networking

Why does my laptop run so slow on my network?

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Episode 1158

Noah has a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop but he's having trouble connecting through his new Motorola router. It's slower than anything else. Leo says that the Inspiron's 17R Wi-Fi is G/N, and if he puts a device on it that uses a lower Wi-Fi standard, it downgrades everything to that lower standard. Also, Windows Machines slow down over time, so he may need to start over and restore to factory conditions to speed up the performance. Leo says to try connecting the laptop to the router via ethernet and see if it speeds up. If it does, then it's a wireless problem.

What's the best way to network my PC to my home theater?

Episode 1152

Greg from Palmdale, CA
Mac Mini

Greg finished installing his home theater system and he wants to know what device is good for watching movies on his computer. Leo says that Plex is great on the Playstation or Xbox, or even the Roku or Fire TV. It connects to the media storage, such as a networked desktop. Leo likes it because it's simple. A Mac Mini would work great, and it's small. It has HDMI out so it'll plug right into his AV receiver.

What Ethernet cable should I put in my walls?

Episode 1144

Avis from Santa Ana, CA
Ethernet cable

Avis is remodeling her home and she wants to wire her home for three computers, security cameras, and her home theater. Leo says that will require a high speed connection with all that video data. It's hard to future proof, but as long as she has the walls open, she should put conduit in. That way, when she needs to upgrade, it's a lot easier to run new cable through it.

How can I connect my laptop to my wireless network?

Episode 1142

Brandon from Huntington Beach, CA
Wi-Fi router

Brandon is trying to connect an older laptop to Wi-Fi, but it isn't working. Leo says that if other devices can connect, then chances are that the laptop may not support WPA2, which the network runs on. He could try WEP, but it's been cracked, so it's not really all that secure if there's someone with maligned intent. But if it's all he can get, it's better than nothing.

Diagnose Wi-Fi Problems

Wi-Fi can be a difficult thing to get right, especially when there are numerous Wi-Fi hotspots all around. Even at its best, Wi-Fi won't ever be as fast and reliable as a hardwired connection, and will occasionally suffer drop-outs. But there is a way to optimize your Wi-Fi network so it has less trouble keeping your devices connected.

Why can't I get my laptop's Wi-Fi working at home?

Episode 1133

Ed from Valencia, CA
Wi-Fi

Ed's wife's laptop gets intermittent Wi-Fi reception. It works hardwired, but it's hit and miss for the laptop on Wi-Fi. Could it be the card? Leo says so many things can cause the problem. Every once in awhile Wi-Fi will just drop out. It's one of the reasons why Leo doesn't allow his guests to use Skype on Wi-Fi. Leo suggests buying a USB Wi-Fi adapter. They're fairly inexpensive and can show if the hardware is the issue. If the problem persists, then the hardware isn't really the problem here.

How close can my router and modem be?

Episode 1126

Jeff from Woodland Hills, CA
Airport Extreme

Jeff just signed up for "TrueStream" broadband service. Leo says that it's a new system that likely uses fiber and is supposed to get up to 75 Mbps down. Jeff is concerned because the modem is installed right next to his Apple Airport Extreme. Leo says as long as he has some separation, and they're not touching, he'll be ok. He should also disable the Wi-Fi from the modem, and just use the Airport Extreme for DHCP and Wi-Fi.

Do I need a router to use my Apple TV?

Episode 1124

Dennis from Arkansas
Apple TV

Dennis is looking to get broadband. He's got an AppleTV and wants to connect it to his router. Leo says that the best thing to do is request from the broadband company a modem only, and then use his own router. Then it's easy to connect the Apple TV to the router. The chatroom says that it may be necessary to port forward the Apple TV or DMZ it, but Leo doesn't think so.