Is it dangerous to leave your broadband modem on 24/7?

By | May 4, 2011
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Dellen is fearful of leaving the broadband modem turned on 24/7/365
I recently changed from dial-up to broadband & have been told that I should leave the external modem on 24/7. I have always felt insecure about this, in spite of the three anti-spyware programs & the antivirus. My ISP claimed that my intermittent inability to connect & frequent dropouts if I’m able to connect, are due to me switching the modem on & off as I need, rather than their recommended 24/7 connection. My common sense tells me that to follow their recommendations can incur unwanted intrusions to my computer. Am I wrong? Cyberspace is a jungle to many of us so I’m sure that I’m not the only one with concerns. Any help, advice or suggestions would be most appreciated. I read & keep every one of your newsletters as they are a goldmine of wonderful information tips & tricks. Thank you for everything. Dellen

Our Answer
There’s nothing dangerous about leaving your broadband modem turned on 24/7. If you’re concerned about malicious people or software somehow finding their way to your computer (very unlikely) it would be better to turn your computer off and leave the modem running. If your computer is off (at the switch) nothing can invade it. It would provide you with whatever protection you’d get from turning off your modem, without interfering with the IP protocol settings of your modem or constantly resetting your modem every time you turn it off and on.

Cable dropouts are not, for the most part, caused by you turning off the modem frequently, it’s caused by your broadband provider over-subscribing a node. Each node is designed to support a certain number of users – we’ll use fifty as an example. Cable will continue to oversell that node until problems reported by subscribers on that node become a problem for the cable company (i.e. too many people calling in complaining). So a cable company may put seventy-five to one hundred subscribers on the node that was designed to handle fifty – and that’s what cause dropouts and other problems. In fact, if you experience dropouts, one of the fastest ways to get reconnected is to unplug the power to your cable modem for ten to fifteen seconds and then plug it back in.

We leave our computers and our modems turned on 24/7/365 (unless there are thunderstorms or weather conditions which may cause a power failure – or we’re going to be away for a few days). We don’t think that you need to turn off your computer or your modem as a safety measure against “getting hacked” or having something malicious find its way onto your computer.

It’s great that you have several anti-spyware installed and an anti-virus program. We want to remind everyone that while having several anti-spyware programs installed is a great idea, you should choose one to run as your primary protector – and keep the others to double-check your computer once or twice a week. Don’t have several anti-spyware programs running in the background. That unnecessarily uses resources and doesn’t afford you any greater protection – it might even cause conflicts. And, never, have more than one anti-virus installed on your computer. Always keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs updated! Most anti-spyware and anti-virus programs are reactive not pro-active types of programs. Windows XP and Windows Vista both have built-in firewalls – and you should have your Windows firewall turned on. You don’t need to install a third-party firewall.

Also, if you have a router (wired or wireless) you will find that it probably acts as hardware firewall too. Check your router’s documentation to learn whether or not your router acts as a hardware firewall. A hardware firewall is superior to a software firewall.

2 thoughts on “Is it dangerous to leave your broadband modem on 24/7?

  1. VRD

    I was told to disconnect/unplug the cable wire from my modem when I’m not going to be online, as that would be the same as if you’d turn your modem off; ie: no internet connection to my PC. Dont know if this is good advice or not though.

    1. infoave Post author

      It’s unnecessary provided you leave Windows firewall turned on and you have updated antivirus and antispyware installed.


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