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

Why is my streaming so unreliable?

Ray from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1326

Ray is having trouble streaming. It buffers a lot. Leo says that if his router is a few years old, it could slow down and become less reliable. Rebooting the router will bring it back, but then it'll happen again. So he should get a new one. His TV's Wi-Fi may also be getting "promiscuous," meaning it is jumping to a stronger signal every time it finds one. He can also go into his router and adjust the "lease time for DHCP" to make it longer before it acquires a new IP address. He can also get a dual band router, which will have 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz.

How can I monitor bandwidth on my network?

Episode 1322

David from Australia
Apple Airport Extreme

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.

What is a proxy?

Jay from Providence, NC

Episode 1322

Jay noticed in OS X El Capitan that there's something called "proxies." What is that? Leo says that unless he's using a proxy server, he should ignore it. If it has been set and he didn't know it, it could be a security software thing. Or perhaps a VPN. Proxies are used so that he can link another computer to get online, or use a different service. If it bothers him, he should just turn it off and see if it affects anything else. It could also be malware.

Why doesn't my old laptop connect to the internet?

Sue from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1316

Sue bought a new router/modem and her laptop won't connect wirelessly anymore. She's been told that her network card is bad. Leo recommends taking the laptop to a coffee shop to see if it connects via Wi-Fi. If it does, then it's just a configuration issue. Since the laptop is Windows Vista, she wants to just get a new computer. Leo says that's a much better option since Windows 10 is far better than Vista.

What is wrong with my router?

Episode 1308

Tony from San Diego, CA
Asus AC3200

Tony's router is starting to get flakey. Leo says that we've become used to using cheap routers. However, the cheaper the router, the faster it will wear out. If Tony buys a better quality router, it'll be more consistent and last longer. Netgear makes good routers.

The problem could also be Tony's modem. He'll want a DOCSIS III modem. For that, Leo likes the Arris Surfboard SB6141 which is $70 on Amazon.

How can I improve my Wi-Fi coverage?

Episode 1302

Fred from Upland, CA
Plume Wi-Fi

Fred gets really bad bandwidth with Wi-Fi. Leo says that's a common problem and three companies, including Plume, have started up to address it. Leo says that Eero is currently the only one that has a device out to solve the issue. It costs about $500 for three extenders that he would place all around his home, creating a mesh Wi-Fi network. Luma is a little less expensive, though.

Why can't my Mac connect to the Internet?

Betty from Madison, WI

Episode 1296

Betty can't log into the internet with her Mac. It says there are no plugins to do so. Leo says to check your router connection to see if your WiFi router is turned on. You can do that in the Apple's Network system preferences. If you can't see your access point, you're not connected to it. If it's connected, then look if the internet connection is available. If the WiFi router isn't working properly, it'll be connected, but it won't go anywhere. It'll just be a local address starting with 168. Try resetting your router.