Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
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.
G. Scott calls back in to find out how to improve his WiFi Range around his land. His garage and shed are over 50 feet from the house. Leo says his favorite website for WiFi Antennas is RadioLabs.com. They sell WiFi equipment for that very need. And they aren't too expensive either. Would Mesh work? Leo says not really. Not for huge distances. It's more for coverage around the house where a satellite receiver can help in dead zones or congestion.
Bob has the Orbi Mesh Router and has a second router for work. Leo says you want one router to be in charge. Leo says your cable ISP wants to be in charge because they use their router to provide WiFi to anyone walking by. Then your work wants to be in charge because it can control everything. In general, you only want one router handling all the DNS address assigning. Leo recommends putting the Orbi in Bridge Mode, and that will prevent both routers from fighting to run the network (called "double natting").
Mike recently upgraded his old Acers to Windows 10. But after running the Microsoft System File Checker, he's having issues accessing features in his account, particularly settings. So he did a repair reinstall. Now he can't get back online to the Internet.
Leo says to go into the device manager (Windows + X) and see if any devices are missing or have a red "x" or "!" in the corner. It could be a driver issue. Also, look in the settings to see if sleep is enabled and turn it off.
But your WiFi card may not be supported anymore. Luckily, they're cheap.
Roger has decided to build his own router as a project using an older computer. What would be the best operating system for it and how should he configure the LAN? Leo says that's a project that Leo has wanted to do for a while now. Steve Gibson has also talked about the DIY router project and uses PF Sense and the NetGate SG1100 with an ARM chip to run it. He likes it a lot and it's open source. It's the way to go. You could also use a Raspberry Pi.
Kyle has a home theater PC loaded with media and backups on ten different hard drives that he swaps out. Leo calls that a JBOD (just a bunch of discs). But Kyle is having an issue with the drives getting errors while erasing and starting a new backup. Leo says that the flaw could also be in the backups themselves. It also changed to MBR (master boot record) and cut the drive storage in half. He also can't reformat it with GUID using Windows 10. Is there a special utility he can use? Leo says there is an MBR to GUID command in Windows.
Anthony wants to know why if his WiFi will interfere with 5G. Leo says that 5G is fifth-generation cellular and that differs from your WiFi signal. Anthony's WiFi has a different source, frequency, and transmission medium.
There may be home internet via 5G, but that's done via cellular, not WiFi. They're two distinctly different technologies.
Bob recently bought an eero mesh router. It worked fine for two weeks and then he started experiencing dropouts, and he can't get support. Leo says that support is terrible these days because of limitations due to CoVid. Another thing to look at is your ISP and cable modem. Security software could also be an issue and can inhibit your internet access.
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.