wifi

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.

Why is my streaming so unreliable?

Ray from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1326

Ray is having trouble streaming. It buffers a lot. Leo says that if his router is a few years old, it could slow down and become less reliable. Rebooting the router will bring it back, but then it'll happen again. So he should get a new one. His TV's Wi-Fi may also be getting "promiscuous," meaning it is jumping to a stronger signal every time it finds one. He can also go into his router and adjust the "lease time for DHCP" to make it longer before it acquires a new IP address. He can also get a dual band router, which will have 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz.

Why doesn't my old laptop connect to the internet?

Sue from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1316

Sue bought a new router/modem and her laptop won't connect wirelessly anymore. She's been told that her network card is bad. Leo recommends taking the laptop to a coffee shop to see if it connects via Wi-Fi. If it does, then it's just a configuration issue. Since the laptop is Windows Vista, she wants to just get a new computer. Leo says that's a much better option since Windows 10 is far better than Vista.