wifi

Why is my Wi-Fi so bad?

Episode 1371

Steve from Redlands, CA
Wi-Fi

Steve's Dell Inspiron laptop drops Wi-Fi all the time. Dell claims to have fixed it via remote access, but it didn't work. Leo says that it's likely the person at Dell tech support had very little training and was following the directions in the notebook. All too often it doesn't fix the problem. What he'll need to do is call them back and ask to have his case escalated to tier 2 or even tier 3 level support.

Why does my network drop when uploading?

Episode 1367

Brad from Bethlehem, PA
Google Photos uploader

Brad says every time he tries to upload his photos to Google Photos, his Wi-Fi fails. Leo says that turning his Wi-Fi off and on could help as it renews the "lease" on the router with a new IP address. Something inside the Mac's network settings could be messed up, and renewing the lease can fix it.

It could also mean that the computer has lost contact with the router. He should reset his AirPort and update the firmware. That chatroom says it may be Google Photos that's causing the issue as well.

Is there a security camera that doesn't require internet to access remotely?

Episode 1367

Alan from Desert Hot Springs, CA
NetGear Arlo Pro

Alan has cancelled his home internet access. Can he still access his security cameras? Leo says not if they require internet access. NetGear's Arlo Pro supports LTE and has built in batteries, though. Alan will need a service plan either way. Getting home internet may be cheaper.

Is smartphone tethering secure?

Episode 1360

David from El Segundo, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

David tethers his computer through his mobile device, but he's wondering if it's secure. Leo says it's probably more secure because cell phones are encrypted now. Using the Wi-Fi through his phone is a different matter, if he's at a public hotspot. At that point, his traffic is out in the clear and easily grabbed. If he's going to use a hotspot, Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall and a VPN. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is like a router that then connects to his phone.

Can I use my phone as a hotspot on a cruise?

Episode 1354

Sue Ellen from San Diego, CA
Cruise ship

Sue Ellen is going on a cruise to Hawaii next month and WiFi is $0.75 a minute. What are her options? Can she use her phone as a hotspot? Leo says not while she's on the ocean. When she gets to Hawaii, that's an option. While she's at sea, she'll be stuck with what they give her and there's nothing but pain. It's very slow and inconsistent. It's definitely not worth $0.75 a minute!

Why is my router disconnecting my devices?

Episode 1349

Mary from Lisbon, ND
Acer RT-AC3200

Mary bought an Acer RT-AC3200 and she's having trouble with it. All her devices were disconnected from the 2.4Ghz band. The 5Ghz band is OK. It isn't congestion either because she lives out in the country. She's rolled back her firmware and Asus even sent her another modem. Leo says that sometimes the antennas may loosen and that could cause connection issues. Leo has had similar issues and it may be that the band gets overloaded and drops out everything. It could also be interference from the house itself.

Can I use FreedomPop with my alarm?

Mark from Bakersfield, CA

Episode 1344

Mark hears that FreedomPop is a free service for under 500MB. He's thinking of using it with his home alarm system, but it's ethernet hardwired and he's not sure it will work. Any ideas? Leo says a Wi-Fi Ethernet dongle is a cheap and easy way to do it. Leo says to also look at the fine print, as he seems to remember that FreedomPop doesn't work with burglar alarms from legal reasons. Another option is a CDMA cellular radio interface.

Why is my Wi-Fi slower than connecting directly to the router?

Joseph from Florida

Episode 1343

Joseph wants to know why his Wi-Fi speed is slower than it should be. Leo says it could be a variety of reasons, like distance from the access point, the amount of metal in his home, and the number of devices on the same network and bandwidth. The fastest speeds are received by being hardwired directly into the router.