Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Max's home is 1700 square feet and he's thinking of getting a Mesh router. Leo says he's a big fan of Mesh networks because they can handle congestion a lot better than an average router. Leo recommends Eero, but he also likes the Netgear Orbi, which is rated as the current fastest. But Eero does the quality of service (QOS) using bandwidth shaping. Also understand that MESH routers are more expensive but usually come with a base station and a satellite unit. However, if you want the fastest possible connection for your TV, you'll want to hardwire it in.
Alex would like to use his own router with AT&T U-verse, can he? Leo says only if you aren't getting your TV service from U-verse. That requires AT&T's proprietary router. You could turn the AT&T router into bridge mode or IP Pass through, and then use your router with it. That's possible. Will it affect the speed? Leo says no, but it could affect whether you can select your own DNS service. You can also try using DNS over HTTPS using Cloudflare to eliminate the ability for AT&T to see what you're doing. But that's advanced stuff.
Lynn's wifi drops out from time to time. Leo says that's usually an indication that your router is worn out, but if it's new, then it could be congestion from other WiFi signals in your neighborhood. Using a dual band router with a 5Ghz frequency, that can help, because not only are other routers using 2.4Ghz, but there's also all the smart devices that use them as well. So it's really congested out there.
Barry bought a QNap NAS recently and he's a bit frustrated that there isn't a lot of documentation with it for the hardware or software. Leo says that's a common problem as they assume you're an expert if you're looking to use a NAS for a backup. Leo says that YouTube is a great place to learn how to run QNap. There's a QNapTV Channel there.
Dave recently upgraded his network with new routers and created Steve Gibson's three router network for security. He wants to know what's the best way to do it to be more efficient and secure. Leo says that Steve Gibson over at GRC.com is the expert here. But there's an easier way to do it, with virtual LAN networks assigned within the physical network. Using the EdgeRouterX enables you to create up to 4 segmented networks that can't cross over. And it's only $59. Great deal. But since Dave has already bought the routers, PC Perspective is where you want to go.
Andy is having issues with his AirPort router. Every day he has to reboot both the router and the modem. What gives? Leo says the airport eventually will wear out and it's probably time to get a new router. Apple doesn't even update them anymore, nor do they make new ones. Leo recommends ASUS routers that run DD-WRT. New routers will also better handle how internet traffic is running these days.
Corey bought an ORBI MESH router and enjoyed 350MBps downloads, until recently. It's now down to about 10MBps. He tried another Linksys mesh router and the same issue happened. Leo says that it sounds like the problem isn't at the router level. Leo suspects that Corey may get full speed from a wired router. If so, then there's a congestion or interference issue. It could be a "WiFi hostile" environment that is causing interference. Maybe a lot of devices are clogging up the wireless spectrum where he is.
Phil has heard about something called a "WiFi blast range extender" which promises to solve bandwidth throttling. Is it legit? Leo says NO. The article that Phil came across was a sponsored article, disguised as legitimate content. They make plenty of promises, but not really deliver. In this case, bandwidth throttling isn't done at the router level, it's done at the ISP level. When ISPs put a bandwidth cap on you, you can work around it, you just have to either deal with the slowdown or pay for more bandwidth.
Rick hears that Wifi and cellphones can cause cancer due to radiation. Leo says that there is a lot of disinformation out there and fearmongering. Radiation from these sources exist, but they diminish rapidly with distance. There no known issue with WiFi or Cellphone waves... not even high power electrical lines.
David needs to extend the WiFi in his apartment building. Will an extender do the job? Leo says it will, but at the cost of cutting bandwidth speed in half, because the base station is relaying the signal and spending half the time talking to the router. Leo recommends going with a MESH router. Eero is a good one, as is NetGear Orbi. But there are plenty more. Just about every router company makes a mesh model now.