Your router does a vitally important job, especially if you're working from home or video chatting. But it's not always reliable. Blanketing your home in Wi-Fi is a complicated process, and consumer-grade gadgets are designed to operate in a reasonable margin of error to keep cost and complexity down. Sometimes, your router will just need to be rebooted to get it working right again. But there is something you can do to ensure it doesn't need it at an inconvenient time.
Instead of waiting for your router to act up in the middle of a Zoom chat, gaming session, or movie night, you can reboot it on a regular basis at a convenient time or take it to the next level and ensure that it reboots itself. How much trouble will this actually save you? It's hard to know for sure. The line between technical competence and superstition in this case is pretty thin. Nonetheless, it can't hurt! Here are three easy ways to make sure it gets done.
Method 1: The low-tech lifehack
For a solution with no additional gadgets or setting-spelunking required, just tack a quick router reboot onto a chore you already do on a regular basis. Talking out the trash? Go pull the plug quick before you get started you'll be back up and running by the time you're back from the driveway. Doing the laundry? Tuck a reboot between wash and dry. Or simply set a recurring reminder on your phone or calendar.
Method 2: The set-it-and-forget-it solution
Come on, you say. Remembering things? What is this, 1066? You're right, there are other ways. One is to poke around in your router's settings for a feature that does this for you. Options vary from router to router, and so finding this ability — if it exists — will take a little spelunking. But it is a feature some routers have; Belkin routers, for instance, refer to such a process as "Self-Healing". The method of accessing router settings also varies from unit to unit, but a good place to start is by popping the default address "192.168.1.1" into the address bar of your web browser and using the default "admin" as the password if prompted (and then maybe changing it). Consult your router's manual for guidance if you don't want to just fumble in the dark, of course.
Method 3: The fool-proof gear nerd remedy.
But what if you want to use this as an excuse to buy an additional gadget? I have good news: you can. Periodic, scheduled power-cycling is a perfect use-case for a smart outlet. You can snag a Wyze Plug for about $12 (or two for $20 if you want an extra to play with) or whatever smart plug works with your existing smart home gadgets and simply plug your router into that. Then, using whatever app coordinates your smart plug behavior, set a recurring rule that turns that outlet off and back on in the middle of the night, or even earlier in the evening if you could use the extra prod to get off the internet and just go to bed.