Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Eric gets Wi-Fi where he lives but it's very weak. Would a repeater help? Leo said it could, but he'll need to place it half way between the router and his location, and that may not work well for his living situation. A USB Wi-Fi antenna could be a better choice because he can position and direct it.
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.