Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Ron has the Tiny Hardware Firewall, which he likes. Once he's connected to the VPN inside of it, what does the firewall do, though? Leo says that the firewall is the first level of protection. It acts as a router and is the attack surface, not the computer. A router is a dumb device that doesn't know what the attack is and ignores it, unless there's a security flaw inside the system. Like a router at home, the Tiny Hardware Firewall gives a little extra protection, though.
Pedro created an account at OpenDNS but it isn't working for him. Leo says that OpenDNS can protect kids with a custom "phone book" that has a list of approved domain names in it. OpenDNS can then filter out the undesired addresses that he wouldn't want. If he inputs the router server settings of OpenDNS properly, it'll filter the traffic correctly. But if his kids have figured out how to change the settings in the computer, it can override that, unless he's made the settings in the router itself.
Chip just upgraded to Windows 10 and he misses the notifications of network traffic in his system tray. Leo says that was a feature that was dropped several generations ago because there is a rich ecosystem of third party developers that can provide the same functions.
Chip should check out the Network Activity Indicator from itsamples.com
Jim's church has an auxiliary building that's about 300 feet away and they'd like to create a connection in order to broadcast the church service when they need overflow seating. Leo says he can create a directional Wi-Fi setup that will beam the service directly to the building without the need to deploy cable. He should check out this article at RadioLabs.com. It won't cost any more than running an HDMI cable.
Frank is having trouble installing his Nest Cam. It won't work unless he turns off his firewall. Leo says that's not good. But it's the nature of a firewall, as it blocks a conversation between incoming and outgoing traffic. That's why Leo recommends using a router instead. He can also use the DMZ feature, where he could allow the Nest Cam to bypass protection. Leo doesn't recommend it, but it can be one option.
Cam has an Arris Wi-Fi router hardwired into his computer, but he can't modify the settings. Leo says he should be able to. He should call the cable company and ask them for the password to access the router. Or, instead of using their router, ask them what third party routers they will support and he can buy his own. He'll want a DOCSIS III.
Check out this app: Snoop Snitch in the Google Play store. It will tell him how secure his router is.
Seth wants to set up a home media server for a friend. He has an array of hard drives that connect via Thunderbolt and wants to share those with everyone else in the house. Can he do that or does he have to migrate to a separate NAS? Leo says that a Home Media Server is a kind of NAS that can be an older computer or even a hard drive that runs Apple Media Player or even Windows Media Player. In fact, many routers can do this as well. Apple's Airport can do this. But the best idea is just to get a Network Attached Storage and run the home media server software that comes with it.
William has an Airport Extreme router that disconnects 3-4 times a day. Leo says that's not unusual with routers. They're basically just a dumb computer that sometimes crashes. So he'll have to unplug and reboot it. If it continues after that, it indicates that the router is starting to fail and he'll need to replace it. He can also try rebooting his modem.
Peter's parents have AT&T DSL and it's terrible. Leo says that's because DSL is reliant on the phone lines, and the farther it is from the central hub, the more problematic it can be. If the phone lines are antiquated, that's even worse. He can demand that AT&T upgrade its wires, but then he's really dependent on their good measure. One thing he can do is turn off the Wi-Fi capabilities of the router they gave him and connect his own router. That's likely going to speed up the wireless speed tremendously. Leo like Asus routers.