Will a Mesh Router work in a garage?

Episode 1849

Bud from Anaheim, CA

Bud has a two-story condo, but his WiFi is a dead spot. He tried an extender, but it didn't do anything. Can he use a mesh system? Leo says it probably won't work. The garage probably has a firewall that has metal in it, which is treating his garage like a faraday cage. So a mesh router won't work. But there's a better way to solve it ... powerline networking. TPLink makes devices that you plug into your AC on one end and one in your garage. As long as there isn't a fuse box or a junction box in between, you can use your electrical grid as a data network as well as for electricity.

Why can't I connect to the internet via WiFi?

Episode 1849

Fran from California

Fran's wifi has suddenly stopped working in her MacBook. She can connect to her Airport Extreme in network settings, but her internet connection doesn't work via WiFi. It works via Ethernet, and all her other devices work fine. Leo says that if you're getting strong signal strength, it means your laptop just isn't connecting. What may be happening is that the router isn't giving your computer an IP address, and as such, the OS then assigns a local network address (usually starting with 169). 

Wire Ethernet Cables Through Your Home

If you are renovating your house, try expanding your internet capabilities by putting Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cables. Especially if are ripping your walls out, or are able to drop cables through the gaps. While wireless is often more convenient, wired will always be faster. Online gaming, HD Netflix streaming, and video conferencing all benefit from more reliable Ethernet connections. 

Should I Upgrade My Mesh Router to a WiFi 6 Model?

WiFi 6

Episode 1833

Charles from North Carolina

Charles wants to know if he should upgrade to a WiFi 6 mesh router. Leo says if you want to future proof, it may be a good idea, but he won't get more than 10% better performance. And it's not so much the devices are faster, but that WiFi 6 networks are better at managing all the devices that can connect to the network. Up to 73 of them. And most of the devices aren't WiFi 6 compatible. And WiFi 6e is coming quickly, followed by WiFi 7. So it's OK to skip a generation.

Why Can’t I See My Media Devices on My WiFi Network?

Google Home

Episode 1828

Victor from Columbia, SC

David can't see his Google Home device and his Chromecast on his wifi network. Leo says if you're on the same network, and can see both, you should be able to see them. But Google Home uses Bluetooth to signal its presence online, so you have to turn on Bluetooth in order to see it, along with WiFi. You don't have to join it, but you do have to turn it on. You also have to look for Load Media Router Component Extension. Here's a how to, from ScooterX.

What Can I Use a NAS for and Is It Safe?

Synology NAS

Episode 1826

Frederico from Los Angeles, CA

Frederico wants to know what network-attached storage (NAS) he should get and what he can do with it other than backing up. Leo says that he uses the Synology line and you can use it to put an email server on it, a media server, and of course, backup. It's ideal for keeping everything you want protected off the cloud. Leo also recommends turning off SSH (secure shell). It's a popular target for hackers. In fact, only turn on services you use and need. You can also turn on Geographic Blocking to avoid any traffic outside the US. You can also white-list countries and IP addresses. 

How Can I Improve My WiFi Range?


Episode 1806

Walt from San Diego, CA

Walt is a farmer who has several high-tech water controllers that are connected by his Asus AC2900 router. But he needs a better range to reach the controllers that are at the extreme end. Leo says that WiFi goes about 100-150 feet. So those on the edge of that will fade out depending on the conditions. Leo thinks a mesh system would be beneficial, but Walt says that the controllers don't support MESH. Leo says that may be due to the 5GHz band. Orbi makes an outdoor router system that could work, but he'll have to make sure it doesn't connect to 5ghz.

Alarmist Media Reacts to Amazon Sidewalk Networking


Episode 1801

Amazon Sidewalk will begin operating on June 8th, and it's got the media sounding what Leo calls a scare tactic. What Amazon Sidewalk is, will be a wireless network for things like location tracking of tagged animals and devices and the white paper indicates Sidewalk will be private and secure. It uses Amazon Echo and Alexa to create a neighborhood-wide mesh network for being able to locate your devices.

How Can I Assign IP Addresses to Everything on My Home Network?

IP Address

Episode 1784

Mark from Studio City, CA

Mark's home wifi modem has run out of ethernet ports. So he bought a five port gigabit switch, but nothing really works. Leo says that everything has to have a unique IP address, so a switch won't work. You need a router, which will assign unique addresses to everything you need to plug into your network. Connect the switch to the router's ethernet port, and then the router will assign the IPs as needed.