Mike is frustrated that his internet access is going through a lot of buffering, especially when he's streaming. Leo says a router needs to control his ethernet connection, not a modem. It's the one assigning IP addresses. Then he can put routers all over the house, but have them set in bridge mode so that they just pass the bandwidth along. Mike should try using different names for his routers, too. That way, he can join the nearest ones directly. Getting a mesh router is also be a good idea. They aren't cheap, but they definitely solve the problem.
Dan recently moved north and he's signed up with Frontier, but he's having Wi-Fi issues. It keeps dropping and he has to reset the router. He's been told that the 5 GHz cuts off after an hour. Leo says that's not normal. In fact, Leo typically recommends using 5 GHz because it's less congested.
Melissa's Wi-Fi is really slow of late. Leo says that everyone is experiencing bad Wi-Fi these days because we're doing more with it and dozens of devices are typically connected to it. Congestion is a serious problem. To eliminate her ISP as the problem, she should connect directly to her router and see how it performs. If it's just the same, then she'll know that the ISP needs to fix the problem. But if it improves, then it's her Wi-Fi network.
Christian wants to know the difference between a router and a modem. Leo says that they handle two different jobs but some people get a modem that also works as a router from their ISP. Modem means "modulate-demodulate," and in the early days, it would take the bits and turns them into sound and then back again over a telephone line. Now they send the data digitally. Then it converts it into RF signals and back to bits.
David has multiple TVs and computers and would like to link them all together with a switch. Should it be managed or unmanaged? Leo says that networking is a high end technical topic. A router manages the traffic and routes it through to the proper device. Routers use QOS or "quality of service" to do it. A switch is still needed, though, and it reduces traffic. A managed switch would allow him to run protocols and control the network properly. Most people don't need a managed switch.
Paul's daughter has a really old router and it's starting to flake out, so it's time to get a new one. Leo says she should get a dual band router that supports not only 2.4 Ghz, but also 5Ghz. She'll want one that supports 802.11ac. The reason to get a dual band router is that everyone is on 2.4 these days, and while 5 GHz is limited and won't go through walls, it is barely used.
Isaac is a cop and wants to know if routers collect data of what connects to it or sees it. Leo says only if the device was connected to that router. Just seeing it is another matter, and that's unlikely. Android has an app called WiFi Collector from NirSoft, but that's the opposite direction from what Isaak wants. Leo says that the WiFi Pineapple from HakShop could work for this.
Matthew's cable provider has introduced a 1GB down, 50MB up package for $139. Leo says that's a bit expensive, but it's pretty nice. What router will support that kind of speed? Leo says his stream is only going to be as fast as his slowest hardware connection. Asus's AC 5300 is a higher end router which will likely handle it no problem. It would be more expensive, but Matthew may want to consider building his own using the PFSense firewall.
What's going on with AirPort development? Leo says that Apple has reassigned most of the engineers who handle the Airport to other products, so it sounds like Apple is moving away from it. Since routers do wear out and become unreliable over time, it's probably time to replace it with a different brand.
Gloria wants to cut her phone service and use Ooma. Is that a good idea? Leo says that with one computer plugged into the internet, she can, but she'll also need a router so she can give access to others. A simple wireless router from Asus or DLink would work well. She should go for the dual band or tri band router. The WireCutter suggests the TP-Link Archer C7 (v2). She can find out more about it at thewirecutter.com.