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.
Sometimes, you and your neighbors will have intersecting and overlapping WiFi networks in the surrounding area. Normally, these impacting factors are quite hidden from sight, but the tool "inSSIDer" allows you to see the details. With the software, you can assess channel, channel width, signal strength, WiFi generation, maximum data rate, and security. You can download a Windows version or a Mac OS version for your computer, and use what you learn to improve your speed!
While working from home, we'll all need better WiFi if we want to move our laptops around from desk to couch and back. For improving your WiFi reception, try moving the router higher up to a shelf/wall so that people (bags of water) do not impede the signals while they're sitting or walking around. Also, try a mesh router to extend the WiFi out with a fast backchannel. While ethernet is often the best option to connect, there are indeed ways to plan your device/router placements in a more optimal way. Check out this article by Leo's friend Jim Salter:
Dan has his TV set up with WiFi about 150' away from his WiFi. How can he improve the connection? Leo says the walls may cause interference. Ben could try setting his WiFi router higher up. But the better option, if possible, is to wire the TV directly to the modem. A mesh router will also help, since it can create a mesh of connectivity, with a separate backchannel. Each Satellite is connected by ethernet. It'll improve it, but it will still deal with interference. He can rewire the home with ethernet. That'll fix things. Also, powerline networking may work as well.
John has been upgrading his parents' network with a new router, some smart devices like NEST Cams, etc. He's running into some issues, though. He suspects it's the modem/router combo. Leo says it likely is: you'll need to find the IP address and log into it. Likely Admin/Blank for a user name and password. Then turn off the wifi and DHCP. The DHCP is also doing double NAT, so turn that off. It's called putting the router side into "bridge" mode. Let the modem send the bandwidth to the Google home router and it will handle it all. That should fix it all.
Janelle has a Netgear Orbi and she's been having issues with her RING doorbell dropping out front. Leo says that RING works best on 2.4 GHz, but that's also very congested. Leo suggests going into the RING settings and set the RING to connect to the 2.4 GHz band. And if she can name the band, it can be easier to connect. But she also may have a neighbor that has a powerful router that is knocking the connection offline.
Patricia's cat is missing and wants to know how she can use cameras to find her. Leo says to post notices to apps like Facebook, NextDoor.com and Neighbors.com. Then, she can get the WyzeCam, which is wifi connected, has night vision and is motion detected. She can then be notified by the camera when the cat comes into view. She can even talk to the cat live through the camera. It can't be purchased through Amazon right now, because they are prioritizing essentials.
Sonny wants to know if wireless headphones are safe. Leo says that WiFi is inherently low power and there's no evidence that WiFi or even Bluetooth is dangerous to health.