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8 Top Tips for Keeping Your Wireless Broadband ISP Router Cool

Tuesday, Jul 9th, 2013 (1:01 am) - Score 69,329

Temperatures in some parts of United Kingdom are beginning to creep past 30c and this means that some of you, the unfortunate few, might be having the occasional problem with overheating broadband ISP routers and modem devices. So here are a few quick tips for avoiding this problem.

Practically all electronic devices emit heat, even if you can’t always feel it, and the least efficient ones tend to produce more than most. Most router manufactures are aware of this and design their hardware to operate at temperatures of up to around 40c (varies between manufacturers).

But in practice people sometimes place their routers in locations where the temperatures can easily rise beyond the devices rated maximum, which most often occurs when the heat struggles to escape and thus continues to rise until it reaches a critical level. So here are a few quick tips for keeping your router cool.

ISPreview.co.uk’s Top 8 Tips for Keeping Routers Cool

1. Never place in direct sunlight, obviously.

2. Never allow your pet to use the router as its own personal sleeping mat. It might seem cute but the slim risk of this causing an electrical fault or fire is something best avoided.

3. Place the router on a hard and flat surface (ideally something cool), which should allow the air to move freely around it (especially below the device). Wall mounting the device can also help (vertically). In other words, never put your router on a surface that doesn’t allow heat to escape (e.g. on a leather sofa).

4. Some older / cheaper routers and chipsets are more susceptible to heat problems, especially if they’ve had a lot of usage, and at the extreme you might need to consider buying a newer device.

5. Consider buying a cheap netbook size cooling mat / pad for the router. Kit like this usually costs £10-£20 and often includes a small internal USB fan, which is handy because some routers include low-power USB ports that can be used to run the fan(s).

6. Keep your router switched off when not in use but don’t restart it too often. Most broadband ADSL/ADSL2+ connections don’t respond well to you repeatedly switching the router on and off throughout the day (this can result in a loss of speed). But in our experience there’s usually not much harm in turning it off once a day (i.e. every 24 hours).

7. Disable non-critical router services when not needed. The less the router has to do, the less heat it will produce and the faster it can operate. Some routers allow you to disable specific services (e.g. wifi, connection logs etc.) and during hot weather this can help to keep the device running smoothly. On the other hand it’s probably best not to fiddle with these things unless you know what you’re doing.

8. Situate the router in the coolest room possible, which is often the lowest point in your home with the thickest walls. Unfortunately this might constrain the performance of your wifi network so there’s a careful balancing act to consider.

Naturally it goes without saying that pouring water over your router or putting it in the fridge are both things that should generally be avoided. If anybody else has some useful tips then please feel free to add them into the comments below.

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Keith is a computer engineer and website developer from Dorset (England) who also assists, on a part-time basis, in the general upkeep of ISPreview.co.uk's systems and services. He also writes the occasional editorial and special offer article. Find me on Contacts.
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