The default firmware that comes pre-installed in a lot of new routers can be insecure and problematic. For instance, a lot of new routers use something called "WPS" (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which is enabled by default and is supposed to allow users to easily secure their network. Unfortunately, this is flawed and can give a remote attacker access to the network. In some cases, it's not even possible to disable this insecure feature.
When it comes to securing a Wi-Fi router, there are a lot of things people often do that aren't actually effective. For instance, hiding the name of the router (the SSID), won't help. Another scheme that's particularly onerous is MAC address filtering. Every computer has a unique MAC address, and the router can be set up to only allow computers with known MAC addresses to access the network. This technique is used by businesses and schools, but it overlooks MAC address spoofing.
Al is having trouble with his Chromecast dropping his internet connection. Leo says that Al is using Comcast's ActionTek router and there may be interference on the 2.4 Ghz band. He recommends going with a higher band, like 5 Ghz. Most other stuff uses 2.4 Ghz and it's getting pretty crowded. Another option, if he can't go with 5 GHz, is to choose another channel on the farthest end. ActionTek uses Channel 1, so he should try Channel 11. That should clear the field and help Al to connect.
Paul's dad finally got internet access, but he didn't have a router to protect him against attacks online. So Paul gave him his old router. Everytime he has issues, he calls AT&T and they tell him to disconnect the router, though! Leo advises making sure that the router firmware is updated. Rebooting the router often helps. It could also be an issue with AT&T's internet service.
Nick called to ask Leo his take on Nano Routers. They're cheap, and only cost around $30. Leo says these are travel routers, basically. There's no reason a router has to be big, it's just a computer. Leo hasn't used the TP-Link specifically, but he has used similar products. A router is a router, and its size doesn't really affect its functionality.
Jeff upgraded to 50mbps download, but he doesn't get that. Leo says that it's likely a "burst mode," at the beginning, and then it slows down to a conventional speed. One thing Jeff can do is upgrade to an "N" speed router (802.11n).
If you've noticed your internet connection speed slow down to a crawl often, then there are things you can do to diagnose and fix the problem:
Since he's using the very new Buffalo 802.11 AC router, hey may be out of luck at this time. He can try using any range extender available, but it may not work with the new A/C wireless spec. Generally, Leo advises getting a Wi-Fi extender from the same manufacturer of the router, and as soon as Buffalo comes out with one for the new A/C spec, that's what he should get.
This has to do with the speed of the connection he's getting from his internet provider. When the provider quotes a number for speed, they're giving the upper number, or the fastest it could be. DSL, in Leo's experience, is generally more consistent than cable internet, though. Some internet providers have a little trick they use called "burst mode", which means they give real fast internet when first connecting, but then slows down. Leo says he could call AT&T and go a tier higher in internet speed, which would cost around $10 a month more.