router

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

How can I monitor bandwidth on my network?

Apple Airport Extreme

Episode 1322

David from Australia

David has Airport Extreme routers at home, and he wants to know how much data is being used on his network. Leo says this is one of the drawbacks of the Airport Extreme routers: they lack some of the more modern features that other routers have. One way he could do this is by replacing the Airport Extremes with a more modern router that can monitor bandwidth. Leo uses the Asus AC3200 which has a built-in bandwidth monitor and can even tell him which computer is using the most.

How can I connect my Roku without a router?

Roku Stick

Episode 1254

Gloria from Los Angeles, CA

Gloria has a Roku Stick and she's been told she needs a router to use it. Leo says that yes, she'll need wireless internet access. If her router doesn't have Wi-Fi built-in, then her choices are to either get a regular Roku and plug it into her modem via an ethernet cable, or buy a router which will handle wireless traffic from the Roku stick. It'll also allow her to connect to her laptop wirelessly. Leo says that if she calls her cable provider, they'll replace her modem with a Wi-Fi modem/router. They'll set it all up.

How can I hack my router?

Episode 1187

Ken from Dominican Republic

Ken's ISP in the Dominican Republic locks down his router so he can't make any changes at all. Leo says as long as he can change the password and give it encryption, he'll be OK with everything else. But Ken says it causes his cell phone to lose connection when he's using VOIP on his SIP phone. Leo says he'll need a QOS feature that will prioritize internet telephones.

Install More Secure and Reliable Firmware On Your Router

The default firmware that comes pre-installed in a lot of new routers can be insecure and problematic. For instance, a lot of new routers use something called "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which is enabled by default and is supposed to allow users to easily secure their network. Unfortunately, this is flawed and can give a remote attacker access to the network. In some cases, it's not even possible to disable this insecure feature.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Router

When it comes to securing a Wi-Fi router, there are a lot of things people often do that aren't actually effective. For instance, hiding the name of the router (the SSID), won't help. Another scheme that's particularly onerous is MAC address filtering. Every computer has a unique MAC address, and the router can be set up to only allow computers with known MAC addresses to access the network. This technique is used by businesses and schools, but it overlooks MAC address spoofing.

Why is my Chromecast dropping the Wi-Fi connection?

Episode 1037

Al from Chula Vista, CA

Al is having trouble with his Chromecast dropping his internet connection. Leo says that Al is using Comcast's ActionTek router and there may be interference on the 2.4 Ghz band. He recommends going with a higher band, like 5 Ghz. Most other stuff uses 2.4 Ghz and it's getting pretty crowded. Another option, if he can't go with 5 GHz, is to choose another channel on the farthest end. ActionTek uses Channel 1, so he should try Channel 11. That should clear the field and help Al to connect.

How can I get my router working again?

Episode 1032

Paul from Lake Forest, CA

Paul's dad finally got internet access, but he didn't have a router to protect him against attacks online. So Paul gave him his old router. Everytime he has issues, he calls AT&T and they tell him to disconnect the router, though! Leo advises making sure that the router firmware is updated. Rebooting the router often helps. It could also be an issue with AT&T's internet service.