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Can I remotely reboot my router?

(StockSnap Photo)

Q: I have a problem with webcam monitoring of my residence because I normally have to reboot my wireless router about once or twice a month.  Is there a way to do this remotely? 

A: As most everyone has experienced, there are times when you need to reboot your router and/or modem in order to get things working properly. It’s generally one of the first things tech support asks you to do when you experience Internet or wireless connection issues.

The reboot process allows everything to re-establish connections, which often gets everything working again.

There are a number of reasons why you’re wireless router may need to be reset so often, so before I discuss remote rebooting options, let’s cover other potential solutions.

Inexpensive consumer-grade routers are notoriously unreliable and where you place them can have a pretty big impact on how well they work and how long they will last.

Make sure the router isn’t tucked away in an enclosed area with little ventilation or near cordless phones, microwave ovens, TVs or surrounded by large metal objects, like filing cabinets.

The most direct impact on your router’s reliability can be from heat, especially if it has spent its life stacked atop your cable or DSL modem. Even though they look like their designed to stack together, the constant heat generated by your modem can slowly cook your router.

Depending upon the age, you may be able to improve your performance and reliability by updating the router’s firmware. Newer routers can perform the update for you via the administrative interface, while older devices may require you to download the update to your computer, then upload it to your router.

The best way to know what the process is for your device is via the support section of the manufacturer’s website. If you have an older device and aren’t comfortable doing this, make sure you get help as updating with the wrong firmware can render your router useless.

Before you try updating the firmware, either make a backup of the configuration or take manual notes of the settings in case the update returns the router to factory defaults.

If nothing seems to improve the reliability, it may be time to replace the unit, especially if it’s really old or the required reboot interval continues to shorten.

As for remotely rebooting your router, newer devices may have an auto-reboot option that lets you schedule a reboot on a regular basis, such as once a week or monthly.

The best way to see if you have this option is to do a Google search for “auto reboot” followed by the name and model number of your router.

If auto reboot is not built into your router, another option is to get a specialized remote power switch like those offered at 3GStore.com.

Not only can you remotely reset the power via an app on your phone, you can set schedules to auto reset or use IP monitoring to automatically power-cycle when it detects the Internet connection has gone down.

If accessing your webcam is time sensitive, using the remote power switch may be worth the $70-$100 as it gives you much more direct control.

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