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How to replace your Wi-Fi router without disconnecting all your devices

When it’s finally time to get a new Wi-Fi router, there’s no need to panic. Whether you’ve switched internet service providers or you’ve decided to get something snappier, snazzier, and more reliable than whatever piece of plastic your ISP handed you, upgrading your router doesn’t have to be a headache.

If you have a smart home like I do, you may be dreading the thought of having to manually update every light bulb, light switch, and security camera in your home to the new network. (As of today, I have 112 devices on my network.) While typing a new password into a laptop or iPad is pretty easy, when it comes to smart home devices, you have to open each app for every smart device and go through the sometimes painful process of updating its Wi-Fi access. This can be a real challenge for devices like smart floodlight cameras, which may be on the side of your house, 15 feet up. 

A close-up photo of the white Eero Pro 6E router, connected in a home.

Adding a new Wi-Fi router to your home — like this Eero Pro 6E — is easy to do.

Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

But there is an easier way! Here’s how to change out your Wi-Fi router without having to manually update each device. 

The TL;DR here is: keep the same network SSID and password. For those of you who aren’t sure how to do that, here are the steps to follow:

  • Make a note of your current Wi-Fi network name (wireless SSID) and password. This may be printed on your modem or router, or you can access it by going to your router settings page. This page can be found in the companion app or by typing http://192.168.1.1/ into a web browser. (If that IP address doesn’t work, you can find the right one for your router in the network settings of a computer connected to the network.)
  • Set up your new router by following the manufacturer instructions.
  • When you get to the stage where you have to create a network name and password, use the exact same name and password as your old network.
  • Unplug your old router. (If your old router is combined with your modem, you will need to go into its settings to disable the Wi-Fi network there.)
  • All your devices should now automatically connect to your new router using the same network name and password.
  • Verify your devices are working properly.
  • You’re done!
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