Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Carl bought a new Asus Mesh Router and he's worried about privacy since they also use Trend Micro drivers. Should he be concerned? Leo says there's always a risk, but Asus is a reputable company and if they made a deal with Trend Micro, they would mention it in their privacy statement. But he doubts that there's much if anything to worry about. There's too great a risk to lie about such things.
Ted thinks that cities should offer free citywide WiFi. Leo says that many cities have done that, but telcos have lobbied congress and even state governments to prohibit municipal WiFi, claiming it's anti-competitive. And it's in 23 states so far and counting. Leo adds that Elon Musks Starlink satellite WiFi network will make the debate a moot point.
Ted wants to know if he should get a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Leo says that not everyone is supporting the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, especially for WiFi 6. But it'll certainly be future proof your system for the foreseeable future. How about a WiFi 6 router? Leo says that WiFi 6 routers are out, sure, but they just announced WiFi 6E, and those routers will be out later this year. And any current WiFi 6 router won't support it. Another thing to consider is that you won't get WiFi 6 benefits if your devices are only WiFi5 compatible. So it depends on what your current gear supports.
Ryan has noticed his WiFi speed has drastically dropped off as of late. Leo says that with everyone at home now, there's a lot of people working at home, streaming, and doing other things online that cause a lot of congestion. Ryan says what's odd is that his mesh router network gets faster if he unplugs one of the satellites. Leo says your mesh network shouldn't slow down if you have an extra satellite connected. The benefit of Mesh is that it has its own backchannel for access point communications. Leo also says that Google's mesh router speed is definitely slower than others like Eero.
Cherry wants to know if a mesh router would work in a house made of concrete blocks? Leo says that concrete blocks need rebar to stay standing, and rebar turns your home into a Faraday cage, which blocks wireless signals, and that means no WiFi outside of the main room. It's death to WiFi, so Mesh may not help at all. But that isn't the only solution. Leo says that if you have CoAx in your home, you can convert that to wired internet. You'll need a NOCA adapter (Networking Over CoAx cable). You can also string ethernet, but the simplest solution may be powerline networking.
Tom wants to know when he'll be able to get 6Ghz WiFi? Leo said that FCC just approved WiFi 6 as a standard. And WiFi 6 routers are just coming out. WiFi 6 is faster and more reliable too. Leo recommends Ubiquity. But Leo says WiFi 6E routers will be coming by the end of the year, and they'll be able to see through walls and will be great for Mesh routers. And nobody will be on it because it's so new.
Dan has his TV set up with WiFi about 150' away from his WiFi. How can he improve the connection? Leo says the walls may cause interference. Ben could try setting his WiFi router higher up. But the better option, if possible, is to wire the TV directly to the modem. A mesh router will also help, since it can create a mesh of connectivity, with a separate backchannel. Each Satellite is connected by ethernet. It'll improve it, but it will still deal with interference. He can rewire the home with ethernet. That'll fix things. Also, powerline networking may work as well.
Bernie has two desktops, one with Windows 10, the other with Windows XP. But they can't see each other on the network. But his Windows 7 laptop sees both. Leo says there are so many things it could be; he recommends going to practicallynetworked.com. It could be the XP machine is using SMB 1.0. Windows 10 stopped using it because it wasn't secure. So chances are, that's it. You can still turn it on though.
Bruce wants to know how he can secure his WiFi router. Leo says to first enter the router address (198.x.x.x) and then change the default password. Then, turn off Administer via WLan. This will prevent someone from the outside controlling your router. Step 3, turn off UPNP (aka universal plug-in play). This prevents a device inside of your network, like an Xbox, opening up your router to the internet when you don't want it to. Lastly, turn on WPA2 security encryption.
Lee has a printer and he'd like to wirelessly print through the router with Linux. Can he do that? Leo says Modern printers use WiFi to connect directly to the printer, but some routers have a special windows program for a print server. But it may no support your printer. Leo says that there is a driver called CUPS that may be able to do it. Look by router brand and model in the CUPS database. If it's there, then you can use CUPS to do it. Another option is to use VMWare or maybe even WINE to use the Windows version.