Networking

Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.

How can I log on securely at a public WIFI hotspot?

Katie from Arlington, TX

Episode 1128

Katie works from home and wants to know what's the most secure way to connect when she's at a coffee shop or public library. Leo says that most things we want to be secure already is under https. So you really don't have to worry about that. The big one is email logins are protected. Leo advises using a Virtual Private Network or VPN. This allows you to "burrow a tunnel" into the internet that connects to a private server. That way nobody can see it because it's encrypted.

Why is Apple's Time Machine so slow in backing up?

Aiden from Ireland

Episode 1128

Aiden made the switch to a Mac and his Time Capsule takes forever to backup. Meanwhile, it works just fine in Windows. What gives? Leo says that SMB is the Windows protocol and it's the default language for file protocols. Meanwhile, Apple uses it's own protocol called AFP. Leo advises going into the settings and turning all the protocols on. That will allow it to use the fastest available. Leo also advises LastPass, OnePass and DashLane for Password Managers for your network.

Why is my Wi-Fi signal so poor?

Dave from Torrance, CA

Episode 1127

Dave has noticed that when he powers up his MacBook away from his Airport, it won't get better when he gets closer to it. So he bought an Airport Express to relay the data speed. Leo says that's a good solution as it acts as a repeater. But you have to be sure it's set up properly. Launch your Airport utility and set up the Airport Express by adding it to the existing network. Also the newer ones are dual band 802.11AC.

What's the future of online gaming?

Episode 1126

Joshua from Nashville, TN
Microsoft

Joshua owns and operates Minecraft servers and he wants to know what the future has in store for online gaming. Leo says that since Microsoft bought Minecraft, it's possible that Microsoft could require Minecraft be run from Azure. But Leo doesn't think there's much cause to worry because the Minecraft culture is very independent. Gamers won't really feel Microsoft's presence in Minecraft for at least a year, but there's not much cause for concern. Since online gaming is social by nature, the future is bright.

Do I need a router to use my phone as a hotspot?

Episode 1124

Laurie from Glendale, CA
Cell Phone Tower

Laurie wants to know if she needs a router to use her phone as a hotspot. Leo says no, the phone acts as a router. Her speeds will depend on how many devices she's using with that hotspot, and how many other people are using that tower. Laurie uses it because it's cheaper than paying for internet access at home. Leo also says that mobile phone operating systems are also more secure than desktops.

Do I need a router to use my Apple TV?

Episode 1124

Dennis from Arkansas
Apple TV

Dennis is looking to get broadband. He's got an AppleTV and wants to connect it to his router. Leo says that the best thing to do is request from the broadband company a modem only, and then use his own router. Then it's easy to connect the Apple TV to the router. The chatroom says that it may be necessary to port forward the Apple TV or DMZ it, but Leo doesn't think so.

How many Airports can I use on my Wi-Fi network?

Episode 1112

Chris from Miami, FL
Wi-Fi

Chris has a Wi-Fi issue in his house, and he's been told that he can only have three Airports in his home because it would cause problems. Leo says there shouldn't be a limit with WDS if the other Airports are just passing along the data and extending the network. If they're all on the same channel, then the limit will probably be in force since collisions could occur. The trick is to get the channels that are overlapping as far apart as possible, around 100 feet away. This is to reduce Wi-Fi congestion. It can work, but it could be a bit less reliable.

How can I stop my computer from losing the network?

Episode 1108

Michael from Long Beach, CA
Ethernet cable

Michael has a computer that drops off the network from time to time, causing him to restart either the computer or the router. Leo says it's probably not the router since other computers aren't effected. If a computer drops off the network, then there's probably an issue with Mike's ethernet card since it's wired in. He should first replace the ethernet cable. That's the cheap and easy fix.