How long? As long as any other electronic devices with semiconductor chips, circuits, power supplies, wires, cables, etc.
Extreme environments such as heat, moisture, poor ventilation, dirt, rough handling and dropping are enemies of computers and network equipment alike.
What is often left out of the instructions for routers is that the user needs to check regrularly for FIRMWARE UPDATES and install them. Download and install the latest network adapter driver, too. Keeping Windows XP updated helps.
Nasty software such as viruses, malware, and particularly spyware need to be eliminated from any computers connected to the router.
Make sure all your computers have the big 3: firewall, antivirus, antispyware. Keep them up to date. USE THEM.
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