Networking

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

How Do I Improve My WiFi Reception?

Spectrum

Episode 1772

Carmen from Springhill, FL

Carmen's WiFi is terrible and she's been told it's because of "firewalls" in the house. Will a WiFi booster help her problem? Leo says it's more likely the crappy router she's been given by her ISP. She can try moving it around, and up to a higher position. That could help. The higher the router is, the better the reception she'll get. So if Carmen's router can be above her head, that would be better. She also wants to ask the ISP for a newer WiFi modem. Call Spectrum and demand the latest box. Ask for a WiFi 6 router.

Why Does My Computer Drop Off the Internet Often?

WiFi

Episode 1770

Suzanne from Redondo Beach,CA

Suzanne's laptop drops off the internet all the time, giving her an error that she's offline. Leo says that it could be many different things. Her router could be dropping out. Routers wear out and after a few years, problems like dropouts on wifi or the internet can happen. Try surfing on another device to replicate it. If so, then it's not the computer. If not, then she can focus on the computer as the culprit. Next, try using an ethernet cable to wire a connection and see if the problem persists. If so, then she knows it's a wifi issue and isn't the router or internet service provider.

Why Doesn't a Cellphone Have Congestion Like WiFi Networks Do?

WiFi

Episode 1769

Roy from New Mexico

Roy wants to know why cell phones don't suffer congestion like WIFi does? Leo says that Leo says it's mostly by design. WiFi uses a technology that causes traffic to wait because of congestion. But in cellular technology, they don't avoid traffic collisions. It uses multiple channels on a cell tower to manage the traffic. Here's an article about it.

Why's My Router/Modem Buffering When I Stream Music?

Router

Episode 1766

Joe from Mission Viejo, CA

Joe tries to stream Pandora to a wireless speaker, but it breaks up during every other song. His carrier replaced his modem/router with a newer model. While the solution made it better, the problem still persists.

Leo says he doesn't have to use the carrier's modem/router on the network. He can buy his own. Leo says that he can save money that way as well, as it pays for itself. Leo recommends getting a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Leo's favorite is the Netgear CM1000. 

What Router Should I Buy to Replace My Old Router?

ASUS Merlin

Episode 1766

JC from Sherman Oaks, CA

JC's Asus router is no longer supported by the company. What router should he buy? Leo says he doesn't really have to buy a new router. He can install DDWRT's firmware on it and then keep that router up to date. The chatroom recommends going to asus-wrtmerlin.net for a custom firmware for the Asus router.

But if he wants a new one, Leo recommends getting a mesh router, especially for a house as large as JC's (2500 sq ft). A base station and a beacon would be good. Leo's favorite is Eero.

How Can I Get My Max Bandwidth?

WiFi

Episode 1760

Peter from Brooklyn, NY

Peter gets a Gig up and down with Fiber. Leo says he probably doesn't get that all the time. Would he get that with WiFi and a mesh router? Leo says if all devices are WiFi 6, maybe. But everything has to be wifi compatible. The thing is, WiFi 6e is right around the corner, so it's probably a good idea to wait. Leo had the Orbi with WiFi 6 and it was only 10% faster. Not really worth the extra expense. 

Why Is My WiFi So Slow?

Eero

Episode 1760

Frank from New York

Frank has a security camera that he's got connected to his WiFi. And his network is really slow now. Leo says that may be due to constantly uploading videos. When he couples that with the congestion of multiple devices sharing the network, it can slow things down. Leo recommends going with a mesh router so that the congestion is much better managed. What about an extender? Leo says that extenders essentially cut bandwidth in half, so it'll make it worse. Go with the mesh router. Leo recommends Eero and Netgear Orbi.