Networking

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

Is an A+ IT Certification worth it?

James from San Francisco, CA

Episode 1388

James wants to get an A+ certification, but he's wondering if it's worth getting. Leo says that the main thing a certification shows an employer is that he set out to do something and proved that he completed it. That's really the main benefit and if he is looking for work in the IT field, it's not bad to have, especially if he's trying to get his first job. It's really only a test that he'll study for and take. It doesn't necessarily mean he is skilled or competent. A passion for the subject and a willingness to learn is of more benefit than just studying to pass a test.

Why is my internet buffering so much?

Episode 1385

Mike from Panama City, FL
Eero Routers

Mike is frustrated that his internet access is going through a lot of buffering, especially when he's streaming. Leo says a router needs to control his ethernet connection, not a modem. It's the one assigning IP addresses. Then he can put routers all over the house, but have them set in bridge mode so that they just pass the bandwidth along. Mike should try using different names for his routers, too. That way, he can join the nearest ones directly. Getting a mesh router is also be a good idea. They aren't cheap, but they definitely solve the problem.

Why can't my iPhone connect to the internet via Wi-Fi?

Episode 1384

Gina from Venice Beach, CA
Wi-Fi

Gina's iPhone 6 is having problems connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi. Leo says to make sure she can't get on anyone else's Wi-Fi. If that's not the case, then there is clearly something wrong with the phone or its Wi-Fi settings. It's possible that the settings are preventing it from connecting, but it's also likely the hardware has failed. The only real people who can solve a hardware issue are Geniuses at the Apple Store. Gina should set up an appointment and have the Genius take a look at it.

How effective is powerline networking?

Episode 1382

Patrick (MacMan) from Indianapolis, IN
TP-Link AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit

Is powerline networking a decent option these days? Leo says that it's improved a lot since it was introduced 20 years ago. It was horrible back then. Now it's much better. He won't get the full throughput, though – Only about 60%. And he'll have to be on the same fuse box. Leo also recommends the Plume routers because they have ethernet connections as well, so he could plug in there.

Why is my Wi-Fi so slow?

Episode 1382

Melissa from Encinitas, CA
TP-Link Archer C7

Melissa's Wi-Fi is really slow of late. Leo says that everyone is experiencing bad Wi-Fi these days because we're doing more with it and dozens of devices are typically connected to it. Congestion is a serious problem. To eliminate her ISP as the problem, she should connect directly to her router and see how it performs. If it's just the same, then she'll know that the ISP needs to fix the problem. But if it improves, then it's her Wi-Fi network.

Why does YouTube keep buffering for me?

Autumn from Woodland Hills, CA

Episode 1380

Autumn has been having buffering problems while trying to watch YouTube videos. Leo says there are a number of things that could be causing this. It may not even be her internet, it could be her computer. Autumn says her computer is a five year old Lenovo that doesn't seem to be slow otherwise. It's not unusual for DSL to have trouble with bandwidth as well. The problem with DSL is that the company that sells it is at the mercy of the phone company.

Why can't I use Chromecast with the Linksys Velop mesh router?

Episode 1378

Albert from Las Vegas, NV
Google Chromecast

Albert bought a Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi router, but it doesn't work with his Chromecast when trying to cast something from his Chrome browser on the desktop. His mobile devices do work, however. His Chromecast can get it on the network, but he can't see it from his desktop browser. Leo doesn't think there's a particular problem with the Velop and the Chromecast. If the computer and the Chromecast are on the same network, he should be able to cast to it.

Do I need a managed switch for my network?

Episode 1378

David from Palm Beach, FL
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X

David has multiple TVs and computers and would like to link them all together with a switch. Should it be managed or unmanaged? Leo says that networking is a high end technical topic. A router manages the traffic and routes it through to the proper device. Routers use QOS or "quality of service" to do it. A switch is still needed, though, and it reduces traffic. A managed switch would allow him to run protocols and control the network properly. Most people don't need a managed switch.