Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Michael's apartment WiFi network security is wide open, with logins based on the apartment numbers and the office phone number as the password. And they won't allow him to change his password. The best solution is to lobby the apartment management to allow him to change the login password.
Eric is a long time listener, and he needs a better WiFi connection to reach a trailer about 200 feet away. Leo says that WiFi has a 150-foot range. But he can boost the signal. Check out RadioLabs.com for a directional antenna that can then direct the WiFi to them. That kind of antenna can expand the range by a mile.
Kent needs more reliable wifi. He has a wifi router with extenders, but as he has wifi calling, often the call would just drop or buffer. So he went with an Orbi mesh router, and while he has a more consistent connection, he has an issue with the actual connection to the internet. Leo says that Netgear's Orbi is the fastest out there, but it's very simple in design. Dropouts can occur if the access point isn't connecting to the base station. So he can reboot the access point when it happens. Kent is using an ISP provided router that he has to use.
Steve has a DOCSIS 3.1 modem and wants to know if there's anything faster. Leo says that DOCSIS 3.1 can handle up to 1GB down and DOCSIS 3.2 is coming. Should it run hot? Leo says no. If it's too hot to touch, that's a problem and could indicate the modem may be wearing out faster. But cable modems don't wear out as fast as your router does, so you may need a new router. But the main reason to update a router is to get a more secure system. Most consumer routers don't get updated and have unpatched vulnerabilities.
Look for a router that will offer automatic firmware updates.
JC has a ton of pictures on his computer and they aren't organized. It's a real mess on his hard drive. How can he organize them in the Cloud so that they are not only backed up but easier to access? Leo says that Google Photos is ideal, but they only backup unlimited hires JPEGs, not the uncompressed RAW versions that JC wants. But it's a good backup to the backup.
Frank has been watching Leo's podcast This Week in Google (TWIG), where he talked about wiring his home with Cat6 Ethernet. Everything is wired for better streaming and no congestion. It also included home theater equipment called "Araknis" which enables a tech person to dial in and fix anything wrong or set it up. Leo wasn't a fan because he never got credentials to do it himself. So, he had it removed in favor of Ubiquity's Unify system. It works great.
Frank was thinking about getting the Araknis though. Leo says it's expensive. Leo recommends the Ubiquity UDM Pro.
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.
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.
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.
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.