How to Update the Firmware for a Netgear Router

By Andrew Tennyson

Keeping your router's firmware up to date improves the performance of the device and helps to protect your network against the latest security threats. The firmware on your Netgear router can be updated using either the automated or the manual method. The automated method uses Netgear Genie software to find the most suitable firmware update for your Netgear router. The manual process gives you more control and is the recommended method if you have a specific firmware version you want to install.

Automated Upgrade

Step 1

Launch the Netgear Genie application on your computer and click the "Router Settings" button on the left side of your screen to load the Router Settings panel. You can also open the Router Settings panel by clicking the "Click here" link located beneath the Router Settings icon on the right side of your screen.

Step 2

Enter your router's administrative username and password in the provided fields. The default username and password for all Netgear routers are "admin" and "password" respectively. Both fields are case-sensitive, so be sure to use all lowercase letters. Click the "OK" button to log in.

Step 3

Click the arrow icons in the top right corner of the Router Settings panel to scroll through the tabs until you see the Router Update tab. Click the "Router Update" tab to load the Router Update screen.

Step 4

Click the "Next" button to have Netgear Genie scan for new firmware. If new firmware is available, Netgear Genie displays a message telling you so. Click the "Next" button and then click the "Finish" button to launch the Web-based administration panel.

Step 5

Enter your router's administrative username and password again to log in, and once you are logged in click the "A router firmware update is available" link located at the top of the administration panel.

Step 6

Click "Yes" to proceed with the firmware update. The router will automatically reboot when the update is finished.

Manual Upgrade

Step 1

Download the desired firmware version from Netgear's support website (link in Resources). Enter your router's model number in the Search field, click "Get More Downloads" and then click the "Download Now" link located next to the firmware you want to download.

Step 2

Open a new Web browser tab and navigate to the Web-based administration panel for your Netgear router (link in Resources). This address is the same regardless of what model of Netgear router you have.

Step 3

Log in to the administration panel using your router's administrative username and password. The default username and password for all Netgear routers are "admin" and "password" respectively. What you see when you log in varies depending on the age of your Netgear router. Users with newer routers will see the Netgear Genie interface, while users with older routers will see the Netgear Smart Wizard interface. How you proceed varies depending on which interface you see.

Step 4

Click the "Advanced" tab and click "Firmware Update" under the Administration heading on the left of the screen if you're using the Genie interface. If you're using the Smart Wizard interface, click the "Router Upgrade" link located under the Maintenance heading on the left of the screen.

Step 5

Click the "Choose File" button, browse to the firmware file you download from Netgear's website and double-click it.

Step 6

Click the "Upload" button to upload the firmware and initiate the automated update process. The router will reboot once the update has been installed successfully.

Tips & Warnings

  • Netgear recommends updating your router firmware only on a computer connected directly to the router via an Ethernet cable. Because wireless signals can drop, if you attempt to perform a firmware update over a Wi-Fi connection and the signal drops out, you may render the router unusable.