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Confused: Broadband Router, Leave It On or Turn It Off?

written by: KateG•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/19/2009

When you have a broadband router, your security and your convenience have to be balanced in order to keep things running smoothly. This article looks at what you should do when your broadband router is not being used: leave it on or turn off?

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    When it comes to the world of wireless, telling fact from fiction can be a tricky proposition. Most of us are becoming more and more dependent on technologies that we do not have a real understanding of. That means that we can sometimes ignore problems that we should be taking steps to correct. It also means that sometimes we can take steps to deal with problems that are not really there. The question is when dealing with your broadband router is should you turn it off or leave it on?

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    Why Would I Want to Turn It Off?

    The reason why people ask this question is fear! They have heard stories about how pirates of the net are able to upload a virus to your system and use that open connection that your router and modem provides to take over a computer during the night and use it to do any number of unspeakably evil or illegal things with it.

    There is also a secondary fear of war-dialing (or war-driving). That's a practice where people in search of a free connection walk or drive around town looking to find any open connection that they can use.

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    Is That Fear Grounded?

    For most of us, the first of the concerns is not really a problem. Most of us leave our computers to their default settings when we get them, and in this case that protects you. Your BIOS has a setting which prevents other machines from booting yours remotely. As for war-driving or war-dialing, you can prevent that from happening to you by securing your wireless network.

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    Is There Any Harm in Turning It Off?

    There could be, but it depends on your service provider and how they manage their networks. Some companies use middle-of-the-night low usage times to do updates to the network. If your router is off, then your computer may miss out on important updates. If you have a spotty connection, you may also have problems with getting your wireless back up each day.

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    The Final Verdict

    Go ahead and leave the router on at night. If you have any real concerns about your computer becoming a zombie, just turn the computer off at night.

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    What if I am Still Worried about Viruses and Malware?

    Viruses and all kinds of malware are a serious concern for most, if not all computer users. Your best bet for defeating those is with a good antivirus program and strong adherence to best practices. Here are some other articles on Bright hub that can help you choose.

    ClamWin Review: Free AntiVirus Software for Windows

    Reviewed: Free Antivirus Software for Windows