Karen wants to know if she should flash her firmware on her router to get it to work better. Leo says that in a way, you flash that firmware almost every time you update. But if you're talking about using third-party firmware, they can be very good, but they are limited in the routers they support. Check out DD-WRT.com and look in the router database to see if it's compatible. Most routers don't support it, sadly. What Leo recommends is ASUS routers, because they use their own flavor of DD-WRT.
Dave wants to know how to find out how much bandwidth he uses every month. Leo says that if your router supports DD-WRT firmware, you can. But your router may already keep track. So look in your router settings to find out. If not, and your router supports it, you can install DD-WRT firmware. Check out dd-wrt.com. But understand, that flashing the firmware on your router could void the warranty. If you need a new one, get the ASUS router, it uses a flavor of DD-WRT already out of the box.
Gordon hears that after about 3 years, routers become less secure and outdated. So does he have to replace his ASUS AC3200 router? Leo says often, news agencies read copy from an electronic press kit. Routers are getting hacked, but if he bought a good router from a company that updates the firmware regularly, then he's OK. ASUS uses DD-WRT, which is updated regularly. So all he has to do is keep them updated.
Neil is worried that the VPN Filter hack will affect his Asus router because his model isn't protected. Should he be worried? Leo says first thing he can do is update his firmware. Asus keeps their firmware up to date regularly and uses open source DD-WRT firmware. So if there isn't one, he can patch it himself. But Asus routers are great because they update them constantly. Neil should reload the most current firmware, even if he has already updated it. That will wipe out any additional problems.
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.
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.
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.
Marco just heard of yet another router hack called NET USB that is breaking into routers. Leo says that's because most router companies use the same code and it has bad security. The irony is that these hacks don't effect Apple routers like the Airport. So that makes the Airport a better way to go. But they are more expensive. If he can't afford to buy them, then he should get a router that is DDWRT compatible (like Asus), then he can use open source firmware to keep it locked down.
Joe just got a router and wants to know if he really needs firewalls anymore. Leo says no. Joe could turn on the Windows firewall, but any third party firewall isn't really needed because the router is essentially a "dumb box" that prevents attacks from incoming traffic.
Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.