networking

Diagnose Wi-Fi Problems

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.

Why can't I get my laptop's Wi-Fi working at home?

Episode 1133

Ed from Valencia, CA
Wi-Fi

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.

How close can my router and modem be?

Episode 1126

Jeff from Woodland Hills, CA
Airport Extreme

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.

Do I need a router to use my Apple TV?

Episode 1124

Dennis from Arkansas
Apple TV

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.

How many Airports can I use on my Wi-Fi network?

Episode 1112

Chris from Miami, FL
Wi-Fi

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.

How can I stop my computer from losing the network?

Episode 1108

Michael from Long Beach, CA
Ethernet cable

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.

How can I extend the Wi-Fi signal from an Apple Airport Extreme?

Episode 1106

Jeff from Los Angeles, CA
Apple Airport Express

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.

What cable should I run through my house for fast networking?

Episode 1094

Fred from Upland, CA
Cat 6 Ethernet

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.