There may come a time when you need to access your router through a command-line interface. Maybe the router is working, but the web interface is not responding. In this case and others, you may need an alternative method to access your router.

There are a few routers out there that have the option to log in via telnet or SSH. This provides a command-line option to interface with your router and can sometimes be a quicker solution. If your router does not support telnet or SSH, you may be able to upgrade it to enable that feature.

In this article, we will explore some ways to restart your router from the command line. We will also discuss some basic router troubleshooting. We will also go over some options you have if you want to enable terminal (cmd access) to your router.

How to Restart Router From CMD

In order to connect to your router remotely, you will need to know the router’s IP address. You can find that using the command prompt.

To do that, you can click the start menu and type ‘cmd’ (without quotes) in the search box. You will see an item labeled ‘Command Prompt’ show up in the search results list.

Alternatively, you can access the command prompt via the run dialog. To do that, hold the Windows Key and press ‘R’. This will bring up the run dialog. Here, you can enter the command ‘cmd’ (without quotes) and press enter.

Once you have the command prompt open, type ipconfig and press Enter. Scroll down until you see a listing that says ‘Default Gateway’. You will see this under either Ethernet or Wi-Fi, depending on how you are connected to your router. 

The ‘Default Gateway’ is your router. The number listed next to the default gateway is your router’s IP address.

We Have The IP Address, Now What?

Exactly. That’s sort-of the problem. Not many consumer routers support shell access out of the box. Unless you are using a piece of industrial or corporate equipment, chances are, SSH access is not available on your router by default.

There are, however, some useful things you can do without terminal access to your router. Also, there are some tricks you can do to enable terminal access to your router if you have a compatible model.

What’s a Router?

A router directs traffic between any two points on a network by literally routing data from one device to another. For instance, when you use your desktop PC to check your email, the messages get to your PC through your router which you either own outright or are leasing from your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

A router is a tiny computer that has one explicit purpose: Manage the network. And just like any other computer, the software on your router can be changed, modified, upgraded.

What is the Command Prompt?

The Command Prompt is a program that allows a user to interface directly with a computer via text terminal emulation. The command prompt can be used to execute commands and perform advanced functions.

What is Telnet And Why Would You Enable it on Your Router?

Telnet is a protocol that is used for client-to-server communication either over a LAN (Locale Area Connection) or over the internet. Telnet is based on connection-oriented transport, which is considered to be very reliable. Telnet enables a bidirectional, text-oriented communication system using virtual terminal emulation.

Is There a Way to Quickly Reboot a Modem With CMD Commands?

The short answer is no. Not by default. Most routers do not come with this functionality by default. In some rare cases, your router may already have the ability to remotely access and control it directly through the command prompt, but it’s pretty rare.

How to Reset a Router From a Computer

Sometimes, a router just needs to be restarted. That’s just something we have all learned to deal with. Routers are much more stable than they used to be, but you will still find that from time to time, you have to reset them.

Generally speaking, consumer-grade routers home routers need to be restarted more often than commercial models. This is due to the lower-grade components and engineering used to manufacture consumer hardware.

It can be very useful to be able to reboot your router from your PC. And that might be all you need to do with your router in the first place. So, we are going to discuss various options for doing so.

When most people think ‘reset,’ they are often referring to a simple reboot, or power-cycling, of the device. In this article, we are talking about rebooting, not resetting the router’s configuration settings.

Remember, it’s normal to need to reboot your router occasionally, but if it’s something that you have to do frequently, then you might want to check out your network for issues.

Your router may need a firmware update. Also, if your router is overheating or in an unusual environment, this could lead to stability issues that simply resetting it won’t fix.

Why do Routers Need to be Rebooted?

Here are some common reasons for rebooting your router:

  • Router is frozen or unresponsive. This may be the case if your internet access is completely down. 
  • Performance is Poor. This is when the router is still working, but it has become unreliable or slow.
  • Certain features are broken. This is the case if your router is running fine but some settings cannot be changed or enabled.

Rebooting your router in person is a simple process. Simply remove power from the device and power it back on. But what can you do if your router is in an inaccessible location? How do you reboot the router from a computer?

Requirements:

To accomplish a remote reset, the following is required:

  • The router has to be operational and currently serving network traffic. Remember, you can’t use your network to reset your network if your network is not working at all. 
  • The routers’ administration username and password. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it may have been changed since your routers initial setup. 
  • You need to have your router’s IP address. If you don’t know it, it’s relatively easy to find out.
    • Open the command prompt.
    • Type ipconfig and press enter
    • Scroll down until you see ‘Default Gateway’
    • The IP address listed for the Default Gateway is your router’s IP address

Login and Reboot

Once you have the router’s IP address, just put it in the top of your address bar and press ‘enter’. Then, enter your administrator username and password and log in.

As far as how to actually reboot the router once you are in the web interface, well, that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Somewhere on the page, however, you will see something like ‘tools’, ‘status’, ‘maintenance.’

You can also keep an eye out for an ‘advanced’ or ‘administration’ section in the menu. If you are lucky, you will have one of those routers that has a ‘reboot’ button right there on the front page. They’re rare, but they’re out there.

Wherever it may be on your router’s administration page, once you issue the reset command, you will lose connectivity to your router for a moment. This applies even if you are on a LAN connection. After anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, your router will be up and running again.

Other Options

If you cannot get into your router via its web interface, some (very few) routers have an option to log in via telnet or SSH. This provides a command-line option to interface with your router and can sometimes be a quicker solution.

In some cases, this can be the only option to access your router because the web interface is either not working or disabled.

The best option you have for connecting to your router via the command-line is to set this feature up before-hand, rather than to try to use this feature as a way to restore your routers functionality.

Enable SSH/Telnet with DD-WRT

If your router does not support command line access by default, you may have the option of upgrading your router with DD-WRT.

What is DD-WRT?

DDWRT, which stands for DresDren-Wireless RouTer, is a type of router firmware that is based on the Linux kernel. Atheros and Broadcom chipsets are compatible with DD-WRT. You can enable many new features by installing DD-WRT on your router. One of these features is SSH/Telnet access.

How do I Install DD-WRT on my Router?

With most routers, installing DD-WRT is as simple as installing a computer program. It is important to note, however, that doing the process incorrectly can render your router useless.

Firmware flashing is when a program is installed on a router. The process to install DDWRT varies from router to router, but it usually involves downloading a file that contains DDWRT. the router’s web administration page is where the DD-WRT installation file is uploaded.

This process is straightforward because routers already have systems in place that let the user update its internal software.

The DD-WRT community provides excellent resources available for those who wish to upgrade their routers. They have an excellent guide on how to install DD-WRT on your router.

Does my Router Support DD-WRT?

DD-WRT is supported by a large variety of routers available on the market. Click here for a full list of supported hardware.

Conclusion

If you want to enable command-line access to your router, in most cases, DD-WRT is the only option. Luckily, DD-WRT is compatible with a long list of devices from a wide array of manufacturers. It’s relatively easy to install and there is a high amount of community support.