Networking

Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.

Should I wire my house with ethernet?

eero Mesh Router

Episode 1728

Vip from Monument, CO

Vip wants to know if he should wire his home with ethernet cable while he has the walls open. Leo says ABSOLUTELY. And use Cat6 while you're at it to future proof it. Hardwired is always preferable to WiFi and it'll be faster, have far fewer dropouts, and no congestion. Leo just did it himself. We're lifting a lot more data now with WiFi and IoT smart devices. There's a lot of congestion. 

If you have a challenging wifi environment and can't afford to wire your home, Leo advises going with a Mesh router: eero, Netgear's Ubiquity, even Asus has gone mesh.

How Can I Extend My WiFi Range In My House?

Wifi

Episode 1725

Barry from Ulyssees, KY

Barry's recently bought a new home that's only about 400 feet from his. But when he tried to use WiFi, he couldn't pick it up. Leo says that WiFi's limit is about 150' in direct line of sight with no obstacles. What he'll need to join both is a specialized antenna. Check out RadioLabs.com. They sell wifi range extenders that can help. He may also need a WiFi amplifier, depending on needs. 

What Synology NAS Should I Upgrade To?

Synology 5 Bay NAS DiskStation DS1520+ (Diskless)

Episode 1723

Adriana from North Carolina

Adriana has a Synology NAS and she's had it for five years. She's ready for a new model with a little more "oomph" to it. Leo says she can go up to 32 drives in Synology NAS models. The naming configuration is based on the number of bays, expansion, and the year. So a Synology 2720 is a two-bay device, expandable to seven, made in 2020. She can also configure two drives for redundancy. Leo recommends a Synology 1520. Or the 418. That will house 5 drives.

What is the best option for extending WiFI range in my house?

eero Mesh Router

Episode 1722

Frank from West Springfield, VA

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. 

How Can I Increase the Range of My WiFi Router?

RadioLabs.com

Episode 1721

G. Scott from Finland, MN

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.

Can I use two routers on the same network?

Netgear Orbi

Episode 1718

Bob from Honolulu, HI

Bob has the Orbi Mesh Router and has a second router for work. Leo says you want one router to be in charge. Leo says your cable ISP wants to be in charge because they use their router to provide WiFi to anyone walking by. Then your work wants to be in charge because it can control everything. In general, you only want one router handling all the DNS address assigning. Leo recommends putting the Orbi in Bridge Mode, and that will prevent both routers from fighting to run the network (called "double natting").

Why can't I get online with the new version of Windows 10?

Windows 10

Episode 1716

Mike from Burbank, CA

Mike recently upgraded his old Acers to Windows 10. But after running the Microsoft System File Checker, he's having issues accessing features in his account, particularly settings. So he did a repair reinstall. Now he can't get back online to the Internet. 

Leo says to go into the device manager (Windows + X) and see if any devices are missing or have a red "x" or "!" in the corner. It could be a driver issue. Also, look in the settings to see if sleep is enabled and turn it off.

But your WiFi card may not be supported anymore. Luckily, they're cheap.

How can I build my own router?

Raspberry Pi 4

Episode 1716

Roger from Bowling Green, FL

Roger has decided to build his own router as a project using an older computer. What would be the best operating system for it and how should he configure the LAN? Leo says that's a project that Leo has wanted to do for a while now. Steve Gibson has also talked about the DIY router project and uses PF Sense and the NetGate SG1100 with an ARM chip to run it. He likes it a lot and it's open source. It's the way to go. You could also use a Raspberry Pi.

Why can't I reformat my backup drives?

Synology DiskStation DS620slim 6-Bay NAS Enclosure

Episode 1712

Kyle from Oskaloosa, Iowa

Kyle has a home theater PC loaded with media and backups on ten different hard drives that he swaps out. Leo calls that a JBOD (just a bunch of discs). But Kyle is having an issue with the drives getting errors while erasing and starting a new backup. Leo says that the flaw could also be in the backups themselves. It also changed to MBR (master boot record) and cut the drive storage in half. He also can't reformat it with GUID using Windows 10. Is there a special utility he can use? Leo says there is an MBR to GUID command in Windows.