More and more users have taken the habit of turning off the router at night before going to sleep, as they think it should ‘rest’ and be able to increase the useful life of this device, but it isn’t true since the opposite is true.
Whether staying on or turning off the WiFi router every day from the outlet at night, users have their own reasons, like health concerns, absence or saving money. But computer experts say that turning off your router at night has positive and negative aspects too.
Though each has its own opinion, it is interesting to have the main arguments or aspects to take into account.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Turning Router Off Every Night
First Know, When to turn off the Router?
There are times when we must turn off the device. Or at least a simple restart. For example, if there is a connection problem or router glitches and we want to solve it in the most basic way possible: turn off, disconnect, and turn on again after a few minutes.
Also, when you want to change your dynamic IP, turn the router off and on again to change the IP.
In what other cases? When you are going to be away for weeks or months from home, you should turn it off to prevent intruders from entering your network for security while you’re not there since your Wi-Fi network could be the thing of a computer attack.
And if I Want to Save Power?
If you don’t work at night neither any device use the internet, and save on the electricity bill, you may have thought of turning off the router at night.
But how much electricity and money does a home router eat up in the first place? Let’s calculate how much energy the most powerful router spends per month when working around the clock:
Depending on the model and power of the wireless transmitter, the router consumes 6-15 watts/hour.
- 15 watts * 24 hours = 0.36 kW / day.
- 0.36 kW * 0.24$ (suppose the cost of 1 kW) = 0.08$ / day.
- 0.08$ * 30 days = 2.4$ / month.
- 2.4$ / month * 12 months = 28.8$ / year.
13$ a year does not represent a great saving either if we turn off network equipment at night for about 10 to 12 hours. It some cases it may even less than 5$.
Remember that it consumes very little, even with active work. In total – it costs no more than 25$ a year. So, it isn’t any significant difference in the cost of electricity bills only decades later.
Disadvantages of Turning Router Off Every Night
1. When there is Home Security
Homes are becoming smarter and have more “smart” options, and turning off the router at night does not allow some gadgets to work. For example, if your video surveillance wired connection in room camera or connected to wifi, your baby monitors camera, or you can access fire or water warnings.
The same happens if you have home automation control from your mobile phone: you will need the Internet to turn on the lights, to raise the blinds, to make the alarm clock sound…it doesn’t make sense to turn off wifi since they probably won’t work without wifi.
2. Hinder the Router Updates
Also, on a technical level, the updates for the router are usually done overnight. When router is lit on but no Internet use by anyone, it communicates, receives and send service information of router like reporting. If we disconnect it, communication may be affected.
For example, for firmware updates, if you turn off the router each night, you will risk automatic software updates.
3. Effects the Router’s Useful Life
Does the router need to be turned off at night to increase its lifespan, or do such shutdowns periodically make router bad?
Logically, if you leave any electronic device constantly active due to overheating, it will run out of life. This may seem strange to some, but the router works in a completely different way which is not equipped with highly heated components, allowing the device to work around the clock without the risk of overheating.
Each turning on and off from the outlet generates at least small power surges, due to which the router experiences increased loads reducing its life expectancy.
So, should you turn your router off at night to increase its lifespan? It turns out that no. Disabling will affect the router’s Wi-Fi useful life.
Moreover, as mentioned above, many technical processes, such as updates, are carried out at night. If the router is turned off, these operations get interrupted. In the long run, it can decrease its performance, connection speed, high ping, and device stability.
Good to Know – If you router that have a separate on/off button on the case. It is enough just to press it to avoid surges, and you do not need to remove the plug from the socket without effecting life but don’t forget about updates.
What about Health Concerns?
Finally, an important factor that often plays a decisive role in deciding to turn off the router at night is the possible adverse effect of radiation from WiFi on human health.
But is it really necessary to turn off the router to avoid its impact? Evidence shows that radio emission from a WiFi transmitter affects the human body.
I understand that long-term studies on the impact of WiFi on human health have not been conducted. Yes, there is evidence that electromagnetic radiation affects the central nervous system during prolonged exposure. But, also, there is no solid evidence and refutation of the dangers of the router.
A study of WiFi’s effect on sleep found that electromagnetic field radiation affects the pineal gland. It is involved in the production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. Under the influence of radiation, the production of the hormone decreases, and the quality of sleep deteriorates. This contributes to the appearance of fatigue, stress, suffer from insomnia or other sleep syndromes as a consequence of these waves.
So do I need to turn off the WiFi router at night? If you care about your health, you can turn off your home router when you are not using it. This will be relevant if there are no other access points nearby.
In an apartment building, it’s a little more complicated. The signal strength of neighbouring routers breaks through the walls, so, unfortunately, even they affect us (I remind you that this fact has not been proven).
Good to Know – If you scan the air, you will find dozens of them, not counting your router. Therefore, trying to protect yourself from wireless network hardware today fully is not realistic. Unless you live in a private detached house, you can set up a work schedule and don’t “irradiate” yourself with anything during sleep.
Here are some tips to help reduce your exposure to a wireless WiFi transmitter:
- Put the router where the family spends the least time;
- Do not sleep in a room with WiFi turned on;
- Reduce the transmitter power (in the router settings) like from strong 5GHz band channels to 2.4Ghz;
- Turn off WiFi or the entire router when it is not required.
- Because of wifi won’t but ethernet will work, if possible, switch from ethernet to wifi to avoid radiation and then disable wireless.
Fact: Routers are Designed to work 24 Hours a Day
The routers that are in our home consume little energy. Many believe that if they are not turned off, they shorten their useful life; however, these devices have been designed to work 24 hours a day. A router tends to ‘suffer’ more when there is a lot of activity during the day. At night, it is practically at rest when there is no activity, even the power is turned on.
It is a special case different from most home appliances, which can remain idle and continue consuming energy. It is what is known as phantom consumption.
However, it does require a reboot on a regular basis. You don’t need to do it every night, but restarting twice a month would be nice to avoid future errors, and it might even fix a problem you weren’t even noticing.
In addition, it is a process that cannot be done in any way, being necessary to wait about 30 seconds after turning it off before connecting it to the current again.
Conclusion: Turning off the Router at Night is a Personal Decision
Now that we are clear that turning off the router at night is not highly recommended because today’s routers are fully prepared to withstand very large demands and durability. It is better to leave it on without affecting life.
For health concerns, the effects remain unclear to most, and there is no information related to long-term study yet. Turning off the router at night can be a good measure if you have sleep problems or you personally believe health concerns.
I know that the topic is controversial. There are so many opinions. Please leave comments. Do you turn off the router at a time when it is not in use? Do you turn off the router at night? In general, what do you think about this issue?