Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Clyde heard about the Jeep that got hacked and worries that it could happen to his car since he connects his phone to the car with USB. Leo says that simply connecting the phone to the car stereo isn't sufficient for this. The Jeep hack involved using the car's built-in 3G access. The real flaw is that the entertainment unit of the car and the computer running the car (braking, ignition, etc), are not physically separated. They are connected in many cars through the CamBus, or internal car network.
Eric has free Wi-Fi in his neighborhood, but his signal is pretty weak. Sadly, he doesn't have access to the router. How can he use an extender to pass the signal along? Leo says that he'd ideally want to boost both transmission and reception, but without access to the router, he can't do that.
Casey has a router with four ports, but he has more printers and computers than that. Leo says to get a router extender that he can plug into one port on the router, which can extend it to handle up to 10 additional ports. Any brand will do. A router switch is a bit more intelligent -- it can switch automatically between them to keep the network running faster. But an extender will work.
Dave's office is having trouble rerouting URLs within his office network. Leo suspects there's a redirect block on the network. It could be a rule that's been put on the network. Another option is to flush the DNS cache to wipe out that file so it can properly reroute. He can open a command line (windows Key +R) and type IPConfig /flushDNS. This way it won't rely on the list of DNS settings on his router or network and then moves on to the DNS registrar for the proper DNS address. It then will put the proper DNS in his router and it shouldn't happen anymore.
Debbie has an old 2007 MacBook. She can't plug her iPhone to it and transfer her data. iPhoto keeps quitting on her. Leo says that she can turn on Wi-Fi syncing on the phone and use that option. It's slower, but it will work without crashing. iCloud Syncing is also a good option. Then she can sync it without even running iPhoto.
Ashley is concerned about the "internet of things," where so many devices are internet enabled, and the router being able to handle so many connections. Leo says that most routers can handle 50-100 connections. So that's not an issue to worry much about.
Having said that, a dual band router does connect better. What's the best router to get? Leo says getting an 802.11 AC router, which can aim at the devices (called beam forming). Leo also likes open source routers like those that can run DD-WRT software. Asus is a good brand.
Bob wants to know if he can extend his Wi-Fi with a wired connection, rather than a wireless connection. Leo says sure. The trick is that while he can use any router, that router must be put into bridge mode. Don't let it do any routing. Just have the signal pass it along.
Brian has trouble watching streaming video: the internet "cuts out" on him. Leo says it sounds like an overheating router. The router is just a cheap, dumb computer and if it's running a lot of streaming, chances are his router is overheating. If it is, then it may be time to get a new one. Same thing with the modem. He should also try unplugging the router, waiting ten seconds, and plug it back in. If it comes back, then he'll know he needs a new router.
Jesse is an audiophile who loves high resolution music. He wants to be able to listen to his music on any device without having to rely on an internet connection to do it. He was thinking about using Plex, but isn't sure how it works. Leo says that Plex doesn't pull music from the internet. It relies on local storage and then can route it to any device on the network. He could then send it to Roku to play. He should be able to stream 192 kb audio just fine over Wi-Fi.
Greg has "router paranoia" over the recent security flaws that have been found. Should he pay more for a router? Leo says no. It's not the price of the router -- it's a flaw in the router firmware that is rarely updated because they are so cheap.