routers

How much data do I really use?

Meter

Episode 1506

Ed from Clairemont, OK

Ed can't figure out why he's being notified that he's using 150GB of data every month. He doesn't stream or download things. Leo says it's very easy to burn through 150GB a month. Windows updates are in the GBs now. He can go into his network and internet settings of his computer and see how much data he's using on each computer. His router may be able to tell him as well. He can navigate to his router's address in a browser window and it can tell him. If it doesn't, he can get a new router that can.

Do I need a service agreement to update my router firmware?

Netgear Orbi

Episode 1504

David from Anaheim, CA

David has a Netgear router and he wants to upgrade the firmware. Netgear won't do it because his support has expired. Leo says that older routers all need to be updated manually, but he doesn't need a service agreement to update it. He'd just download the firmware and install it. In fact, there should be a utility within the router settings to update the firmware. Most newer models autoupdate. So if staying updated is important, and it is, it would pay to get a new router. It'll be faster too. Mesh routers will be the best option.

Why can't I connect to 5GHz on Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi

Episode 1503

John from Oxnard, CA

John upgraded his internet but his laptop says it only has 2.4 GHz available. Leo says that means his router is only 2.4 GHz. 802.11N routers are dual band with 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands. And there's even tri-band routers that offer two 5 GHz channels along with a 2.4 GHz channel. His laptop may also just be able to connect to 2.4 Ghz. John should look in his BIOS and software to see if the 5.0 GHz band is turned off.

Is my router safe?

Netgear Nighthawk AC2300

Episode 1500

Heidi from Santa Monica, CA

Heidi is worried about the Russian VPN Filter hack. She bought a Netgear router to replace it. Is she safe? Leo says that some Netgear models aren't protected, but if she installs the latest firmware, she should be OK, and NetGear does update routers automatically.

Is there a router not made in China?

ASUS AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band (Dual 5GHz + Single 2.4GHz) Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

Episode 1499

April from Brooksville, FL

April's router keeps dropping her. Leo says that routers do wear out and after several years, they become unreliable. It may just be time to get a new one. But her husband doesn't want one made in China. Leo says good luck with that. TP-Link has good routers, but that's in China. There are some that are made in Taiwan. That would do the trick. Asus also makes great routers. They are also updatable using DD-WRT open source firmware.

Am I safe from the VPN Filter hack?

Asus AC3200 Router

Episode 1497

Neil from Phoenix, AZ

Neil is worried that the VPN Filter hack will affect his Asus router because his model isn't protected. Should he be worried? Leo says first thing he can do is update his firmware. Asus keeps their firmware up to date regularly and uses open source DD-WRT firmware. So if there isn't one, he can patch it himself. But Asus routers are great because they update them constantly. Neil should reload the most current firmware, even if he has already updated it. That will wipe out any additional problems.

Why is my Wi-Fi so slow?

Netgear Orbi

Episode 1496

Ron from Carlsbad, CA

Ron has UVerse and an extender and it slows to a crawl when he streams. Leo suspects that it's his modem that's causing the problem. It's likely an out of date modem that's slowing the network traffic down. Rebooting could help. A better Wi-Fi router could help too. Routers do wear out over time. Leo recommends the NetGear Orbi. He can set up the AT&T router to work in bridge mode and then use the new router to route the traffic. It'll be a lot better.

Add More Ethernet Ports to Your Router

While Wi-Fi is more popular and prevalent than ever, it's still no match for a hardwired ethernet connection. But many of the new routers, especially mesh routers, don't have many ethernet ports built into them. Fortunately, if you have at least one ethernet port, you can expand that to as many as you need with a "Switch". Netgear makes some quality switches, but any unmanaged networking switch should work just fine. They all are very easy to use, as long as you get an unmanaged Switch.

What's a good router to buy?

Synology Router

Episode 1493

Tim from San Diego, CA

Tim bought a new NetGear 7900 router, but he had to reboot it every few days. So he returned it and doesn't know what to buy now. Asus is a company that offers a similar router design. It's an open source based router that uses DD-WRT and Tomato. That's what Leo would buy. NetGear also has the problem of being susceptible to the Russian virus, along with TP-Link and several others. Leo suspects that's because they aren't updated as often.