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


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

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, it’s not appropriate for all situations, so I’ll look at a couple of common alternatives as well.

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How Should I Set Up My Home Network?

Let’s say you just bought your second computer. Perhaps you purchased a new laptop, tablet, new machine for your spouse, or another machine for yourself. Maybe you want to connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi when you’re at home, to reduce the usage of your mobile data plan. Perhaps you got a smart TV, light switch, video-streaming box, or Echo or Echo-like device.

Whatever the device, you want to connect it to the internet. It would also be nice to share things, like printers or extra disk space, among compatible devices.

You, my friend, need a LAN, or Local Area Network. There are lots of ways to set one up; I’ll review the basic setup for the most common case.

Already have a network, but not sure how to grow it? I’ll look at that, too.

First, let’s look at the two types of networks: wired and wireless.

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


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.

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How Do I Get My Windows Machines to Network with each Other?

Leo, I recently purchased an Asus VivaTab tablet running full Windows 8.1 (not Windows RT) and I’ve tried just about everything to connect my Windows XP, SP3 to the tablet. Both computers are set to use the same work group name, namely MS Home but the tablet asks for a password when I’m setting up the home network. To my knowledge, Windows XP does not issue network passwords. Can you help?

Well, XP doesn’t issue network passwords… but in a sense it kind of does.

Networking is hard. This is something that can be tricky to get set up and get working. And yes, to be clear, it’s way trickier than it needs to be. I’ve written a couple of articles basically just venting about that in the past.

The good news is that I think we can get it to work.

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Can I backup one computer to another?

I checked your information on backing up, but I didn’t see anything with regards to how you physically connect one machine to another. Do you use a cable or is it done over a network? I tried using a cable for one desktop to my laptop, but I couldn’t see the other machine’s drives on my laptop. Both machines use Windows 7. I have EaseUs ToDo for the software that I’m using. I’m willing to try whatever you suggest.

There are a couple of ways to do what you’re suggesting. I’ll recommend something to you that I do, but for most folks, I suggest something else first.

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Does a wireless range extender compromise my security?

I have a home network: two PCs hard-wired to a Belkin router and a laptop Wi-Fi connected most of the time to the same router. The Wi-Fi connection is secured according to your recommendations with WPA2 and so forth, as confirmed by the small window currently connected. For outdoor use of the laptop, I use a Linksys RE1000 range extender. When I connect, the same windows show security type “unsecured.”

I tried to configure the extender as specified in the supplied CD (i.e. by wireless), but there’s no provision for security. Hardwiring the device gives access to the configuration panel, but there’s no provision to secure either.

My questions: Is the lack of a security setting typical of extenders in general or is it my model only? Is the situation insecure? I guess I’m okay on the internet side because the link to the internet is the Belkin which is secure, but what happens if someone picks up my extended signal? Could that someone interfere with my laptop? Thanks in advance.

It’s interesting. There shouldn’t be an issue here, but what you’ve described definitely makes me nervous.

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How Do I Configure My Static IP Address?


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?

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Why Does My Network Connection Drop Every so Often?


Why does my network connection drop every so often?

There are many possible reasons so I’ll focus a common one: confused network auto-speed detection. Most contemporary network cards, hubs, and routers attempt to automatically determine the speed of each network connection. Sometimes they get it wrong.

Most home and office networks run at either 10 or 100 megabits per second (mbs). Just how the network devices tell the difference varies from one device to the next. Most will also monitor the speed continuously just in case it changes. That means that if the device is going to make a mistake it could happen at any time. And that can look like anything from really poor network performance to a previously working network connection suddenly dropping.

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