routers

How can I get a better signal to my Roku box?

Episode 1172

Archie from Hawthorne, CA
Roku

Archie has a Wi-Fi router and has connected his Roku, but he's not getting good enough reception and it buffers a lot. Leo says the farther the router is from the Roku, the less connection can be made. But Leo also suspects that the router isn't giving Archie as much bandwidth as he needs. It could be due to congestion.

If his router supports the 5 GHz band, it's a much better choice for streaming. He can also take the old router and put it in bridge mode and use it as a repeater to pass along the signal.

Am I paying too much for internet access?

Delores from Van Nuys, CA

Episode 1169

Delores got a new Apple iPhone 6 and she's wondering if she doesn't need her landline anymore. Leo says that for emergencies, a landline is a good idea because it works when nothing else does. But there is more than just the phone company that offer landlines. She also wants to be able to use all of her devices at home. Leo says that she'll want a Wi-Fi router so that she can get online from all of her devices.

How can I lock down my internet with parental controls?

Episode 1167

Jennifer from Manhattan Beach, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jennifer wants to be able to control all her kids' devices at the router level so they can't work around it or stay up all night. She's also concerned the Verizon FiOS router could stop working. Leo says it may be a good idea to get an additional router for wireless applications and turn off wireless capability in the Verizon router, and just keep it wired. She should use the Apple Airport Extreme. Then she can work with the settings in the Airport under the Access Control List.

Can I run my computer and credit card terminal on the same ethernet connection?

Sandy from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1166

Sandy wanted to run a computer and credit card swipe terminal on the same ethernet connection. Leo says that may not work since the credit card terminal needs it's own connection to the net. It requires a unique address. A router could help because it would route the traffic and it would be a different device address internally. Will it slow down her computer? Leo says a minuscule amount. Nothing that Sandy would notice, though. Any cheap router will work for this, but Leo likes D-Link.

How can I extend the Wi-Fi range between two houses?

Episode 1166

Matthew from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apple Airport Extreme

Matthew wants to know if he can bridge two Airport Extremes, put them 300 feet apart and still get a signal. Leo says it's no problem, except for the distance. 300 feet is a long way for 802.11,b,a,c, which max at about 150. 802.11AC, though, can go about 300 feet. One thing he can do is use a directional antenna from one to another. A new Airport Extreme, though, will work. Leo advises sticking with the same company's products to make the extension.

How can I make my router work better?

Episode 1156

Aaron from Tuscon, AZ
ASUS 3-In-1 Wireless Router (RT-N12)

Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.

Another option is to get a router that can use open source firmware like DDWRT or Tomato. Asus is one such manufacturer.

How can I get rid of a hacker who's stalking me?

Episode 1151

Karen from Sun City, CA
Hacker

Karen is having an issue with an online stalker who has hacked into her computer and has been deleting her files and other things. Leo suspects that Karen isn't really being hacked unless she has incurred the wrath of someone who can do that. More likely, what may be happening is that she's got malware and she probably should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.

Why does my modem kick my iMac off Wi-Fi?

Episode 1146

Jack from Garden Grove, CA
Apple Airport Extreme

Jack has an issue with his iMac getting knocked off the network using Wi-Fi. He has to reboot from time to time. Leo says that Apple has issues with Wi-Fi and it's a black art. Leo thinks it may be an issue with the cable modem. Jack should ask his cable provider if he can buy his own, and pick up an Arris DOCSIS 3 modem. Even though they gave him one, he's just renting it and it's likely a used one. He should buy his own, along with a router, and he'll get better results and save money on rental fees as well.

Are there advantages to plugging my external drive into my router instead of my computer?

Episode 1132

Mark from Chatsworth, CA
USB hard drive

Leo says this would just be different. Instead of being a local drive to his computer, it would become a network mounted drive. Copying files would go over the Wi-Fi network, which would be fairly slow compared to being plugged into directly to the computer. The advantage is that the drive would become accessible to other computers on the network, turning it into a NAS, or Network Attached Storage.

Do I need a router to use my phone as a hotspot?

Episode 1124

Laurie from Glendale, CA
Cell Phone Tower

Laurie wants to know if she needs a router to use her phone as a hotspot. Leo says no, the phone acts as a router. Her speeds will depend on how many devices she's using with that hotspot, and how many other people are using that tower. Laurie uses it because it's cheaper than paying for internet access at home. Leo also says that mobile phone operating systems are also more secure than desktops.