What’s the Difference between a Hub, a Switch, and a Router?

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What’s the difference between a hub, a switch, and a router?

In a word, intelligence.

Hubs, switches, and routers are all devices that let you connect one or more computers to other computers, networked devices, or even other networks. Each has two or more connectors called ports, into which you plug the cables to make the connection.

Varying degrees of magic happen inside the device — and therein lies the difference.

Read moreWhat’s the Difference between a Hub, a Switch, and a Router?

What Should I Do About the VPNFilter Router Exploit?

Malware known as VPNFilter is infecting routers world-wide. Depending on what you read, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of routers are impacted.

Not all routers are affected, and what steps to take will vary depending on what router you have. The good news appears to be that if you’ve already followed best router safety practices and changed the admin password, your router may well be immune.

The problem? There’s no way to confirm that your router is or is not impacted. What you need to do, if anything, varies depending on the router you have.

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Is MAC Address Filtering a Viable Wireless Security Option?

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I’ve read your posts on network/router security and using WPA to secure your network. I use MAC address filtering and don’t use WPA. I realize that means I must physically enter the MAC address of each pc/printer/tv/etc. that wants to connect to my network, but I believe that MAC address filtering is also a viable security solution (with or without WPA or WEP), though using all is probably the most secure. I haven’t seen any comments from you on using MAC address filtering, could you comment on this as a security configuration, please?

I do hear about MAC address filtering from time to time. At first, it sounded kind of intriguing, but ultimately it turns out to be kind of like a cheap padlock: it only keeps honest people honest.

It’ll certainly keep the casual or accidental connection from happening, which is fine as far as that goes; but for true security, it’s actually pretty close to not having any at all.

I’ll explain why.

Read moreIs MAC Address Filtering a Viable Wireless Security Option?

How to Monitor Network Activity and Speed up Your Machine’s Connection

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Leo, my wife and I share a laptop, using Windows and connected to a satellite. The ISP limits our bandwidth. Recently, we received a message that we were using too much: about 150 MB during one recent hour. We do not run any videos, such as YouTube. We just browse some and use email.

Leo, my download speed is abysmal. I should be getting more than enough speed from my internet connection to watch videos non-stop, and yet stop and start and stop and start is exactly what they do. I suspect something else is downloading or something, but I can’t figure out what.

Is there any program which could monitor Internet activity and let me know what’s running?

Yes, there is.

Both of these problems are quite common, and it’s quite frustrating when they arise. With the amount of information now being stored and/or delivered over the internet, our connections are being stressed more than ever.

The technique I’ll describe uses a free tool called Process Monitor. I suspect it’ll be perfect for this problem. While it’s a little geeky, this extremely powerful tool can be used to diagnose many issues, and runs in all versions of Windows from XP to the most recent.

I’ll walk you through how to set it up for this scenario.

Read moreHow to Monitor Network Activity and Speed up Your Machine’s Connection

Why doesn’t my internet speed match what I’m paying for?

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Through my ISP, I’ve contracted for 100 megabits per second of internet speed. The maximum speed that I can get, however, is about 30 megabits per second through WiFi. When I connect to the router via a LAN cable or I have the laptop right next to the router, I get 80 megabits per second, which is close enough for me. I’ve read that unless the WiFi signal is very strong, you never really get the advertised internet speed.

But my question is about the following: my ISP recommends one measure the speed using one specific link and their web page. And that speed is measured downloading a large file from a server that is some 100 km from where I live. I find that when I use one of the many speed-testing sites, I get about the same results if I specify the same server my ISP uses; when I choose servers which are much further away (like another continent), the speed sometimes slows to a crawl. So it would seem that there is a somewhat inverse relationship between the effective internet speed and distance. So my question is, what’s the point of getting ultra fast internet when it hardly ever gets anywhere near the speed promised by the ISP?

Let me start by saying that I’m jealous. I wish I could get 100 megabits per second here. It’s only recently that I’ve managed to get up to 10 to 15 megabits and to be honest, it’s been wonderful.

Second, there are several interesting issues here that I want to cover. Internet speed is one of those topics that I think confuses a lot people and it’s because there are actually many different issues that combine under that same heading.

So, let’s talk about your 100 megabits.

Read moreWhy doesn’t my internet speed match what I’m paying for?

How Do I Best Extend My Wireless Network for Laptop Access?

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I have a basic D-Link “n” router. The signal does not penetrate well throughout my house. What is the best way to get excellent coverage everywhere? I was thinking of adding a wireless access point at the opposite end of the
house.

There are a couple of good approaches to extending your wireless network for your laptop or other wireless devices. Depending on the characteristics of your home, adding one or more wireless access points may well be the best
approach.

On the other hand, they’re not appropriate for all situations, so I’ll look at a couple of common alternatives as well.

Read moreHow Do I Best Extend My Wireless Network for Laptop Access?

How Do I Configure My Static IP Address?

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I have a server and have been assigned a static IP by my ISP. How do I go about configuring my server to work on its assigned IP?

99% of Windows internet users use what are called “dynamic” IP addresses. That means each time you connect to the internet, your ISP assigns you an IP address to use when you connect. The next time you connect, you might get a different address. If you’re only connecting out to the internet, that’s all you need.

If you expect people to connect in, say you want to run a web server that you want people to be able to find and visit, you’ll most likely need a static IP address. A static IP is assigned by your ISP to you permanently, and identifies your server to the world.

The question is: once the IP is assigned … then what?

Read moreHow Do I Configure My Static IP Address?