The instruction “reset your router” means two different things. Either it powers on and leaves the settings intact, or it resets to its factory default state. Broadband routers generally require a special procedure to perform a hard factory reset.
The rule of thumb for a factory reset is often called by the shorthand name of a 30-30-30 reset : Press the reset button for 30 seconds, then unplug the router from its power source for 30 seconds, and then plug it in with the reset button pressed for another 30 seconds.
How to perform a 30-30-30 router reset
Although the procedure for any router may differ, in general, the following steps tend to work for most brands of routers.
- With the router plugged in and powered on, press the reset button for 30 seconds. This button is usually a small recessed dot on the back of the router; you may need a jeweler’s screwdriver or bent paper clip to access it.
- While holding down the button, unplug the router from its power source for another 30 seconds.
- With the reset button still pressed, turn the camera back on and hold it for another 30 seconds.
After this 90-second process is complete, the router should return to its factory default state. Your particular router may not require the full 30-30-30 procedure. Some routers can be rebooted after only 10 seconds and without a power cycle, but the 30-30-30 approach will not harm the router. It is recommended to memorize and follow this 30-30-30 rule as a general guide.
After a router has been reset, you can log into it with the default IP address and username/password combo that it was configured with when you first purchased it. If your router is from one of the major router manufacturers, such as NETGEAR, Linksys, Cisco, or D-Link, you can find the default information for your router on their websites or in the documentation that came with the router.
How to choose between rebooting or rebooting a router
Resetting a router and rebooting a router are two different procedures. Although rebooting is an easier process, you should test it before rebooting. If it doesn’t resolve the router issue, the 30-30-30 reboot is still available.
A router reboots and resets all unit functions, but retains all router settings. It’s similar to how restarting your computer turns it off and then back on again. Routers can be rebooted by turning off the power or through the console menus without following the 30-30-30 reboot procedure.
A router reboot reboots the router and changes its settings, removing any custom settings that have been applied to it. This means that your wireless network settings, custom DNS servers, and any port forwarding settings you have previously entered will be deleted when the software is restored to its default state.
Although it may seem obvious, many people don’t think of resetting a router as a way to solve home networking problems. Rebooting your router can help in the following situations:
- When the management console does not respond to your IP address (192.168.1.1 or equivalent)
- When clients suddenly can’t connect (especially Wi-Fi clients)
- After your home has experienced a blackout or brownout
- When the router has not been rebooted in a long time – a month or more
- To flush the router’s DNS cache
Can a router be rebooted or rebooted too many times?
Just like computers, phones, and other devices, a home router can fail if its power is interrupted too many times. However, modern routers can be rebooted or rebooted thousands of times before you need to worry. Check the manufacturer’s specifications for reliability ratings if you are concerned about the effects of frequent power cycling on your router.