Is It Safe to Unplug Your Modem?


Modems provide you with an Internet connection by contacting your Internet service provider. Many models do not have power switches, and must be unplugged in order to be turned off. Turning off your modem resets all of its connection data, which is usually harmless and in fact can solve problems with connectivity.

About Modems

  • A modem is a networking device that transmits and receives signals from the outside world. It acts as a mediator for your Internet connection, connecting to an Internet service provider and transmitting the signal it receives to your computer. While the modem is unplugged, no data will be transmitted, and any device that receives an Internet connection from the modem will no longer receive one.

Unplugging the Modem

  • A modem can have two or more cords attached to it. The power cord which is often black, supplies the power to your modem. Unplugging it will shut the modem off safely. When you plug it back in, it will turn on again and reconnect, achieving a reset if it has been at least 15 seconds since it was unplugged. Unplugging the other cords will simply disconnect the modem from the devices it is attached to and will not reset the modem. If your modem has a power switch, it is better to reset the modem using that switch instead of unplugging it, if only because such modems are designed to be reset using a switch.

Why Unplug?

  • One reason to unplug your modem is to perform a reset. Cable providers such as Verizon recommend that you reset your modem if your Internet connection is not working, usually by leaving it off for about a minute and plugging it in again. Most often, this fixes the connection problem. Unplugging a modem when you are not using it can also save power, but the amount of power you save is fairly small.

Other Troubleshooting

  • If you are still having Internet problems after unplugging your modem, you can unplug your router as well. Both ordinary hubs and wireless routers can be unplugged safely. Leave it off for five minutes before plugging it back in. When diagnosing wireless problems, reset your modem if you are connected to the wireless network but still can't access the Internet. Reset your router if you cannot connect to the wireless network.

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