Networking

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

How effective is powerline networking?

Episode 1382

Patrick (MacMan) from Indianapolis, IN
TP-Link AV2000 Powerline Adapter Kit

Is powerline networking a decent option these days? Leo says that it's improved a lot since it was introduced 20 years ago. It was horrible back then. Now it's much better. He won't get the full throughput, though – Only about 60%. And he'll have to be on the same fuse box. Leo also recommends the Plume routers because they have ethernet connections as well, so he could plug in there.

Why is my Wi-Fi so slow?

Episode 1382

Melissa from Encinitas, CA
TP-Link Archer C7

Melissa's Wi-Fi is really slow of late. Leo says that everyone is experiencing bad Wi-Fi these days because we're doing more with it and dozens of devices are typically connected to it. Congestion is a serious problem. To eliminate her ISP as the problem, she should connect directly to her router and see how it performs. If it's just the same, then she'll know that the ISP needs to fix the problem. But if it improves, then it's her Wi-Fi network.

Why does YouTube keep buffering for me?

Autumn from Woodland Hills, CA

Episode 1380

Autumn has been having buffering problems while trying to watch YouTube videos. Leo says there are a number of things that could be causing this. It may not even be her internet, it could be her computer. Autumn says her computer is a five year old Lenovo that doesn't seem to be slow otherwise. It's not unusual for DSL to have trouble with bandwidth as well. The problem with DSL is that the company that sells it is at the mercy of the phone company.

Why can't I use Chromecast with the Linksys Velop mesh router?

Episode 1378

Albert from Las Vegas, NV
Google Chromecast

Albert bought a Linksys Velop Mesh Wi-Fi router, but it doesn't work with his Chromecast when trying to cast something from his Chrome browser on the desktop. His mobile devices do work, however. His Chromecast can get it on the network, but he can't see it from his desktop browser. Leo doesn't think there's a particular problem with the Velop and the Chromecast. If the computer and the Chromecast are on the same network, he should be able to cast to it.

Do I need a managed switch for my network?

Episode 1378

David from Palm Beach, FL
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X

David has multiple TVs and computers and would like to link them all together with a switch. Should it be managed or unmanaged? Leo says that networking is a high end technical topic. A router manages the traffic and routes it through to the proper device. Routers use QOS or "quality of service" to do it. A switch is still needed, though, and it reduces traffic. A managed switch would allow him to run protocols and control the network properly. Most people don't need a managed switch.

What router should I buy?

Episode 1377

Paul from Columbus, OH
TPLink Archer C7

Paul's daughter has a really old router and it's starting to flake out, so it's time to get a new one. Leo says she should get a dual band router that supports not only 2.4 Ghz, but also 5Ghz. She'll want one that supports 802.11ac. The reason to get a dual band router is that everyone is on 2.4 these days, and while 5 GHz is limited and won't go through walls, it is barely used.

How can I find out what devices connect to a router?

Episode 1374

Isaac from Los Angeles, CA
WiFi Pineapple

Isaac is a cop and wants to know if routers collect data of what connects to it or sees it. Leo says only if the device was connected to that router. Just seeing it is another matter, and that's unlikely. Android has an app called WiFi Collector from NirSoft, but that's the opposite direction from what Isaak wants. Leo says that the WiFi Pineapple from HakShop could work for this.