Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Jimmy's wife is going to have a baby soon, and she wants to be able to log into her account at work remotely while on maternity leave from work. Leo says that Join.Me is a great free option if her work IT guys allow it. Leo uses RemotePC (sponsor of the radio show). It's cheap at $4 a year for two computers. And it has a 7-day free trial.
Nolan wants to know if he can use a VPN to make networks think he's somewhere else. Leo says yes, that's pretty much what the VPN does. Some people use VPNs to stream other countries' video streams for that very reason. VPNs have a client and a server. The client goes on the users' PC, while the server is somewhere else. Users then log into the VPN, and the IP address will be wherever they connect to it. But there is a catch. VPN providers use a pool of IP addresses that they own, and they identify them as VPN addresses.
Ken recently automated his home with Google Nest, but the problem he's having is that when he's asking his phone to take a picture, he's told by Google Nest that they can't do that. Leo says that's a common issue as sometimes, Google doesn't know where to process a request. That goes away over time as Nest learns speech patterns. It also helps to be more specific in commands.
Seraphine is suddenly suffering from no WiFi. She was "borrowing a cup" from a neighbor, but now she can't get it. Leo says it's possible that the modem has died and you need another. Or you have a bad cable. It's also possible that the WiFI router is bad. If it's a router/modem combo, even more so. The lights on your modem mean something, and if you look at the manual, it'll tell you if there's something wrong. Routers can also wear out. It may be time to replace it.
Mark's home wifi modem has run out of ethernet ports. So he bought a five port gigabit switch, but nothing really works. Leo says that everything has to have a unique IP address, so a switch won't work. You need a router, which will assign unique addresses to everything you need to plug into your network. Connect the switch to the router's ethernet port, and then the router will assign the IPs as needed.
Karen's work stores their data up in the cloud, but her boss wants to password protect all files because he isn't thrilled with anyone in the company having access to all their data on One Drive. Leo says that Microsoft's Sharepoint is a collaborative security service, which allows companies to provide permissions to folders, files, and other data. Microsoft One Drive for Business also has that feature.
Rick has been having issues with his wifi router. He has dropouts, and he has to unplug it and plug it back along with his modem. Leo says that when a router starts to fail a lot, that indicates that it's wearing out and it's time to replace it. Leo says that if you are renting from your ISP, he recommends turning in your cable modem and request a new DOCSIS 3.1 model. Or buy your own and save the rental fee. Should he get a mesh router? Leo says that if you have a house that's greater than 1300 sq. feet, then it's worth it. But smaller than that, and a regular router is fine.
Gary has two internet services, T-Mobile and Spectrum. One is for work. He wants to be able to hook them up, so if one goes down, the other picks up. But there's a lag when he uses Zoom. Leo says you can do it with Speedify. It's a VPN that does what's called "failover." But it causes that latency because it goes through different servers. Leo does it with his Ubiquity router Edge Router X and two WAN ports. There's zero latency. TPLink also does that, and they make good stuff.
Jeff is getting a warning about his WPA2 WiFi encryption. Should he move to a new router? Leo says that WPA2 was cracked, but he'd really have to have someone targeting him to really worry about it. WPA3 is the new standard and routers are starting to include it, but Leo doesn't think there's anything to worry about. He could check the router's firmware update to see if they offer it now. How about separating the SSID for the 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz bands? Leo says he can do that, but won't really have to.
Phillip is thinking about getting a Ubiquiti access point for his home network, or an eero setup. What router should he get? Leo says Ubiquiti is Pro-sumer gear, but eero is better for the average consumer. Either is great, but the latter is more expandable. Check out Leo's HOT review of Ubquiti UniFi!