Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Debbie has an old 2007 MacBook. She can't plug her iPhone to it and transfer her data. iPhoto keeps quitting on her. Leo says that she can turn on Wi-Fi syncing on the phone and use that option. It's slower, but it will work without crashing. iCloud Syncing is also a good option. Then she can sync it without even running iPhoto.
Ashley is concerned about the "internet of things," where so many devices are internet enabled, and the router being able to handle so many connections. Leo says that most routers can handle 50-100 connections. So that's not an issue to worry much about.
Having said that, a dual band router does connect better. What's the best router to get? Leo says getting an 802.11 AC router, which can aim at the devices (called beam forming). Leo also likes open source routers like those that can run DD-WRT software. Asus is a good brand.
Bob wants to know if he can extend his Wi-Fi with a wired connection, rather than a wireless connection. Leo says sure. The trick is that while he can use any router, that router must be put into bridge mode. Don't let it do any routing. Just have the signal pass it along.
Brian has trouble watching streaming video: the internet "cuts out" on him. Leo says it sounds like an overheating router. The router is just a cheap, dumb computer and if it's running a lot of streaming, chances are his router is overheating. If it is, then it may be time to get a new one. Same thing with the modem. He should also try unplugging the router, waiting ten seconds, and plug it back in. If it comes back, then he'll know he needs a new router.
Jesse is an audiophile who loves high resolution music. He wants to be able to listen to his music on any device without having to rely on an internet connection to do it. He was thinking about using Plex, but isn't sure how it works. Leo says that Plex doesn't pull music from the internet. It relies on local storage and then can route it to any device on the network. He could then send it to Roku to play. He should be able to stream 192 kb audio just fine over Wi-Fi.
Greg has "router paranoia" over the recent security flaws that have been found. Should he pay more for a router? Leo says no. It's not the price of the router -- it's a flaw in the router firmware that is rarely updated because they are so cheap.
Greg has several PCs in two different locations and wants to network them together. But he can't really see all of the computers on it. Leo says that networking is a dark art that only an IT guy can address when dealing with as many computers and networks as Greg has. Since Greg started with a simple home network that has grown, Windows may be looking for a work domain that doesn't exist.
Michael would like to get a DOCSIS III modem and Leo says to be sure this his cable company enables it on their end when he does. He's also going to want to have a router that can support it, and Leo likes the Asus line. These are DDWRT compatible, and will protect him from the router bug that has hit lately. He should definitely get a good router. It'll be more expensive, but it's worth it.
Garrett has an iPad 2 and he's having trouble connecting via Wi-Fi consistently. He'll connect and then when he goes into his room, it drops. Leo says that Wi-Fi is a radio signal and it has a range of about 100-150', but it can also be affected by what is in the walls. If he has metal in the walls, then he'll have issues connecting. Leo also says the connection may be congested by a crowded 2.4 GHz frequency band. Modern routers give the choice of 2.4 or 5 GHz.
Steve has FiOS and the Wi-Fi seems to be slow. How can he speed it up? He'd like to bypass the Verizon router and use his own. Leo says that he'll have to use the Verizon device to connect to FiOS, but he can disable the router part and use his own router instead. He'll need to connect them with ethernet to make it work. The router is also built into the modem and is using network addressing. Steve should put the router part in "bridge mode" to just hand it off to the router.