If you have walls open (such as in an unfinished house), implement Cat-6 cables and wire your home with ethernet before it gets logistically difficult to do so. Wired is always faster than Wireless from the same source.
Amy is a second-grade teacher and they are getting ready to head back into the classroom for doing zoom calls to her student. The problem is, her wifi hubs keep dropping the internet signals. She's told her cordless phones are causing the problem. Leo says it could be, depending on what frequency the phone is operating at. 2.4 GHz is a very congested spectrum and cordless phones operate on that, so it could be interfering.
But Leo suspects there could be other problems as well.
If you are looking to lengthen the range of your WiFi using an external antenna that can aim in a particular spot, check out RadioLabs.com (Leo's favorite source for WiFi antenna solutions). This can solve issues that Mesh Wifi would not, so for large home areas try a product from RadioLabs. Make sure to include the "S" at the end or else you'll end up at a different podcast website!
Frank has never needed a WiFi extender in his home, but his girlfriend's house could use one. So he installed one, but it doesn't seem to be doing much better. Leo says the reason is because an extender has to spend half it's time talking to the router. They can't speak to both devices at the same time. Mesh routers, by contrast, have a dedicated backchannel that is always on, that talks to the router without impeding the bandwidth speed. They can be a bit more expensive depending on how many satellite units you need for the house.
G. Scott calls back in to find out how to improve his WiFi Range around his land. His garage and shed are over 50 feet from the house. Leo says his favorite website for WiFi Antennas is RadioLabs.com. They sell WiFi equipment for that very need. And they aren't too expensive either. Would Mesh work? Leo says not really. Not for huge distances. It's more for coverage around the house where a satellite receiver can help in dead zones or congestion.
Jonathan has a Philips Hue lights and uses the Wiz App to control them. But they keep disconnecting. Leo says that's a common problem, and he says that using the Home Hub will make WiFi connection to the lights more consistent. But Leo also thinks that the smart lights are more of a gimmick these days and really more hassle than they are worth. And they are expensive too.
In general, smart home IoT as a technology still has a long way to go.
Anthony wants to know why if his WiFi will interfere with 5G. Leo says that 5G is fifth-generation cellular and that differs from your WiFi signal. Anthony's WiFi has a different source, frequency, and transmission medium.
There may be home internet via 5G, but that's done via cellular, not WiFi. They're two distinctly different technologies.
Wifi router setup: Change the password. Turn off WAN Administration (so bad guys can't log into your router). Turn off UPnP (an Xbox technology that is less useful on most routers). Turn On WPA2 encryption (or WPA3 if present) for a password requirement. Turn on automatic firmware updates, or check up monthly for the latest firmware. A security flaw in your router would be a big problem!
Ted thinks that cities should offer free citywide WiFi. Leo says that many cities have done that, but telcos have lobbied congress and even state governments to prohibit municipal WiFi, claiming it's anti-competitive. And it's in 23 states so far and counting. Leo adds that Elon Musks Starlink satellite WiFi network will make the debate a moot point.
RayAnne has a used computer, but it has no WiFi access. Can she get a dongle to add it? Leo says yes, you can buy a USB WiFi dongle. You'll also be able to connect nearly automatically. It'll prompt you to download drivers and then enter your WiFi access point and password. Leo also recommends getting one that has a larger antenna, so that you can get better reception. And they're not expensive either. Around $10-20.