Networking

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

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.

Why can't my Blu-ray player pick up my Wi-Fi signal?

Episode 1372

Susan from Yorba Linda, CA
TPLink 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit

Susan is having trouble streaming with her Blu-ray player and her TV. Leo says it could be that the Blu-ray's Wi-Fi isn't working too well. She may need to move her hotspot closer to the TV itself. It may also be that there's congestion on the 2.4 Ghz band, and her TV won't pick up the 5.0 Ghz band. She should try using her mobile phone as a hotspot and see if it picks it up. If it does, then the Wi-Fi spot is either too far away or is congested and swamped by other signals.

How can I use my computer and a VOiP phone at the same time?

Episode 1371

Gloria from North Hollywood, CA
Ooma Telo

Gloria wants to cut her phone service and use Ooma. Is that a good idea? Leo says that with one computer plugged into the internet, she can, but she'll also need a router so she can give access to others. A simple wireless router from Asus or DLink would work well. She should go for the dual band or tri band router. The WireCutter suggests the TP-Link Archer C7 (v2). She can find out more about it at thewirecutter.com.