Networking

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

Why doesn't OpenDNS work for me?

Pedro from Bronx, NY

Episode 1291

Pedro created an account at OpenDNS but it isn't working for him. Leo says that the key to OpenDNS is that it protect your kid with a custom "phone book" that has a list of approved domain names in it. OpenDNS can then filter out the undesired addresses that you don't want. If you put in the router server settings of OpenDNS properly, it'll filter correctly. But if your kids have figured out how to change the settings in the computer, it can override that, unless you've made the settings in the router itself. So check your router settings again and lock them down.

How can I monitor my network activity in Windows 10?

Episode 1284

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ
Network Activity Indicator

Chip just upgraded to Windows 10 and he misses the notifications of network traffic in his system tray. Leo says that was a feature that was dropped several generations ago because there is a rich ecosystem of third party developers that can provide the same functions.

Chip should check out the Network Activity Indicator from itsamples.com

How can I run a TV signal to another building?

Jim from Oxnard, CA

Episode 1284

Jim's church has an auxiliary building that's about 300 feet away and they'd like to create a connection in order to broadcast the church service when they need overflow seating. Leo says he can create a directional Wi-Fi setup that will beam the service directly to the building without the need to deploy cable. He should check out this article at RadioLabs.com. It won't cost any more than running an HDMI cable.

Why can't I use my Nest Cam with my network?

Episode 1284

Frank from Pomona, CA
Nest Cam

Frank is having trouble installing his Nest Cam. It won't work unless he turns off his firewall. Leo says that's not good. But it's the nature of a firewall, as it blocks a conversation between incoming and outgoing traffic. That's why Leo recommends using a router instead. He can also use the DMZ feature, where he could allow the Nest Cam to bypass protection. Leo doesn't recommend it, but it can be one option.

Can I modify my router settings?

Cam from Garden Grove, CA

Episode 1282

Cam has an Arris Wi-Fi router hardwired into his computer, but he can't modify the settings. Leo says he should be able to. He should call the cable company and ask them for the password to access the router. Or, instead of using their router, ask them what third party routers they will support and he can buy his own. He'll want a DOCSIS III.

Check out this app: Snoop Snitch in the Google Play store. It will tell him how secure his router is.

How can I create a media server network?

Seth from Long Beach, CA

Episode 1279

Seth wants to set up a home media server for a friend. He has an array of hard drives that connect via Thunderbolt and wants to share those with everyone else in the house. Can he do that or does he have to migrate to a separate NAS? Leo says that a Home Media Server is a kind of NAS that can be an older computer or even a hard drive that runs Apple Media Player or even Windows Media Player. In fact, many routers can do this as well. Apple's Airport can do this. But the best idea is just to get a Network Attached Storage and run the home media server software that comes with it.

Why does my router drop the internet all the time?

Episode 1278

William from Capistrano Beach, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

William has an Airport Extreme router that disconnects 3-4 times a day. Leo says that's not unusual with routers. They're basically just a dumb computer that sometimes crashes. So he'll have to unplug and reboot it. If it continues after that, it indicates that the router is starting to fail and he'll need to replace it. He can also try rebooting his modem.

How can I speed up my DSL connection?

Peter from Cleveland, OH

Episode 1276

Peter's parents have AT&T DSL and it's terrible. Leo says that's because DSL is reliant on the phone lines, and the farther it is from the central hub, the more problematic it can be. If the phone lines are antiquated, that's even worse. He can demand that AT&T upgrade its wires, but then he's really dependent on their good measure. One thing he can do is turn off the Wi-Fi capabilities of the router they gave him and connect his own router. That's likely going to speed up the wireless speed tremendously. Leo like Asus routers.

Why does Linux kill my internet access?

Larry from Sherman Oaks, CA

Episode 1275

Larry's Debian Linux computer kills his UVerse internet connection. He can't even stream with the network. The problem is, he's blind and he can't troubleshoot it with his screen reader. Leo suggests trying a non graphical output version of MRTG. W3M also supports Javascript browsing. Leo suspects a host name error. The challenge is that running Linux means he's supporting himself, and the Linux community is smaller than Mac or Windows. A good Sys Admin may be able to figure it out. Leo suggests getting a logfile and putting it on the forum to ask them if they see what's going on.

Why does my hotspot drop after I leave and come back?

Glen from Hermosa Beach, CA

Episode 1273

Glen has a Windows 10 laptop and he likes to turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot. But when he leaves for awhile and comes back, he can't reconnect. He has to retype the commands and change the access name. Leo says that Glen is using an adhoc network. Leo says he can do it in the Control Panel easier. That could create a more lasting connection.