routers

Should I buy a mesh router?

Episode 1532

Dave from New York

Dave wants to replace his Airport Extreme and wants to go with a mesh router. Leo says that's a good idea since Apple has stopped making routers. Mesh routers are good because they are always updated and they provide great coverage around a large house. The downside, is that to get additional features and updates, you have to pay around $100 a year if you want that support. Leo recommends Eero and Plume, and the Netgear Orbi. But even the stand alone routers from Asus, Linksys and NetGear have mesh features. The NetGear Nighthawk is a good one that's recommended by The Wire Cutter.

How can I extend my Wi-Fi?

Netgear Orbi

Episode 1530

Greg from Homosassa, FL

Greg has to extend his Wi-Fi in order to stream to the TVs around the house. What kind of extender should he get? Leo says the farther he is away, the less signal and speed he'll get. So he'll need to boost the signal. If he's using a modern Wi-Fi router that uses 802.11AC, then it'll be easier. But if he has to use a router provided by the cable company, he should try and see if he can put the router/modem in bridge mode and use his own router. Then he should turn off the modem's Wi-Fi radio as well.

Why is my Wi-Fi signal so bad?

Eero

Episode 1526

Bill from Chicago, Illinois

Bill has powerline adapters for his internet access and his Wi-Fi signal isn't very good. Rich says when powerline adapting, he will need to be on the same circuit in order for the router to work right. A better solution is to go with a new mesh router. He can expand the network with a simple access point beacon. Rich uses Eero. It's a little more expensive, and there are others including Plume. But this is a better way to improve the wireless signal in his house.

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

Do I need a new router?

Router

Episode 1521

Paul from Sun Valley, CA

Paul runs a utility to test his router and it always fails for buffer bloat. Should he get a new router? Leo says his does as well. When RAM got cheap, the router manufacturers boosted the RAM and it actually had the opposite effect by slowing down the buffer. Leo's opinion is that buffer bloat is over rated. He can ignore it. Eventually router makers have come to realize that buffer bloat can be handled in other ways. Leo recommends getting a second opinion with Netalyzer.

How can I make my home network secure from my work computer?

Episode 1517

Andy from New Jersey

Andy works as a remote IT guy and he's discovered that the company spies on his network. Leo says one way to solve this issue is to disconnect the XFinity router from the company computer. But if they insist on an always on connection, the Tiny Hardware Firewall may be a good solution. It'll connect to the VPN through a separate router and they wouldn't see any other traffic. Another way to do this, is to get rid of the XFinity router and use your own, like the Ubiquity Edge Router X, which gives you discreet lan options.

What's the fastest Wi-Fi Router?

NetGear Orbi Pro Mesh Router

Episode 1515

John from Montgomery, AL

John is a fire fighter and they share the cost of Wi-Fi with multiple access points. But when they increased his data plan to 300 Mbps, the most his router will get is 80. Leo says that typically, Wi-Fi is 60% of what they say. So he should be safely expecting 180 Mbps. But at 2.4Ghz, he's only going to get 80. He's going to need a TriBand router. For pure speed, Leo recommends the NetGear Orbi Pro Mesh router. He can get one extra unit for every 1500 sq ft coverage.