routers

Are Mesh routers secure?

eero Mesh Router

Episode 1631

Paul from Columbus, OH

Paul wants to know more about Mesh Routers and Internet of Things, but is concerned about security. Leo says that if you stick to main brands like Eero and Netgear, they will keep their firmware updated for security purposes. Leo recommends the Eero. But you may have to pay a monthly security subscription, which Leo hates.

How can I measure bandwidth?

Ubiquity Edge Router X

Episode 1631

Travis from Norman, OK

Travis wants to know how he can measure his bandwidth to see if he's getting what he's paying for. Leo says that Windows 10 has a bandwidth monitor built-in, but that will only measure what your machine is using. Modern routers also have bandwidth monitors, but if you've been given a router by your ISP, it likely won't. That's why Leo always recommends buying your own router. He recommends the Ubiquity Edge Router X. And you won't be paying a rental fee on that gear either.

What are the Best Current WiFi Routers?

Eero

Episode 1630

Seth from Long Beach, CA

Seth wants to know what the best consumer-grade WiFi routers are. Leo says it's constantly changing. And now, WiFi 6 (aka 802.11AX) is here. Designed to make IoT devices more efficient, WiFi 6 will certainly change up the game. Leo recommends the new MESH routers. They are more expensive, but they are much better for homes, especially those with spotty WiFi coverage. Leo also says that the older Eero Beacons can be used with Ethernet, so if users have their home wired for Ethernet, they can plug in for even better performance. The other alternative is Powerline networking.

Can I use my own router for my WISP internet service?

Brainstorm Internet

Episode 1625

Tim from Oxford, CO

Tim's internet is terrible because he lives in a rural area. His router managed to give him decent speed, but it went bad. So his wireless ISP gave him another one and it's terrible. Leo says that Brainstorm is a WISP, or wireless internet service provider, and you're most likely required to use their dedicated hardware. But you may be able to use your own router. But Leo suspects the problem is on their end. Routers to look at are TPLINK. Asus. NetGear. Check out  thewirecutter.com for their recommendations.

How far does my WiFi go?

Netgear Orbi

Episode 1623

Jerry from La Habra Heights, California

Jerry wants to get his WiFi signal out to his backyard garage, about 300 feet away. Leo says that WiFi is meant to travel 150 feet or less. You'll probably need a directional wifi transmitter/receiver. Check out radiolabs.com to learn more.

But to your backyard patio, a mesh router would work. Leo recommends the NetGear Orbi, and you can get an outdoor island receiver, and that could possibly get to your garage. 

Can Jerry get his own and save on the rental fee from his ISP? Leo says absolutely. Save the money: it'll pay for itself in a year.

Can I monitor my bandwidth use?

DD-WRT interface

Episode 1617

Dave from Palm Beach, FL

Dave wants to know how to find out how much bandwidth he uses every month. Leo says that if your router supports DD-WRT firmware, you can. But your router may already keep track. So look in your router settings to find out. If not, and your router supports it, you can install DD-WRT firmware. Check out dd-wrt.com. But understand, that flashing the firmware on your router could void the warranty. If you need a new one, get the ASUS router, it uses a flavor of DD-WRT already out of the box. 

Why Can't I Connect My iMacs via Ethernet?

Ethernet

Episode 1616

Tom from Santa Barbara, CA

Tom has four iMacs and each one is getting an error when connecting to ethernet, and can't connect to the Internet because of a "self-assigned address." But he can connect via WiFi. Leo says to go to the Network system preference pane and make sure that Ethernet is dragged to the top. Also, make sure it's using DHCP in the settings. One thing that may be causing the error is that the computer doesn't see the ethernet cable when booting up, and then gives the self-assigned address. It could also be the router itself.

Should I buy a Mesh router?

Linksys Velop

Episode 1613

Max from Riverside, CA

Max's home is 1700 square feet and he's thinking of getting a Mesh router. Leo says he's a big fan of Mesh networks because they can handle congestion a lot better than an average router. Leo recommends Eero, but he also likes the Netgear Orbi, which is rated as the current fastest. But Eero does the quality of service (QOS) using bandwidth shaping.  Also understand that MESH routers are more expensive but usually come with a base station and a satellite unit. However, if you want the fastest possible connection for your TV, you'll want to hardwire it in.