Why is my laptop so slow on the internet?

Episode 1053

Bill from Santa Clarita, CA

Bill has Time Warner Cable for his broadband and he uses wireless to his laptop. He's having connection issues because it's slow, though. Leo recommends first running SpeedTest.net to measure how slow it actually is. He should try connecting directly to the modem via Ethernet to see if it's still slow. If it is, it's a computer issue. If not, then the issue is with the Wi-Fi router.

It sounds like a configuration issue, though. Leo also advises creating a dummy account with administrator approvals and see how it works.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Router

When it comes to securing a Wi-Fi router, there are a lot of things people often do that aren't actually effective. For instance, hiding the name of the router (the SSID), won't help. Another scheme that's particularly onerous is MAC address filtering. Every computer has a unique MAC address, and the router can be set up to only allow computers with known MAC addresses to access the network. This technique is used by businesses and schools, but it overlooks MAC address spoofing.

Extend Your Wi-Fi Signal

There are a few different ways to get better Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home or office. A router should be able to cover at least 150 feet with Wi-Fi signal, but it could be less if there's a lot of interference from wiring in the walls or other devices. Simply moving the router to a new location could help.

Another thing to try is a Wi-Fi extender. Make sure that the extender is the same brand as your router so that it will be compatible. You can even use a second router in "bridge" mode to extend another router's signal.

What's the best way to get sound throughout the house?

Episode 982

Mike from Denver, CO

Mike wants to wire up his home for sound. His house is already wired for Cat6 cable, but is wireless better? Leo says that Wireless is pricey, but it works. The Sonos, for instance, works great, but it's $400 a room. Each speaker has it's own wireless network built in. He can do it on his own, but the money he'd save is taken up in time building it himself. That's why Leo says if he can afford it, the Sonos Play5 is a great way to go.

Is it a good idea to switch from AT&T to Sprint?

Episode 972

Tom from Redondo Beach, CA

Tom wants to switch from AT&T to Sprint for LTE. Leo says that depending on how good the coverage is, Sprint LTE is a great option because it's unlimited. Sprint is being very aggressive in competing with both AT&T and Verizon. Tom is thinking about getting a cheap tablet from AT&T, then cancel it to go to Sprint. It'll cost him less and he'll get a new phone and a tablet, plus make $25. Leo says to read the fine print on that, though.

How can I monitor a building without needing electricity? (Part 1)

Netgear VueZone

Episode 944

Eric from Torrance, CA

Eric needs a motion sensitive, low cost way to provide security for the building his grandmother lives in.

Leo says that VueZone is a great solution because it's wireless and he can run it off batteries for six months. The way it works is that it only draws power when it senses motion. Then it alerts his smartphone with video.

The chatroom also suggests the Logitech Alert Security Camera System, NetBotz.