Networking

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

What do I need to take advantage of the CAT 5 wiring in my condo?

Barry from Fort Meyers, FL

Episode 1261

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.

What's the best way to wire my house for the Internet?

Ed from Chino Hills, CA

Episode 1254

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.

How can I get back control of my router?

Paul from Tarzana, CA

Episode 1253

Paul has a NetGear cable modem/router and he suddenly can't access it to make any changes. Leo says that routers are really cheap computers and sometimes it can get bit-rotted just like any other computer. Paul should try doing a factory reset. Then he should be able to log in and re-enter all of his settings. It's a good thing to do once in a while anyway.

Is internet connected home automation secure?

Gary from Buffalo, NY

Episode 1241

Gary has a ton of devices attached to his network, including home automation devices. It's called the "Internet of things," where all those devices are accessible to the Internet. But is it secure? Leo says it's possible that his network can be breached through them, but that's theoretical. It hasn't happened yet. More likely, his router will be overwhelmed by all the connections. So it may be time to upgrade it.