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.
Sharon is getting a lot of buffering using QOS while streaming through her TPLink router. Leo says that while the TPLink is highly recommended, the QOS feature is largely worthless. You may look to see if you can put a third party firmware on it, like DD-WRT or Tomato. It would fix it.
Jose wants to know if DD-WRT is a good alternative to the software running his router? Leo says if the router supports it, DD-WRT is a great option because it's open source. Tomato is another option: ASUS routers support them.
Al wants to get a router that can run Tomato or DD-WRT, so he can run VPNs through it because mesh routers aren't open source. Leo says a better option is to use an old computer as his router. pfSense is a good open source router app that can do that. It'll give him far more powerful hardware that can do what he would want it to do. He can even use a Raspberry Pi for it.
Tony's router is starting to get flakey. Leo says that we've become used to using cheap routers. However, the cheaper the router, the faster it will wear out. If Tony buys a better quality router, it'll be more consistent and last longer. Netgear makes good routers.
The problem could also be Tony's modem. He'll want a DOCSIS III modem. For that, Leo likes the Arris Surfboard SB6141 which is $70 on Amazon.
Greg has "router paranoia" over the recent security flaws that have been found. Should he pay more for a router? Leo says no. It's not the price of the router -- it's a flaw in the router firmware that is rarely updated because they are so cheap.
Joe just got a router and wants to know if he really needs firewalls anymore. Leo says no. Joe could turn on the Windows firewall, but any third party firewall isn't really needed because the router is essentially a "dumb box" that prevents attacks from incoming traffic.
Aaron just bought a Belkin router and he wants to know what he can do to make it work better. Leo says that he can make it more secure by turning off WAN administration and Universal Plug and Play. Both allow for holes in the router to let in traffic like gaming.
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.
Leo says the problem with new routers is that the software has all sorts of security issues. Since this is the first thing on the network, it's important that it be a secure line of defense.
DD-WRT and Tomato are more secure firmware alternatives to what comes on the router by default. These are both open source, very well written, and are kept up to date. So it is a good idea to replace the router's firmware with DD-WRT, if his router supports it.