Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Dale needs to buy a router for a complex computer network. What's a good one to buy? Leo says that he uses an Asus AC3200. It's very good and very configurable. A good way to extend a wireless network, though, is to use WDS with the prime router and then a wireless extender/repeater about midway. It's always good to use the same brand. But congestion can kill bandwidth.
Harry is reinstalling the Windows Vista OS on a friend's computer and now it's connected to "an unidentified" router with a local access only. He can't get online. Leo advises connecting via hardwire. If that works, then it's a setting that's not allowing it to get online. A driver may need to be downloaded as well. Getting the motherboard drivers from the manufacturer could solve it.
James needs to set up Wi-Fi restrictions on his router. Leo says that it's very router specific, and he can go into his router settings and leave it open by MAC address. He can also schedule internet access. James will need a router that supports Access Control Lists (ACL).
Larry is thinking of going with powerline networking in his house. Leo says that thanks to the Powerline Alliance, powerline networking has gotten a lot better in the last few years. It's not as fast as Ethernet, however -- it's about half the speed. But it's still pretty good. Leo does it for his house and it works great. But instead of 20MB throughput, he'll get half that.
Eric gets Wi-Fi where he lives but it's very weak. Would a repeater help? Leo said it could, but he'll need to place it half way between the router and his location, and that may not work well for his living situation. A USB Wi-Fi antenna could be a better choice because he can position and direct it.
Barry just moved into a condo wired for CAT 5 Ethernet. What does he need to make it all work? Leo says he'll need something that will connect to the internet -- a switch or hub that will plug into his router. The chatroom says he may need at least three routers to work with fiber to create a public and private network. That way he can do some home automation as well. Barry should check out PracticallyNetworked.com for help.
Robert wants to extend his Wi-Fi range. What should he get? Leo says a repeater or extender will help. He'll just put it midway between where he wants to go and where his router is. That will usually work. But if he has issues with the signal getting blocked, he could try powerline networking.
JC has been going through a lot of routers lately, and they just don't perform as promised. Leo says that you get what you pay for and the cheaper routers don't get their firmware updated all that often, if at all. Also getting a dual band router that can run at either 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz is beneficial because the 2.4 Ghz is very crowded.
Ed is building a house in a remote area. Should he install Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable? Leo says that the faster it is, the more expensive it is. It's about 30% faster with each level. So Leo says to future proof your home, buy the 5e, but he should put in conduit so he can replace it with faster cables down the line. It won't speed up internet access, it'll just speed delivery of data within the house. Most people will just be using Wi-Fi, though.