Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Barry just moved into a condo wired for CAT 5 Ethernet. What does he need to make it all work? Leo says he'll need something that will connect to the internet -- a switch or hub that will plug into his router. The chatroom says he may need at least three routers to work with fiber to create a public and private network. That way he can do some home automation as well. Barry should check out PracticallyNetworked.com for help.
Robert wants to extend his Wi-Fi range. What should he get? Leo says a repeater or extender will help. He'll just put it midway between where he wants to go and where his router is. That will usually work. But if he has issues with the signal getting blocked, he could try powerline networking.
JC has been going through a lot of routers lately, and they just don't perform as promised. Leo says that you get what you pay for and the cheaper routers don't get their firmware updated all that often, if at all. Also getting a dual band router that can run at either 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz is beneficial because the 2.4 Ghz is very crowded.
Ed is building a house in a remote area. Should he install Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable? Leo says that the faster it is, the more expensive it is. It's about 30% faster with each level. So Leo says to future proof your home, buy the 5e, but he should put in conduit so he can replace it with faster cables down the line. It won't speed up internet access, it'll just speed delivery of data within the house. Most people will just be using Wi-Fi, though.
Emilio is having issues with his Apple Airport Time Capsule not working. Leo suggests resetting it to see if that resolves the issue. Leo also recommends checking out the Airport Management Utility on his Mac.
Adam wants to get a network attached storage (NAS). He's thinking of getting a Drobo. Leo says he recommends Synology or NetGear. Adam also wants a faster connection. Leo's NAS transfers 1GB per second. The reason that Adam's NAS is slow is because he's doing it over a Wi-Fi network. If he gets a faster Wi-Fi router, it'll speed things up. Or he can hardwire it.
Paul has a NetGear cable modem/router and he suddenly can't access it to make any changes. Leo says that routers are really cheap computers and sometimes it can get bit-rotted just like any other computer. Paul should try doing a factory reset. Then he should be able to log in and re-enter all of his settings. It's a good thing to do once in a while anyway.
Gary has a ton of devices attached to his network, including home automation devices. It's called the "Internet of things," where all those devices are accessible to the Internet. But is it secure? Leo says it's possible that his network can be breached through them, but that's theoretical. It hasn't happened yet. More likely, his router will be overwhelmed by all the connections. So it may be time to upgrade it.
Sam can't connect his wife's iPad to his Wi-Fi Network. He tries to input his password, but it says the password isn't correct, even though his other devices use it just fine. Leo says the iPad probably remembered an incorrectly entered password. Sam should go into Settings, and choose "forget this network." This will erase the password so he can reacquire the network and input the correct password. That should solve the issue. Another possible solution is to shut it all the way off, wait a few minutes and turn it back on.
Doug does a lot of traveling on the road and he uses a open Wi-Fi hotspots a lot. He's worried about the security of using those hotspots, though. Leo says that using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a good solution, as it burrows a secure tunnel through the hotspot so that all of his data is encrypted. He'd be totally safe and secure. The downside though it that using a VPN will slow him down a lot, and they are a challenge for some to set up. And the reality is, more and more of what he'll be doing online is encrypted anyway.