wifi

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 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.

Is a Wi-Fi hotspot safe for surfing the net?

Rick from Salisbury, NC

Episode 1165

Rick's wife got unlimited cell service for him, and he wants to know how to keep his tablet secure while at a hotspot. Leo says that by using his own cell service, his data is encrypted and safe. But if he's relying on Wi-Fi hotspot, then he'll have to be sure his passwords aren't given out in the clear. Especially if it's bank information. But even then, he's dealing with an encrypted portal, so it's pretty safe. He'll want to turn on encryption for his email, though.

How can I extend my Wi-Fi range?

Episode 1150

Jonathan from San Jacinto, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jonathan has Verizon FIOS with 75 Mbps up and down. Leo says that's nice! He has great signal on one side of the house, but it's terrible on the other side. How can he extend the Wi-Fi? Leo says he has to use Verizon's FIOS modem and router, but he doesn't have to use it for Wi-Fi. He can get a better Wi-Fi access point like an Apple Airport Extreme. Then put that in bridge mode so it'll pass the signal along to the rest of the house. If he needs more, then he can add a few $99 Airport Express's to act as a repeater. Leo has three of them.

Why does my Wi-Fi signal keep dropping?

Episode 1148

Rick from Akron, OH
Wi-Fi

Rick is getting an error message that he's lost his Wi-Fi connection. Leo says it's a common issue with Wi-Fi. It's not malware because the last thing malware would want is to get him offline. Malware these days is about making money off of him, and that means it has a vested interest in keeping him online.

When Rick rebooted, the Wi-Fi light on his router wasn't on. He did a system repair which fixed it. Leo says that the router may have chosen a congested channel and as such, he may be just getting knocked off. It may also be an issue with a recent update.

Should I give up my unlimited data plan?

Mark from Malibu, CA

Episode 1147

Mark still has the AT&T Unlimited data plan, but it's so expensive. Should he just keep it or downgrade to a smaller, more limited plan. Leo says that the CEO of AT&T is on record sharing his regret that he ever offered that option. But they've now incentivized enough to get people to give it up. It may be you can save money by giving it up, but they don't want to make it easy to give you the best deal. Leo advises going to the AT&T store and asking a salesmen to walk you through the options because you're thinking of jumping ship.