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

Why is my desktop internet so slow?

Che from Orlando, FL

Episode 1224

Che just bought a new Dell XPS Desktop and it's started to slow down drastically. He does a speed test, like Leo taught, and the desktop is much slower than his laptop. What gives? Leo says to try plugging the desktop directly into the router with an ethernet cable, and see if the speed improves. If so, then you've narrowed it down to the router. Leo says it could the hardware, but you could try reinstalling the WiFi connection. There may also be conflicting WiFi drivers at work between the hardware driver and the Windows driver. That can confuse windows and slow things down.

How can I add a Wi-Fi router to a wired house?

Don from Mission Viejo, CA

Episode 1223

Don just picked up the Del XPS 13 per Leo's recommendation with the touch screen and he loves it. Leo says when you buy a PC these days, it makes sense to "load it up" to future proof it and use it longer. Don bought a house a few years ago that came with a so-called "network box" that can run a computer network all around the the house via Ethernet. But the problem is, he'd like to get a new WiFi Router. But Leo says that having a WiFi router isn't necessary when you have a house that's wired up for Network access.

Why can't I connect to the Internet?

Episode 1222

Jill from Jasper, GA

Jill got a new wireless router and now it's kicking her off the internet, replicating the same problems of her previous router. Leo says that a router dropping the connection from time to time is often a sign of a failing router. Leo advises getting the Asus 3200. Cheap routers are a false economy as they don't perform well, so Jill should spend a little money and get a better router.

How can I get better Wi-Fi reception?

Phillip from Camarillo, CA

Episode 1222

Phillip's girlfriend is having issues with her Wi-Fi. Leo says that it could be an interference issue with metal frames and dead zones in her home. Would a range extender work? Leo says that they can if she gets one from the same manufacturer as the original router. But if the main home is using a router from the carrier, then that could be a problem. It would be better to buy a new router with the extender and match them together. Another option could be powerline networking.

How can I set up a home network?

Tom from Houston, TX

Episode 1216

Tom would like to set up a home network and he's pretty confused on how to do it. Where can he go to get some insider tips? Leo says that a great source is They not only have product reviews, but also tutorials that explain nomenclature and how to go about setting up a network. They keep it up to date, too. Start with "Backgrounders," to learn the basics. Then he can move on to how to set one up.

How can I share my internet access securely?

Anthony from Ontario, CA

Episode 1214

Anthony shares his internet access with a tenant who wants hardwire access to the modem. Leo says that makes it difficult to isolate, and he'll need a second router, or better yet, a third router. He should segment them on the network so that the tenant doesn't have access to Anthony's data. Leo recommends checking out for how to do it.

Why can't I connect to my Wi-Fi network?

Luis from Tarzana, CA

Episode 1212

Luis can't connect to his Wi-Fi at his house, but he can connect to other Wi-Fi networks. Leo says that the first thing to do is connect via ethernet, just to make sure he can connect wired. Then he should try and join the Wi-Fi while he's right next to the router. If he can't connect, he should try rebooting the router. Then reboot the laptop. Then try wired again. It could be a handshake issue.

Is Time Warner Max as fast as they hype?

Episode 1208

Ron from North Carolina
Motorola SB6120 SURFboard DOCSIS 3.0 Modem

Ron wants to know if Time Warner Max delivers the high speed it promises. Leo says that it should, and it's all driven by Google, who's putting gigabit internet everywhere. Time Warner Cable and AT&T have started to up the performance of users' broadband to compete. But if Ron doesn't have a DOCSIS III modem, then he's not getting the benefit of that faster internet access. Ron should talk to his provider about getting one or he should just buy it himself. In the long run he'll save money by buying it himself, since he's paying to rent that modem anyway.