from the outlet. Your modem will turn off.
  2. Wait 30-60 seconds.
  3. Plug the power cord back into the outlet. Your modem will turn on.

As a note, some devices may require you to press a power button on the device to power it back on after it’s plugged in.

Once your modem has powered back on, it will automatically run its startup processes. After a few minutes, your modem will be reconnected to the internet and you can go on your merry way.

If your modem and router are combined into one device, the above steps are still applicable. In fact, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone because there are benefits to rebooting your router as well.

As you can see, It’s not very complicated to restart your modem. These 3 simple steps could save you from suffering through slow internet connections.

Don’t let this happen to you.

How to Restart Your Modem From Your Computer

If you prefer, you can also reboot your modem from your computer. As long as you’re on your home network, you can reset your modem from anywhere in your house.

The first thing you need to do is determine your modem’s default access location. You can find this on the sticker on your modem. In my case, the sticker is on the bottom of my Netgear CM600 modem.

Modem default access location

As you can see, the default access location of my modem is With this information, we can get to the login screen for our modem.

What you need to do is enter the default access location into a web browser search bar.

Modem default access location in browser

When the page for your modem loads, you will be prompted to enter the username and password for your modem.

Modem login prompt

On this screen you’ll need to log in with your username and password. If you’ve never logged into your modem before, you can find the default username and password on the sticker on your modem or in your modem’s operating manual.

Modem default username and password

One important note: if you use the default username and password to log into your modem, I strongly suggest you change your password. It’s a huge security risk to keep your modem’s password set to the default. Anyone that gets access to your network will easily be able to access your modem’s settings and perform malicious activity if the default password is used.

Once you’re logged into your modem, it should be pretty easy to find the button to reboot your modem. On my modem, I need to first select the Advanced Settings header. From there I have the option to reboot my modem.

Modem reboot button in Advanced Settings

Upon selecting the reboot button, your modem will go through a power cycle as if you unplugged the power cord and plugged it back in again.

These steps accomplish the same thing as a manual reboot, but its easier because you don’t have to get out off the couch.

Can I Reboot My Modem Remotely?

The procedure detailed above works when you’re on your home network, but what if you’re away from your home?

Is there a way to reboot your modem remotely when you’re away from home?

Fortunately there is. You just need to be a little creative.

Use a Smart Outlet to Reboot Your Modem Remotely

If you plug the power cord of your modem into a smart outlet like this one, you can control the smart outlet from anywhere you want (as long as you have internet access). By turning off the smart outlet and turning it back on 30-60 seconds later, you’re basically rebooting the modem manually.

This is a useful method if you want to reboot your modem on demand and you’re away from home. Just keep in mind that if you lose your internet connection you won’t be able to control your smart plug. If you can’t control your smart plug you can’t restart your modem remotely.

Call Your ISP to Have Them Reboot Your Modem

Another way to reboot your modem remotely is to call your ISP. As long as your modem has an active connection to the internet, they’ll be able to reboot your modem for you.

They have the ability to send a restart signal to your modem and it will reboot on command. This may not be the fastest or easiest method to remotely reboot your modem because you may be on hold with the ISP before you get someone on the line.

This method also won’t work if your modem has lost its internet connection. If that’s the case the ISP won’t be able to do anything for you.

Can I Set My Modem to Automatically Reboot?

Although you can’t set your modem to automatically reboot on a schedule like you can with your router, there’s another way to accomplish this goal.

If you get a programmable timer outlet, you can have your modem reboot on a schedule. All you have to do is connect your modem’s power cord to the outlet and set a schedule for the outlet to turn off and back on.

This method works well if you want to reboot your modem on a schedule even if you’re not home and using the internet.

Wrap Up

There are multiple benefits for rebooting your modem, and there are several easy ways to do it. I think you’ll find that it’s well worth your effort to reboot your modem on a periodic basis, especially if you’re having problems with your internet connections.

Now you won’t have to call your ISP and waste time waiting on hold before they tell you to power cycle your modem. You can take matters into your own hands.

If you have any questions about this information or would like to share your experiences please feel free to comment below. If you found this information interesting here are some similar related posts that you might find useful:

How to Automatically Reboot Your Router for Better Internet Connections

Can a Router Overheat? A Detailed Analysis

Can a Modem Overheat? What to Look For

Why Do Routers Have Multiple Antennas?

What Do the Lights on My Modem Mean?

What Do My Router Lights Mean?

Ross Ricky

Ross Ricky is an engineer and cybersecurity professional who wants nothing more than for you to get the most out of your home network.

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