Networking

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

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.

Why does my Wi-Fi signal keep dropping?

Episode 1148

Rick from Akron, OH
Wi-Fi

Rick is getting an error message that he's lost his Wi-Fi connection. Leo says it's a common issue with Wi-Fi. It's not malware because the last thing malware would want is to get him offline. Malware these days is about making money off of him, and that means it has a vested interest in keeping him online.

When Rick rebooted, the Wi-Fi light on his router wasn't on. He did a system repair which fixed it. Leo says that the router may have chosen a congested channel and as such, he may be just getting knocked off. It may also be an issue with a recent update.

How can I get better Wi-Fi reception?

Episode 1146

Brett from Woodbridge, NJ
Wi-Fi

Brett would like to hardwire his mother's PC so she doesn't have issues with Wi-Fi dropping out. Leo says that it sounds like an issue of distance. Leo had the same problem, so he extended the Wi-Fi with a repeater. He uses an Airport Extreme with Airport Express that automatically extends the range. He'll want to buy the repeater from the same company as the router. He can also try something called Powerline networking.

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.

What Ethernet cable should I put in my walls?

Episode 1144

Avis from Santa Ana, CA
Ethernet cable

Avis is remodeling her home and she wants to wire her home for three computers, security cameras, and her home theater. Leo says that will require a high speed connection with all that video data. It's hard to future proof, but as long as she has the walls open, she should put conduit in. That way, when she needs to upgrade, it's a lot easier to run new cable through it.

Why did the Wi-Fi stop working on my laptop after installing HP driver updates?

Episode 1143

Jerry from California
Wi-Fi

Jerry began having Wi-Fi issues after updating drivers from HP. Leo suggests looking in the system tray to see if there's a red "x." If there is, then he'll know the problem is a connection. He should go through the settings, update his password, and make sure it's in Ad Hoc mode, not infrastructure. Right click on the tray icon and select "Properties." That'll take him to settings.

Another option is to roll back to the old drivers. Jerry can also go into the system BIOS and make sure Wi-Fi wasn't disabled there.