Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Frederick wants to create a central location to house all the photos and videos for everyone in the family. Leo says if he wants to be responsible for it all, then Apple Photos can handle it. But everyone may want to keep their own accounts. Google Photos has similar features to Apple Photos, but it's cloud-based. And he can share unlimited free storage up until June 1st. Then each person can upload to a family album from their own account. Then everyone can upload and see the album. It's a great way to do it without having the burden just on the creator.
Jeff wants to know what's the best affordable Network Attached Storage (NAS). Leo says the cheapest is to take an old computer and run NAS software on it. But that requires a lot of work to maintain. Leo uses a Synology multi-bay NAS with several spinning drives in a RAID configuration. And Synology lets users mix and match, so they can mix several larger and smaller drives. Should he use SSD drives instead? Leo says no. That would cost more than it's worth.
Rich has a room about 35 feet away from the base station, and they have issues with dropouts from it. Leo says that WiFi is a line of sight technology, primarily, and so anything that goes in between the access point and the device can interfere. One way to solve the problem is to put your access point higher up the wall. That will move the signal away from a lot of things that will get in the way.
Daisy is having trouble with slow internet. Leo says to run SpeedTest by google and see how fast your connection is. There's also Fast, which is a connection test for NetFlix. Also, make sure you're not too far away from your router. If you're more than 100 feet away, that's going to slow things down. Also, too many walls between your router and your laptop can cause issues.
Richard's old 2008 Mac will knock other devices off the network when he downloads something with it. Leo says to make sure each device has its own IP address.
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.