Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Bob wants to control his whole home through a single device. Leo says the SmartThings Hub from Samsung will work, since it uses both protocols Zigby and Z-Wave. There's also the Wink Hub. He'll get some combined functionality, but he'll need apps for each of his smart devices that have expanded capabilities.
Brian has a workshop that's about 70 feet from the house and he needs to extend his Wi-Fi network. Obstacles like doors and walls get in the way of the signal. What can he do? Leo says to string a LAN wire out into the ground.
Walt has a few hundred CDs and he'd like to rip them, put them on a music server, and then donate them. Leo recommends ripping in a lossless version called FLAC. FLAC is a great because if one needs to re-burn to a CD, they can. If using iTunes, he should use Apple's own lossless codec. Using a Mac that stays on all the time would work, but Leo recommends using a Network Attached Storage device and have that run as the music server. It can also do double duty backing up the network. Leo recommends the Synology brand.
Al wants to get a router that can run Tomato or DD-WRT, so he can run VPNs through it because mesh routers aren't open source. Leo says a better option is to use an old computer as his router. pfSense is a good open source router app that can do that. It'll give him far more powerful hardware that can do what he would want it to do. He can even use a Raspberry Pi for it.
John has a problem where after about 10 minutes, his router drops to a slow crawl. He's done Windows Repair, reinstalled Windows, and even replaced his router. What else can he do to solve the issue? Leo says that it's possible that the computer is doing something in the background. Leo doesn't like having to rely on the routers provided by an ISP. They're usually old, haven't been updated, and he'd end up paying monthly for them. John should see if there's a router log. He can look there to see what's taking up all the bandwidth.
James has 300 DVDs that he'd like to put on a media server and watch using Amazon Alexa to launch them. Rich says that the first thing James would need to do is "rip" them to a hard drive. He can use a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Client to get them into digital files. Then he can put them on a network attached storage device.
Fred bought a Plume Mesh router to improve coverage in his house and improve the latency. But the latency problem is still there while doing file sharing. What else can he do to stop it? Leo says that he should look at DSLReports bandwidth tester. It'll give him an accurate measurement of his latency issues. He should also run speedtest.net.
Nam bought a new router, but now he can't print. Leo says it's a good idea to delete the connection in his printer, then go into the printer settings of his computer and delete the connection there. Then reinstall. It could be it just needs to be reacquired by the OS.
Brian wants to know why he should replace his router. Leo says that routers wear out, like when they are getting hot. That's an indicator it's working harder to push the traffic where it needs to go. He'll want to look for a router that that updates its firmware. He'll also want a reliable manufacturer who cares about updates. Leo also recommends a MESH router, which are great for homes that have issues with WiFi reception.
Get a mesh system at Eero's website (sponsor of TWiT)
Josh wants to know if he should buy all one brand of hard drives for his QNAP NAS or if he could mix them. Leo says that there's no problem with mixing drives, but he should make sure that the drive size is consistent, as most RAIDs will manage according to the smallest size. If he's buying it all at once, then it makes sense to buy the same drive, but if he's getting a great deal on different hard drives, then by all means, he should save the money.