Jane had DSL Extreme, but she says that AT&T won't allow it over the phone lines anymore. Leo says there's something going on with her particular neighborhood. She's still getting phone service, though. Jane says that AT&T isn't offering DSL either, but they're trying to push UVerse. Leo says that AT&T has decided to eliminate copper in her neighborhood and start using fiber. Fiber is glass and works better than copper.
Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically.
Jerry says that the old "can-tenna" hack, where you focus the Wi-Fi signal through a pringles can could help getting better Wi-Fi coverage. Leo says that's not going to punch a digital hole through a concrete and rebar wall. It also would only work one way. It's a fun project, but not really ideal for practical use. Is there a radio app that gets the tech guy show?
John is a landscape contractor and he's making the transition to Wi-Fi controlled sprinkler systems for his clients, but there are some locations where the Wi-Fi is just too weak to connect. Is there a booster device he can use? Leo says that he can do that, but he'd need boosters for both directions.
Peter has a Sonos wireless home theater and he's having some interference issues. Leo says that Sonos uses its own spectrum, and he can select standard WiFi instead. But chances are, he's running into plain old congestion as other home theater and Wi-Fi units are taking up the bandwidth. If he can, he should move it over to the 5GHz channel instead. He'll have to re-pair them, but it'll be worth it. It could also be an issue with Sonos' new 8.1 firmware update. Both Leo and Doctor Mom are experiencing the same thing, so there's something going on.
You may have heard about the latest Wi-Fi vulnerability in the news called “KRACK” or “Key Reinstallation Attack.” This is a security flaw in the WPA2 protocol that could allow a third party to intercept network activity between a router and a device. It does this by taking advantage of a problem with the way the client (your mobile device or computer) authenticates with the access point (the router).
Alan's wife works for a non profit for helping the disabled and wants to know what technology should be in the houses they build. Leo says that Wi-Fi internet is a given, as is cable television. Cutting the cable is attractive, but Leo says that connected TV is still the best option to date. He should run conduit in the walls and just switch out the cables as technology evolves. YouTube TV would be good if they can get it. Also, voice activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home would be a lot of help.
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
Susan is having trouble streaming with her Blu-ray player and her TV. Leo says it could be that the Blu-ray's Wi-Fi isn't working too well. She may need to move her hotspot closer to the TV itself. It may also be that there's congestion on the 2.4 Ghz band, and her TV won't pick up the 5.0 Ghz band. She should try using her mobile phone as a hotspot and see if it picks it up. If it does, then the Wi-Fi spot is either too far away or is congested and swamped by other signals.
Wi-Fi is great when it works, but all too often there are problems that cause disconnects or slowdowns. If you have a large house, or there are too many walls that make it hard for signal to travel through, you may need more than just one wireless router.
One option for improving your reception is to set up a secondary Wi-Fi access point to extend your current Wi-Fi router. You'll want to buy an extender from the same company that made the router you already own. Set up the extender in "bridge mode" and it will rebroadcast the signal and extend its range.