Networking

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

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.

How can I lock down my internet with parental controls?

Episode 1167

Jennifer from Manhattan Beach, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jennifer wants to be able to control all her kids' devices at the router level so they can't work around it or stay up all night. She's also concerned the Verizon FiOS router could stop working. Leo says it may be a good idea to get an additional router for wireless applications and turn off wireless capability in the Verizon router, and just keep it wired. She should use the Apple Airport Extreme. Then she can work with the settings in the Airport under the Access Control List.

Can I run my computer and credit card terminal on the same ethernet connection?

Sandy from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1166

Sandy wanted to run a computer and credit card swipe terminal on the same ethernet connection. Leo says that may not work since the credit card terminal needs it's own connection to the net. It requires a unique address. A router could help because it would route the traffic and it would be a different device address internally. Will it slow down her computer? Leo says a minuscule amount. Nothing that Sandy would notice, though. Any cheap router will work for this, but Leo likes D-Link.

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.

Why does my laptop run so slow on my network?

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Episode 1158

Noah has a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop but he's having trouble connecting through his new Motorola router. It's slower than anything else. Leo says that the Inspiron's 17R Wi-Fi is G/N, and if he puts a device on it that uses a lower Wi-Fi standard, it downgrades everything to that lower standard. Also, Windows Machines slow down over time, so he may need to start over and restore to factory conditions to speed up the performance. Leo says to try connecting the laptop to the router via ethernet and see if it speeds up. If it does, then it's a wireless problem.

Is My Cloud Mirror from Western Digital network attached storage?

Todd from Topeka, KS

Episode 1158

Todd wants to know about the WD My Cloud Mirror. Is it network attached storage? Leo says it is, but it's supposed to be an appliance for those who aren't very technical. It comes with WD dual drives, will work with Mac or PC, but it doesn't have as many features as a traditional NAS. It will connect to cloud solutions like DropBox for off site backup. There's also a feature he likes that will allow him to connect to the computer directly and copy the files over. At $291 for 4TB of storage, it's a great deal.

How can I replace the network adapter in my PC?

Ron from Hollywood, CA

Episode 1157

Ron's Dell computer is having trouble connecting and he has a hunch the network adapter is dying. He's tried different software, but hasn't been able to get it to work. Leo says that the adapter is soldered to the motherboard and to fix that would require changing the motherboard. But he can buy a USB to Ethernet network connector for $12 from monoprice.com.

How can I make my router work better?

Episode 1156

Aaron from Tuscon, AZ
ASUS 3-In-1 Wireless Router (RT-N12)

Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.

Another option is to get a router that can use open source firmware like DDWRT or Tomato. Asus is one such manufacturer.