Networking

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

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.

Why does my laptop run so slow on my network?

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Episode 1158

Noah has a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop but he's having trouble connecting through his new Motorola router. It's slower than anything else. Leo says that the Inspiron's 17R Wi-Fi is G/N, and if he puts a device on it that uses a lower Wi-Fi standard, it downgrades everything to that lower standard. Also, Windows Machines slow down over time, so he may need to start over and restore to factory conditions to speed up the performance. Leo says to try connecting the laptop to the router via ethernet and see if it speeds up. If it does, then it's a wireless problem.

Is My Cloud Mirror from Western Digital network attached storage?

Todd from Topeka, KS

Episode 1158

Todd wants to know about the WD My Cloud Mirror. Is it network attached storage? Leo says it is, but it's supposed to be an appliance for those who aren't very technical. It comes with WD dual drives, will work with Mac or PC, but it doesn't have as many features as a traditional NAS. It will connect to cloud solutions like DropBox for off site backup. There's also a feature he likes that will allow him to connect to the computer directly and copy the files over. At $291 for 4TB of storage, it's a great deal.

How can I replace the network adapter in my PC?

Ron from Hollywood, CA

Episode 1157

Ron's Dell computer is having trouble connecting and he has a hunch the network adapter is dying. He's tried different software, but hasn't been able to get it to work. Leo says that the adapter is soldered to the motherboard and to fix that would require changing the motherboard. But he can buy a USB to Ethernet network connector for $12 from monoprice.com.

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.

What's a good way to back up my network and also use it as a media server?

Episode 1154

Jonathan from Los Angeles, CA
Synology DS414 Slim

Jonathan would like a backup system that will backup through his router, and he'd like it to double as a media server. Leo says that's called network attached storage. It hooks into the router, is visible on the network as a drive, and it can be used as a backup. Many NAS systems will run media servers so they act like a jukebox for music, video, etc.

Is power line networking a viable alternative to ethernet?

Episode 1154

Larry from Mill Valley, CA
Ethernet cable

Larry has ethernet built into his house along with cable. But it isn't located by his home theater system, where he wants it. Would power line networking be a good option for this? Leo would just string more ethernet if he can get into the walls. If he can't, then power line networking would work, although Leo doesn't use it. Still, others have said it's improved, just make sure it's PNA certified.

What modem should I buy that would work with Time Warner?

Episode 1151

Chuck from Thousand Oaks, CA
Arris SurfBoard modem

Leo says he does need to get a modem that's compatible, and he can get a list of compatible modems from Time Warner's website. Leo uses an Arris modem on Comcast, and he thinks that would also be compatible on Time Warner. Leo says you can almost always save money and get a more up to date modem by buying your own instead of renting one from the cable company.