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

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7 Steps to a Secure Router

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I’d like to know how to clear the history of my Linksys router. I’d also like to know how I can make it more secure and protect it from hacking.

The topic is an important one: how do you make sure you have a secure router? As your firewall, it’s your first line of defense against malware trying to get at your computer from the internet.

You want to make sure there aren’t big gaping holes. And sadly, very often and by default, there are.

Here are the most important seven eight steps to a more secure router.

(Updated 18-Dec-2016 to include checking for firmware updates after a high-profile vulnerability disclosure by a major router manufacturer.)

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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.

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Do I Need a Firewall, and If So, What Kind?

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I keep hearing about “firewalls” for my computer and that there are different types. Do I need one? If I do, what kind of firewall do I need?

The very short, very easy answer is: hell yes! Absolutely, positively you need a firewall.

With all that happens on the internet these days, it’s simply too risky to let your computer sit “naked” on the internet unless you really know what you’re doing. The real question is what kind of firewall do you need?

The very good news these days is that it’s very likely that you’re already behind a firewall and don’t need to do a thing.

But you should make sure.

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Should I Worry about Heartbleed Affecting My Router?

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Leo, plenty of us obviously know about Heartbleed by now and possibly the fact that this glitch is all about SSL. So, as an advanced and highly experienced computer user, something occurred to me: our router’s use of SSL. In my example, AT&T Uverse is my ISP, and the model of ISP provided router is an AT&T two-wire, HGV 3801. On the router’s acknowledgements page, there is an entire section about OpenSSL. Basically, do you think that it’s important that SSL on a router be up to date whether they allow you to update it or not?

That’s a really great observation and a very good question.

My take is that it really depends on a number of factors, and I’ll try to review what I think are the relevant ones. I don’t think it’s something that poses an imminent threat.

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Is My ISP’s Router Safe to Use?

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Hey, Leo. I recently changed my wireless router to that of my ISP’s provided router. Is this recommended with respect to privacy and monitoring issues? I can go online and see which devices are connected to my router and I can change certain settings and the SSID but I cannot take all the security measures you describe like disabling logging and remote management. Can they monitor my internet activities easier now? What if I use a VPN? Or should I just buy my own router? Does it matter?

The short answer is that it doesn’t really matter, and that I recommend using your ISP’s provided equipment, unless you come across some compelling reason not to. I don’t see one here.

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Will Someone Hacking My Router Show up on My Computer?

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If someone hacks into my router, will their activity show up on my personal computer and phones? We have activity as far as websites visited but we swear that the router must have been hacked. Is it possible for activity to be on the computer and phone if they weren’t actually used?

Hacking a router is possible, but fairly uncommon.

Most router hacks happen from the computers in your local network. That means you may have malware on one or more of your machines and it’s accessing the router. This can show up in several different ways on your computer.

I’m not so sure about the phones.

But since you asked, let’s talk a little about this scenario.

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Will buying a new modem/router increase my internet speed?

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I run a laptop with Vista SP2, Home Premium, with IE 9 on a wireless home network. I contract with my ISP for a DSL throughput of 1.2 to 1.5 megabits per second. We live in a rural area and that’s the fastest service available. Recently, using various speed tests, my speed has been falling below 1.2 megabits for considerable periods of time.

Monitoring my modem/router, the connect speed that it displays varies: 640/640, 1024/640, 1596/800. In addressing my slow speeds, my ISP insists that my three-year old modem/router needs replacement. I’m willing to do it if that will correct the problem, but my thinking is there’s nothing wrong with my existing modem/router. Aren’t the connection speeds that it displays a result of the line configuration settings originating with my ISP? Am I going to the expense of buying a newer modem/router they recommend only to end up with the situation unchanged?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to confirm what is happening. It could be the router, the line configuration, or other things like wire deterioration (which actually happened to me).

Let’s begin by looking at a few things.

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How do I slow down my router at night?

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My wireless internet works very well. At night, my son will not get off the net. I want to slow down the internet to a crawl by changing a setting in the router so that my son will go to sleep. Can you tell me what setting I can change in the router that slows the speed down by say, 75%?

Controlling children’s internet activity is nothing new. Parents have been dealing with that (or fighting their kids over it) since people started having home computers.

Unfortunately I am not aware of any consumer-grade (in other words, affordable) routers that do what you ask. I’m not aware of any standard setting that will somehow throttle the internet speed.

But there are alternatives.

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Why Does My Home Network Only Work with One Computer at a Time?

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The network consists of a cable modem, a hub/router, CAT5 cable in the walls, and two computers. If I disconnect one computer at the hub, the other one works. If I disconnect that one and connect only the other computer, it works. But, when I connect both neither works. I suspect a problem with the two computers getting the same address. Is this likely? How do I trouble shoot this kind of problem?

I suspect pretty much what you’ve indicated: a problem in the IP address assignment. But exactly what problem depends on a few details. Details we can look at.

Read moreWhy Does My Home Network Only Work with One Computer at a Time?