The Power of the Power Cycle

Jul 15, 2020 | Support

If you are like most Internet users of the world, you’ve encountered a time when your device gives you the dreaded “No Internet Connection” error, or maybe you’ve experienced the unwanted buffering wheel of death.

It is during those times when you call tech support to see what can be done to fix the problem and this is usually when technical support asks their go-to question: “Have you tried to power cycle your router?” And if you are like most Internet users of the world, you wonder to yourself, “Can the answer to my connectivity issues really be that simple?”

A standard power cycle process is when the power supply is removed from the router by unplugging the power cord from the back of the router or the wall outlet, giving the equipment a chance to experience a complete, hard shutdown. After waiting at least 10 seconds, the power can be resupplied to router, so it can reboot to its normal operational state.

This process usually takes around 5 minutes to complete and should not be confused with “resetting” the router, as that can wipe out all configurations and return the router to factory settings.

So why does the simple process of a power cycle pack such a punch? Modems and routers can lock up for any number of reasons, but the most common include: defects in software or hardware that can occasionally cause  the device to freeze; limited availability of hardware resources to process the software that runs the platform;  or network communication issues that might not be apparent with looking at the connection status.

By completing a power cycle, it allows the equipment to manually reauthenticate its connection and it can also give the equipment the opportunity to check for firmware updates that are essential to normal router  functions.  Lastly, a power cycle can give the router a chance to free up computing resources that can start to be overwhelmed by information logs over time.