Updating your router

Most people hardly pay any attention to them unless there is a big malfunction, and people may not consider upgrading them any more than they consider upgrading their washing machine.Unfortunately, this leads to a situation where the important-but-ignored router ends up being a source of degraded internet connection quality and a diminished user experience for everyone on your network., and a lot more people are going to need to do a lot more than just reboot their routers. Firmware is just the core software that operates the router, and updating it usually involves little more than a download and a few automated router restarts.According to a new report from security firm Cisco Talos, the VPNFilter malware is "targeting more makes and models of devices than initially thought, and has additional capabilities, including the ability to deliver exploits to endpoints." That means if you own one of the affected routers -- and that list has expanded to include models from Asus, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, Upvel and ZTE -- it's strongly recommended that you perform two key steps: upgrade the firmware and then factory-reset the router. Of course, if you've never so much as looked at that dashboard, well, it may be time for a trip to the owner's manual -- or the router manufacturer's online help pages.Updating the firmware (a process often called "flashing the firmware") can help a router work better and sometimes even repair an annoying bug or add support for faster internet speed.This is especially when a router reset doesn't help.Needless to say, you'll lose all internet connectivity while this is happening.

Because the firmware-update process varies from one make and model to another, here's a quick, generalized overview -- one that's based on upgrading an Asus WRT router.

Step i: Visit the Asus support site and download the most current firmware for your specific model.

Step ii: Open a browser window, type in and press Enter.

Some routers require you to use a desktop or mobile app to perform the update; however, most will use a web-based interface and the procedure will go something like this: Note that the update process needs to run without interruption.

If you unplug/turn off the router during this time, that can render the device unusable.

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