Wi-Fi can be a difficult thing to get right, especially when there are numerous Wi-Fi hotspots all around. Even at its best, Wi-Fi won't ever be as fast and reliable as a hardwired connection, and will occasionally suffer drop-outs. But there is a way to optimize your Wi-Fi network so it has less trouble keeping your devices connected.
Ed's wife's laptop gets intermittent Wi-Fi reception. It works hardwired, but it's hit and miss for the laptop on Wi-Fi. Could it be the card? Leo says so many things can cause the problem. Every once in awhile Wi-Fi will just drop out. It's one of the reasons why Leo doesn't allow his guests to use Skype on Wi-Fi. Leo suggests buying a USB Wi-Fi adapter. They're fairly inexpensive and can show if the hardware is the issue. If the problem persists, then the hardware isn't really the problem here.
Jeff just signed up for "TrueStream" broadband service. Leo says that it's a new system that likely uses fiber and is supposed to get up to 75 Mbps down. Jeff is concerned because the modem is installed right next to his Apple Airport Extreme. Leo says as long as he has some separation, and they're not touching, he'll be ok. He should also disable the Wi-Fi from the modem, and just use the Airport Extreme for DHCP and Wi-Fi.
Dennis is looking to get broadband. He's got an AppleTV and wants to connect it to his router. Leo says that the best thing to do is request from the broadband company a modem only, and then use his own router. Then it's easy to connect the Apple TV to the router. The chatroom says that it may be necessary to port forward the Apple TV or DMZ it, but Leo doesn't think so.
Chris bought a fourth Airport Express, but now the wireless client is broadcasting the Wi-Fi information by numbers, not names. So he has no clue what devices are what. He says it happened after upgrading the software. Leo says that's baffling, but he has a hunch it's the device's MAC addresses.
Once your wireless router is set up, all of your devices will remember the Wi-Fi password automatically. While this is convenient, it can be problematic if you've forgotten the password -- especially when it comes time to set up a new device on the network. Fortunately, it's possible to look up your Wi-Fi password without resetting the router.
Chris has a Wi-Fi issue in his house, and he's been told that he can only have three Airports in his home because it would cause problems. Leo says there shouldn't be a limit with WDS if the other Airports are just passing along the data and extending the network. If they're all on the same channel, then the limit will probably be in force since collisions could occur. The trick is to get the channels that are overlapping as far apart as possible, around 100 feet away. This is to reduce Wi-Fi congestion. It can work, but it could be a bit less reliable.
Michael has a computer that drops off the network from time to time, causing him to restart either the computer or the router. Leo says it's probably not the router since other computers aren't effected. If a computer drops off the network, then there's probably an issue with Mike's ethernet card since it's wired in. He should first replace the ethernet cable. That's the cheap and easy fix.
Jeff has a 3000' square foot house and has several Apple Airport Expresses to relay the signal from his Airport Extreme. Leo says that Jeff should have the Express in 'Bridging mode' and should let the Airport Extreme choose the channel because it will adjust according to congestion. Just select the option to extend the network and let it handle everything else.
Fred is remodeling his home and he's got open walls right now. What cabling should he install so he's set for the future? Leo says he should install Cat 6 Ethernet cable. That would really future proof his home with fast data networking. Or he could just go with wireless networking. He should at least run conduit in the walls and as the technologies change, he can then reinstall whatever cable he needs. Fiber optic cable is pretty cheap, but the switches are expensive. That's why Ethernet is still the best way to go.