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.
Rick has been having issues with his wifi router. He has dropouts, and he has to unplug it and plug it back along with his modem. Leo says that when a router starts to fail a lot, that indicates that it's wearing out and it's time to replace it. Leo says that if you are renting from your ISP, he recommends turning in your cable modem and request a new DOCSIS 3.1 model. Or buy your own and save the rental fee. Should he get a mesh router? Leo says that if you have a house that's greater than 1300 sq. feet, then it's worth it. But smaller than that, and a regular router is fine.
Gary has two internet services, T-Mobile and Spectrum. One is for work. He wants to be able to hook them up, so if one goes down, the other picks up. But there's a lag when he uses Zoom. Leo says you can do it with Speedify. It's a VPN that does what's called "failover." But it causes that latency because it goes through different servers. Leo does it with his Ubiquity router Edge Router X and two WAN ports. There's zero latency. TPLink also does that, and they make good stuff.
George is trying to set up his smart home hub to turn on his lights and he's having issues that his WiFi router won't take 2.4 GHz, only 5 GHz. Leo says to double-check that the router is only 5 GHz because Leo says that's an odd one. It's possible that Spectrum may have just turned the 2.4Ghz off. If so, he can always turn it on. But if not, then it's time to get a new router. And he will save money on rental fees in doing so as well.
Here are the five things you need to do with a new router ...
1. Change the SSID and the default password.
2. Turn off WAN Administration (this allows administering the router from the outside)
3. Turn off Universal Plug n Play (UPnP)
4. Turn off WPS WiFi Protected Setup (one button log in)
5. Turn on Encryption and select WPA3 or WPA2. Do NOT use WEP. It's not secure.
Jeff is getting a warning about his WPA2 WiFi encryption. Should he move to a new router? Leo says that WPA2 was cracked, but he'd really have to have someone targeting him to really worry about it. WPA3 is the new standard and routers are starting to include it, but Leo doesn't think there's anything to worry about. He could check the router's firmware update to see if they offer it now. How about separating the SSID for the 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz bands? Leo says he can do that, but won't really have to.
JC's Asus router is no longer supported by the company. What router should he buy? Leo says he doesn't really have to buy a new router. He can install DDWRT's firmware on it and then keep that router up to date. The chatroom recommends going to asus-wrtmerlin.net for a custom firmware for the Asus router.
But if he wants a new one, Leo recommends getting a mesh router, especially for a house as large as JC's (2500 sq ft). A base station and a beacon would be good. Leo's favorite is Eero.
Frank has a security camera that he's got connected to his WiFi. And his network is really slow now. Leo says that may be due to constantly uploading videos. When he couples that with the congestion of multiple devices sharing the network, it can slow things down. Leo recommends going with a mesh router so that the congestion is much better managed. What about an extender? Leo says that extenders essentially cut bandwidth in half, so it'll make it worse. Go with the mesh router. Leo recommends Eero and Netgear Orbi.
Chuck wants to know if he can connect a USB drive to his router. Leo says the router has to support it. It's not really "plug and play." And if it does support it, it may be pretty slow. But it can be accessed from any computer on the network, so it's kinda like a cheap NAS. If the router is open-source compatible, then Leo recommends going with DD-WRT or Tomato for the firmware. They have NAS features that could be most helpful.