Wi-Fi routers, home servers, virtual private networks, and more.
Sam has an ARRIS cable modem and when he's plugged it into his router, he's not sure what the lights mean. Leo says that one is for connecting to the cable company for internet access. If it's off, he's not getting access. There's also a "link light" which will be solid when connected via ethernet, and when data goes back and forth, it blinks. Then there's the uplink and downlink lights. The manual should tell him what they mean. If one is off, then he'll know where the problems are.
Ben wants to know why he's having trouble connecting his TV with Cat 5 ethernet. Leo says to try a shorter cable. It may be a kink or a spool is causing connection issues.
Ben got a new UVerse modem and an Eero Mesh Router and it was working fine until last week. Now he's having issues with the router, where it drops off the network again and again. Leo says that the UVerse modem is likely a router-modem combo, and he'll need to put the router into bridge mode. And in order for the mesh router to use its advanced features, it needs to be the main router.
Jean wants to know if she should buy her own modem or not. She has DSL. Leo says that since she has DSL, she should just stick with the modem that DSL Extreme provided to her. Generally when Leo talks about replacing the modem to avoid the rental fee, he's talking about cable modems. He wouldn't mess with a DSL modem. As far as the router goes, Leo would recommend Jean get the TP-Link Archer C8, which is less than $80.
Sam lives in a 2 story condo, but with the Wi-Fi enabled cameras he's buying, should he get a new router? Leo says Wi-Fi security cameras are often a challenge because they tend to be in the periphery, but a single router should be able to cover his 1500 square feet. Leo suggests that Sam move his router and modem connection to another spot. He could actually leave the modem where it is, and just connect the router with a longer ethernet cable. Leo also says that Sam's Asus router has added some mesh-like features in a recent firmware update. So he should try updating it.
David has a Netgear router and he wants to upgrade the firmware. Netgear won't do it because his support has expired. Leo says that older routers all need to be updated manually, but he doesn't need a service agreement to update it. He'd just download the firmware and install it. In fact, there should be a utility within the router settings to update the firmware. Most newer models autoupdate. So if staying updated is important, and it is, it would pay to get a new router. It'll be faster too. Mesh routers will be the best option.
Ben runs a Drobo 5N, but after he updated Windows 10 to the 1803 update, he started having trouble with it. He reset Windows, and now the Drobo won't connect. He even tried to use the image backup and it didn't work. Leo says that Microsoft changed the way it handles the network stack in 1803, and it may require extra drivers from Drobo to fix it.
John upgraded his internet but his laptop says it only has 2.4 GHz available. Leo says that means his router is only 2.4 GHz. 802.11N routers are dual band with 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands. And there's even tri-band routers that offer two 5 GHz channels along with a 2.4 GHz channel. His laptop may also just be able to connect to 2.4 Ghz. John should look in his BIOS and software to see if the 5.0 GHz band is turned off.
Doug just bought a new, two story house and he needs a mesh router. What's the best? Leo says that mesh routers have taken over because Wi-Fi congestion causes devices to drop off. It's not uncommon to have over 50 devices connected to Wi-Fi! And that doesn't include neighbors. So Doug will need a better router to handle that traffic. Leo says the three best mesh routers for his money are the Netgear Obi, the Plume, and the Eero.
Bob is looking for software that can test all his network switches to see which is going bad. Leo says that there is an article on Tom's Hardware on how to test network switches. That includes some software to test it. GL Communications makes software ethernet and packet checker called Packet Check.