So you have a wireless router that has been quietly serving Wi-Fi to your household for many years? Does it have a thick layer of dust on it?

Chances are, if you answered yes to either question, you may not have upgraded your router’s firmware in quite some time. If you have, congratulations, you can stop reading this article right now, if not, read on.

What is Your Router’s Firmware?

Your router’s firmware is basically the operating system that is specifically designed to run on your specific make and model of router (unless you are using a multi-router compatible open source firmware such as DD-WRT).

Usually, your router manufacturer will provide firmware updates for your specific make and model of router, via their website, or via a tool within the administrative console of your router (typically accessible via a web browser).

Why You Might Want to Upgrade Your Wireless Router’s Firmware

There are many reasons you may want to consider updating your router’s firmware, here are several of them.

Security Features and Fixes

One good reason why your router manufacturer may put out a firmware update is because they are trying to fix a vulnerability that was detected in the current firmware, updated firmware is similar to system updates (as in Microsoft’s Windows Update). As bugs are found and corrected, updated firmware is released.

Router manufacturers may also issue a firmware update to upgrade features such as outdated encryption modules or they might add entirely new security mechanisms that weren’t in previous versions of the firmware.

Read the rest on lifewire.com: How to Upgrade Your Wireless Router’s Firmware