Why Is My Router Blinking Red? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Emily Carr
by Emily Carr
A router blinking red is a common symptom of many different problems. Knowing what this means can help you get it back up and running ASAP! If your router is

A router blinking red is a common symptom of many different problems. Knowing what this means can help you get it back up and running ASAP!

If your router is blinking red, it’s most likely due to the inability to establish a secure internet connection. Other contributors are modem failure, loose cabling, ISP service outages, and dirty ports. New router firmware versions push automatically, but you may have to contact your provider if your update was unsuccessful.

This article will run through all of the possible causes for why your router may have gone into flashing red mode. Additionally, we’ll offer some troubleshooting steps that you can take in order to fix it.

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Why Does My Router Keep Blinking Red?

One minute your router is working perfectly; the next minute, it’s blinking red. As Jack Swigert would say, “Houston, we have a problem.”

A router blinking red is generally due to one of these 6 reasons:

  • Router can’t establish an internet connection.
  • There’s an ISP service outage.
  • Modem failure
  • Ethernet or coax cable is loose. 
  • Firmware needs an update.
  • Dusty or dirty ports

Oftentimes, people mistake this for a problem with the modem, but that’s not always the case. No matter the issue, there’s usually a reasonable explanation- we’ll talk details and troubleshooting below!

Reason #1: Router Can’t Establish an Internet Connection

Your internet service provider (ISP) has failed to provide an internet connection, or your router just can’t find it- so, which one is it?

The most common reason your router is blinking red is that the router can’t establish internet connection. It’s in a sort of “limbo” phase, where the device is powered on and searching for a signal.

There are a few ways to approach fixing this problem.

Recommended Action

First, check your provider’s website for news of interruptions in your area, then call customer support if no information is available online.

Next, reset your router and modem as power cycling both of these will renew the hardware and reboot existing settings. Most have a ‘Reset’ button located somewhere on the exterior; however, you can also pull the power cord instead.

If this still doesn’t work, try moving your modem and router closer together. If you can establish a connection with another device in between, like a laptop or tablet, the issue is definitely with your router. Most companies offer a limited warranty or can help you further troubleshoot over the phone!

Reason #2: There’s an ISP Service Outage

When your internet connection is not working, it’s often due to an outage in service. This can happen with any ISP, whether Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or another company.

Your router is blinking red because there’s no connection to be had. Service outages can occur after a bad storm because of rodents chewing through your wires or as a result of basic ISP technical difficulties.

Most problems have to be solved directly by your service provider.

Recommended Action

To start:

  • Unplug your modem and router for fifteen to twenty seconds.
  • Plug them back in and wait thirty seconds before checking the status light again.
  • If it’s still blinking red, proceed with the second troubleshooting step.

Try switching Ethernet ports on your router. These ports often get congested over time, which can create connection issues both upstream and downstream.

The last thing to do is to call your service provider. As mentioned above, most companies offer a way to enter your zip code on their website and check for outages in your area. This will give you a time estimate on when the repairs will be completed!

Reason #3: Modem Failure

Sometimes it has nothing to do with your router, and it’s all the modem’s fault.

If your router is blinking red and the internet provider isn’t the issue, it’s time to look at your modem for signs of failure. Modems have a short lifespan, so if you’ve had yours for a long time, it may be time for a replacement.

There are a few things you can do before throwing your modem in the trash.

Recommended Action

If you suspect your modem is to blame, start off by performing a simple reset (unplugging and replugging it in). Call your ISP to do a hard factory reset on their end.

Another reason your modem might be failing is that your internet is unable to authenticate it. If that’s the case, re-enter your account credentials.

If your modem really is irreparable (by no fault of your own), most ISP companies will offer to swap it out for a rental replacement free of charge. If you purchased your own router and it is outside of the warranty period, you may be on your own.

Reason #4: Ethernet or Coax Cable Is Loose

Loose wiring is more common than one may think.

Check for a firm and secure connection between the coaxial and Ethernet cables and your router and modem. Also, look for any damage. Worn power cords can also pose a serious threat, causing your router to blink red.

Ensure that all the connections are stable and that you can disconnect and reconnect every cable with ease.

Recommended Action

For damaged or worn cables, the only option is a replacement. Repairs can buy you some time, but they usually aren’t a long-term solution.

When replacing cables, make sure you’re purchasing good-quality equipment that’s compatible with all of your devices. Amazon offers a wide array of Ethernet, coax, and power cables fit for almost every brand.

Reason #5: Firmware Needs an Update

Outdated firmware is a huge obstacle in device functionality.

It’s possible that your router isn’t outfitted with the latest firmware, which can contribute to connection errors and red blinking after you plug it in. Router manufacturers typically release firmware updates every month.

Recommended Action

It’s best to contact your router manufacturer directly to request the latest firmware update and see if your device didn’t receive it for one reason or another.

It’s uncommon that automatic updates weren’t pushed to your particular router, but it does happen. Firmware updates are crucial for maintaining security on your network, as well as for making sure all of your devices are running smoothly.

Reason #6: Dusty or Dirty Ports

If you have older equipment or you haven’t done a spring cleaning in a while, your router ports may be clogged.

A dusty router can cause all sorts of problems, like a blinking red light and loss of internet connection. Any sort of material inside those holes can interfere with your Ethernet or coax cables being properly secured.

Recommended Action

Start by removing all of the wiring attached to your router and modem.

Give each one a wipe down with a damp cloth, using care to not get any moisture on the electrical components. To clean the ports, you can use compressed air (available in can-form on Amazon), a duster, or a clean makeup brush.

Be diligent in cleaning each port thoroughly. After you finish, plug all of the cables back in and reboot your system. This should allow for your router to achieve a signal again!

Related Questions

Why is my router blinking blue?

We’ve learned why your router is blinking red, but what about blue?A quick, flashing blue light is typically indicative of a restart on your router. Once the router is fully powered on and has established a connection, the light will turn solid blue.If you notice slower blue light flashes, that means your router senses an internet signal and is establishing a connection. Once the connection is complete, the blue light will return to solid.The best way to handle this is to leave your router alone. It will resume normal working order whenever the processes are finished.

Why is my router blinking orange?

What about orange? If your router is blinking orange, it is likely recovering after an unsuccessful firmware installation and retrying to process the update. Be patient as this can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.If you continue to experience the orange blinking (and lack of internet connection), you may need to contact your ISP to see if they can diagnose why this is happening.

How long do routers last?

An average router’s lifespan is between 3 and 7 years, with most lasting about 5. After this amount of time, you might experience a bug or unexpected problems with your router.If you experience any issues before 3 years, consult the company about their warranty policy.

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To Sum It Up

If you’ve been noticing your router blinking red, it may be due to the inability to establish a secure internet connection.

There are several other possible causes, including modem failure (check cables and power), ISP service outages (try restarting your modem or switch off for 15 minutes, then on again), dirty ports on the back of the device, or new firmware that has not been pushed automatically.

The good news is most of these common problems can be solved from the comfort of your home or with a quick call to your service provider. We hope these tips help!

Emily Carr
Emily Carr

Emily is a copywriter with over five years of experience in crafting content for the home renovation and remodeling industry. She loves house projects, whether it be painting a room or tweaking small design elements to transform a space. Her favorite aesthetic is french modern because of its clean lines and airy feeling! When not writing, Emily loves to travel and check out architectural details all over the world.

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