John is going to Prague soon for a vacation. He's looking for his data options while there and how to translate the language he will see. Leo says that prepaidwithdata.wikia.com is a great place to find what local sims are available. Is there a pro/con of using a SIM vs. a hotspot? Leo says absolutely. Go for the hotspot. A local SIM will change his phone number while in the country, and as such, nobody can reach him unless they have his new number.
Tucker wants to use a captive portal wifi hotspot, but is it secure? Some are poorly made and can leak your data, others can sell data or even input advertising into it. Is Opera a good one? Leo says it's not exactly a VPN, and by giving away the service, that costs money. So they have to be making money somehow. Also, it's not strictly a VPN, it's a proxy service. One thing that Leo recommends is the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It has a built-in webserver, dual wifi radios, and a built-in hardware firewall.
Brett needs to connect his laptop to his phone and use it as a hotspot. Leo says that the iPhone does have a hotspot mode, but some carriers will want to charge him for the privilege. He can enable it in the phone's cellular settings. Then he can connect his laptop to his phone via Wi-Fi. This will be impacting his data plan though, so he should keep that in mind. But if his connection keeps dropping, that sounds like an issue with the laptop.
Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically.
John is having problems with two Windows laptops (one 8.1 and one Windows 10). They will connect to the hotspots, but they won't connect to the internet. Leo says that's called "captive portal" and it requires logging in to gain access. It could also be a security update that is preventing it. It could be closing down a port that he needs to access the internet. He could try reinstalling the network driver.
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
Todd wants to know if there's a way to get cellular data on his Microsoft Surface Laptop. Should he just turn his iPhone into a hotspot? Rich says it depends on whether or not he can hotspot with his iPhone. He'll probably have to pay an additional fee with it. Rich favors a dedicated hotspot like the MiFi Card over turning the phone into a hotspot.
Darrell worries that his laptop isn't safe on a public WiFi hotspot. Leo says that the reality is he does broadcast his web traffic via radio and it can be sniffed. But these days, most sites are encrypted and secure. If he's worried, using a VPN is a good idea. Leo likes Tiny Hardware Firewall.
Barney travels a lot. When he gets to a hotel, he has trouble connecting to the local Wi-Fi network. It doesn't always work. Leo says that mobile devices use a system called "captive portal," where it goes to a middle man (usually the hardware company) and then connects in order to agree to the terms and conditions. It can take up to a few minutes for that to happen too, depending on the traffic. Most are impatient and give up. It really comes down to sitting and waiting. Barney can also try going to the Safari app and typing in "captive.apple.com," which may trigger it.
Frederick uses an open access port with his iPhone but it always asks him to sign in. Leo says that's called a captive portal, which is done when using a hotspot. He needs to activate the portal. He should point his browser to 18.104.22.168. Or he can choose to "forget" the Wi-Fi access point. That will reset it and then he can sign back in. Leo actually recommends getting a travel router like the Tiny Hardware Firewall to protect him.