routers

How can I get better Wi-Fi signal in my house?

David from Murrieta, CA

Episode 1178

David is having issues with his Wi-Fi upstairs. Leo says that if he's using the router from his ISP's modem, he should turn off Wi-Fi and get his own router. That often will solve the problem. He should make sure he has a DOCSIS 3 modem as well. In fact, while he's at it, he should just buy a modem as well. That way he will save the monthly rental fee he's paying his ISP for that modem.

Is my cable router safer than my own router?

Steve from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1177

Steve has his own Wi-Fi router but his cable company just gave him a new router with Wi-Fi built in. Is it more secure? Leo says they're about the same security wise. He'll want to be sure to turn on WPA2 password protection. And often routers have security flaws and rarely get updated. So Steve should make sure he has his router firmware updated.

Do I need firewalls if I have a router?

Joe from Canton, OH

Episode 1175

Joe just got a router and wants to know if he really needs firewalls anymore. Leo says no. Joe could turn on the Windows firewall, but any third party firewall isn't really needed because the router is essentially a "dumb box" that prevents attacks from incoming traffic.

Routers, though, aren't impervious to attack, so he'll need to keep the firmware up to date, or even use a third party firmware like Tomato or DDWRT.

How can I get a better signal to my Roku box?

Episode 1172

Archie from Hawthorne, CA
Roku

Archie has a Wi-Fi router and has connected his Roku, but he's not getting good enough reception and it buffers a lot. Leo says the farther the router is from the Roku, the less connection can be made. But Leo also suspects that the router isn't giving Archie as much bandwidth as he needs. It could be due to congestion.

If his router supports the 5 GHz band, it's a much better choice for streaming. He can also take the old router and put it in bridge mode and use it as a repeater to pass along the signal.

Am I paying too much for internet access?

Delores from Van Nuys, CA

Episode 1169

Delores got a new Apple iPhone 6 and she's wondering if she doesn't need her landline anymore. Leo says that for emergencies, a landline is a good idea because it works when nothing else does. But there is more than just the phone company that offer landlines. She also wants to be able to use all of her devices at home. Leo says that she'll want a Wi-Fi router so that she can get online from all of her devices.

How can I lock down my internet with parental controls?

Episode 1167

Jennifer from Manhattan Beach, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jennifer wants to be able to control all her kids' devices at the router level so they can't work around it or stay up all night. She's also concerned the Verizon FiOS router could stop working. Leo says it may be a good idea to get an additional router for wireless applications and turn off wireless capability in the Verizon router, and just keep it wired. She should use the Apple Airport Extreme. Then she can work with the settings in the Airport under the Access Control List.

Can I run my computer and credit card terminal on the same ethernet connection?

Sandy from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1166

Sandy wanted to run a computer and credit card swipe terminal on the same ethernet connection. Leo says that may not work since the credit card terminal needs it's own connection to the net. It requires a unique address. A router could help because it would route the traffic and it would be a different device address internally. Will it slow down her computer? Leo says a minuscule amount. Nothing that Sandy would notice, though. Any cheap router will work for this, but Leo likes D-Link.

How can I extend the Wi-Fi range between two houses?

Episode 1166

Matthew from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apple Airport Extreme

Matthew wants to know if he can bridge two Airport Extremes, put them 300 feet apart and still get a signal. Leo says it's no problem, except for the distance. 300 feet is a long way for 802.11,b,a,c, which max at about 150. 802.11AC, though, can go about 300 feet. One thing he can do is use a directional antenna from one to another. A new Airport Extreme, though, will work. Leo advises sticking with the same company's products to make the extension.

How can I make my router work better?

Episode 1156

Aaron from Tuscon, AZ
ASUS 3-In-1 Wireless Router (RT-N12)

Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.

Another option is to get a router that can use open source firmware like DDWRT or Tomato. Asus is one such manufacturer.

How can I get rid of a hacker who's stalking me?

Episode 1151

Karen from Sun City, CA
Hacker

Karen is having an issue with an online stalker who has hacked into her computer and has been deleting her files and other things. Leo suspects that Karen isn't really being hacked unless she has incurred the wrath of someone who can do that. More likely, what may be happening is that she's got malware and she probably should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.