Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Tim bought a new NetGear 7900 router, but he had to reboot it every few days. So he returned it and doesn't know what to buy now. Asus is a company that offers a similar router design. It's an open source based router that uses DD-WRT and Tomato. That's what Leo would buy. NetGear also has the problem of being susceptible to the Russian virus, along with TP-Link and several others. Leo suspects that's because they aren't updated as often.
VPNFilter has compromised over 500,000 routers in the US and can only be wiped if you reboot the router. It can also affect a vast array of routers. To find out if your router is vulnerable, check out this list at symantec.com.
While you're at it, it may be a good time to update your router firmware too.
Ryan bought a new router for the neighborhood pool, but it can't really handle a lot of traffic. What high density router should he buy that can shoulder the load? Leo says that mesh routers are probably Ryan's best bet for the home and neighborhood use. And if he needs better signal, he can just plug in more satellites.
John has a private gate and he needs to connect it via Wi-Fi so he can have a doorbell camera there, but his Wi-Fi range is limited. Leo says that since he has power out there, Leo recommends powerline networking to do it since the electrical lines are already laid. The doorbell camera may be hard because of the speed from the powerline, but Leo thinks it's doable. He recommends TP-Link. The downside is that he'll need to have it all on the same circuit.
Bob wants to control his whole home through a single device. Leo says the SmartThings Hub from Samsung will work, since it uses both protocols Zigby and Z-Wave. There's also the Wink Hub. He'll get some combined functionality, but he'll need apps for each of his smart devices that have expanded capabilities.
Brian has a workshop that's about 70 feet from the house and he needs to extend his Wi-Fi network. Obstacles like doors and walls get in the way of the signal. What can he do? Leo says to string a LAN wire out into the ground.
Walt has a few hundred CDs and he'd like to rip them, put them on a music server, and then donate them. Leo recommends ripping in a lossless version called FLAC. FLAC is a great because if one needs to re-burn to a CD, they can. If using iTunes, he should use Apple's own lossless codec. Using a Mac that stays on all the time would work, but Leo recommends using a Network Attached Storage device and have that run as the music server. It can also do double duty backing up the network. Leo recommends the Synology brand.
Al wants to get a router that can run Tomato or DD-WRT, so he can run VPNs through it because mesh routers aren't open source. Leo says a better option is to use an old computer as his router. pfSense is a good open source router app that can do that. It'll give him far more powerful hardware that can do what he would want it to do. He can even use a Raspberry Pi for it.
John has a problem where after about 10 minutes, his router drops to a slow crawl. He's done Windows Repair, reinstalled Windows, and even replaced his router. What else can he do to solve the issue? Leo says that it's possible that the computer is doing something in the background. Leo doesn't like having to rely on the routers provided by an ISP. They're usually old, haven't been updated, and he'd end up paying monthly for them. John should see if there's a router log. He can look there to see what's taking up all the bandwidth.
James has 300 DVDs that he'd like to put on a media server and watch using Amazon Alexa to launch them. Rich says that the first thing James would need to do is "rip" them to a hard drive. He can use a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Client to get them into digital files. Then he can put them on a network attached storage device.