Check if your old router works or it is better not to use it

Features to look out for

There are 4 features that you should pay attention to if you want to use your old router in today’s home network, there are some specifications that are essential for the proper functioning of the router, otherwise it is better not to use it. Other features are optional, as it depends on whether you will use this particular option or not.

Gigabit Ethernet ports

Very old routers usually have Fast-Ethernet ports, that is, at 100Mbps. All the wired and wireless devices that you connect to a router with Fast-Ethernet ports will have a maximum of 95Mbps real speed, so our recommendation is that you do not use it because this speed is very low. You must make sure that your WiFi router uses Gigabit Ethernet ports, thanks to these ports you will be able to transfer data at real speeds of up to approximately 940Mbps, so in this case you will not have a bottleneck in the vast majority of cases.

If you connect a Fast-Ethernet router and a new Gigabit Ethernet router, the whole network will not be affected by this limiting speed of 100Mbps, but all the devices that you connect to the old router will have this limit both in download and upload, so what you should take into account.

Wi-Fi 5 with dual band at least

Nowadays, any operator router has simultaneous dual band with Wi-Fi 5, and even the newest ones have the Wi-Fi 6 standard. If you want to use your old router and have it provide you with good WiFi coverage and speed, then you should have at least dual-band simultaneous with Wi-Fi 5, and be at least AC1200 class, that is, have two internal or external antennas for each frequency band. Thanks to these minimal features, we could get a real 500Mbps via WiFi if we connect directly to this old router.

Previous models that are only compatible with Wi-Fi 4 make use of the 2.4GHz band, a band that is clearly slower than the 5GHz band, for this reason, we do not advise you to use old routers that only have Wi-Fi 4, unless you don’t mind that they only work in this frequency band.

Optional USB port

In the event that you want to use your old router to share files and folders on the local home network, you will be able to do so as long as it has a USB 2.0 port or a USB 3.0 port. However, you must bear in mind that if it is an old router you will not get too much speed when transferring, because the processor is the fundamental component to obtain good performance, in this way, you will surely not get enough speed to do streaming video in Full HD.

High performance USB 3.0 ports of the ASUS GT-AXE11000 Wi-Fi 6E router

Another aspect that you should take into account is that you probably have a DLNA server integrated into the router, and your main router probably also has this functionality. When choosing a DLNA server or another, you must select on the TV which one you want to use, since you will have two different servers. Of course, the name of both servers is highly recommended to be different, to be able to choose it without making any mistakes.

Firmware with advanced options

Another very important aspect that you should take into account when using an old router or not is the firmware that comes with it. If it is an old router that has very basic firmware and hardly any configuration options, you probably cannot configure it to use it on your current local network, so it will not work directly for you. In the event that it does have these possibilities, then you will have to assess whether it has the configuration options to put it in WiFi access point mode and take advantage of wireless connectivity.

Where old routers tend to be worse are in the configuration options of the USB port, and it is that many firmware will not allow us to create different users with different permissions, we only have the possibility of entering administrator mode, either via Samba or FTP, which which can pose a certain danger if someone connects to the WiFi wireless network of our house, since they could access the contents without many problems, since the authentication is done in plain text, in addition to being able to access the router in administrator mode with the key that they have obtained.

As you can see, if you plan to use an old router, you should check that your equipment meets these characteristics.

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