How to Fix Your Home Network

I’m not a genius, but I’m not dumb either. I can read a tech manual and follow some simple instructions. And maybe you are just like me: a normal guy who should be able to install a router without asking help from one of those bearded IT gurus.

Nevertheless, sometimes things just don’t work out as expected. Maybe the router manual is outdated, because a new firmware update has significantly changed the user interface. Or maybe everything worked fine in the beginning, but now the router refuses to cooperate.

No matter the cause, this article will go through the key settings that are responsible for the most frequent wireless networks issues. So, let’s dive right into it!

Some of the biggest Wi-Fi troubles are caused by mismatched security settings. Most devices provide support for the WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols. WEP is outdated and can be easily cracked, so be sure to use WPA2 for all the devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi network. If this isn’t possible, choose WPA, but use a very long password. It’s not the ideal solution, but it can keep most hackers at bay.

use a strong password

If some devices can connect, and others have troubles doing that, they may use outdated passwords. It’s easy to change the Wi-Fi password, update it on your frequently used computers, tablets, phones, and so on, and then forget to update the pass for a seldom used device.

The easiest way to fix this issue is to forget the network, and then connect to it again. Be sure to use the most recent version of the password, of course.

According to Data Alliance, many problems appear because routers don’t run in mixed mode. Your devices may be configured to use different Wi-Fi protocols. An older device may run using the 802.11b protocol, while a newer one may use the 802.11n protocol. If your router runs using the latter protocol (and not in “mixed mode”) it will not recognize the first device.

wifi router modes

With mixed mode, your router will broadcast using all the available protocols. This will slow down the network a bit, but it will ensure compatibility with older devices as well. Of course, if all your Internet-connected gadgets are new, you can tell the router to use the newest protocol, and thus get a small Wi-Fi network speed boost.

Some people use MAC address filtering. It’s a feature that’s supposed to boost security, but it won’t stop an experienced hacker. Still, it can provide an additional layer of security. If you have enabled your router’s MAC filtering feature, some devices may not be able to join the network because their MAC addresses can’t be found in the list of gadgets that are allowed to connect.

Poorly connected cables and damaged cables are two of the most frequent causes of Wi-Fi network problems. People simply forget that their wireless connections include a wired connection as well. So, if things don’t work as expected, don’t forget to check the cables.

Sometimes your router misbehaves because it is overheated. If you stream movies for hours or download huge files, the heavy load will significantly increase the router temperature. And when this happens, some of your devices may be randomly disconnected from the router.

To fix the problem, allow the router to cool down. Then, move it in an area that’s better ventilated – close to the air conditioning system, for example.

Other routers tend to overheat because they have to work with too many clients at the same time. A typical home router can handle 10 clients without problems; nevertheless, if you’ve got 20 devices that need Internet access in your home, it’s best to add a new router or access point, thus spreading the load among them.

too many router clients

If your device is away from the router, and it refuses to connect to the Wi-Fi network, the problem is almost always a weak wireless signal. But before adding a new router, try changing the current Wi-Fi channel and repositioning the router, moving it closer to the area that needs a stronger signal.

I have worked with several routers, and I have noticed that some of them are much more reliable than others. Electrical power surges are known to be one of the main causes for router damage. And trust me, it’s very hard to repair a router these days! But maybe it’s just a firmware problem, so try to update the router firmware before throwing it away.

Also, consider investing your money into a cheaper router, which can be used to troubleshoot your network whenever the main router doesn’t behave as expected. This way, if something really bad happens, you won’t be disconnected from the Internet for good.

Toontastic 3D, Family Hub 2.0 and HoloLens

Google Launches a 3D Storytelling App

Google has launched a kid-friendly storytelling application, which allows children to draw their own characters, record their own voices, and then create exciting digital stories using one of the great looking, predefined environments.

Children who lack artistic abilities can also pick one or more of the funny looking characters that come bundled with the app, and then pick a soundtrack that perfects the scene, adding emotion and excitement to it.

But Toontastic 3D isn’t all about cartoony animations; children can also create great looking school reports for their projects with it. It’s definitely a huge improvement in comparison with the original Toontastic, which was created by Launchpad Toys, a startup that was bought by Google a few years ago.

The application can create short stories, which can have a length of up to 3 minutes, classic stories (up to five minutes) and science reports, which start with a question, which is then followed by several scenes which include experiments, results and conclusions.

According to the product manager, the app was built for children aged 6 to 13. Its goal is to inspire the kids, helping them become more creative. As an added bonus, a section of the app called the “idea lab” allows children to see and enjoy other kids’ creations.

If your children want to become film directors, teachers or game designers, you’d better show them this app asap. It may be that little spark which is powerful enough to ignite their future career.


Family Hub 2.0, the Refrigerator for Lonely People

I know how you feel: I am a lonely person too. And being lonely, the fridge (F) is one of my closest friends. We spend a lot of time together, F and I, especially when I feel blue.

Fortunately, the good guys at Samsung understand me better than anyone else. At least that’s what I think, because they’ve upgraded four of their Family Hub refrigerators, adding voice recognition features to them.

Yes! Now I can finally talk to my good old friend (F) without looking insane. And it’s a familiar process, because Samsung uses S Voice, which can be found in many of its smartphones, to power the voice recognition technology that’s being used in its refrigerators.

With Family Hub 2.0, you can ask the fridge how’s the weather. You can also tell it to play your favorite songs, edit your agenda, and… (drum roll) purchase the items that can be found on your shopping list!

The built-in camera allows you to see what’s inside the fridge without having to open the door. And the built-in browser allows you to access a huge array of web services, in addition to the growing collection of built-in fridge apps.


New Augmented Reality Application Helps Engineers Visualize Blueprints

Microsoft has partnered with the University of Cambridge to showcase a new HoloLens application, which can help engineers overlay a construction blueprint over a piece of land, turning it into a virtual building.

According to the researchers, Microsoft’s HoloLens can be used by engineers to evaluate progress and make their inspections much faster, because there isn’t any need for a physical inspection. Engineers can also take photos on site, bring them to their offices, and then overlay them onto a 3D building model to evaluate and determine any potential structure problems, for example.

This partnership demonstrates clearly that Microsoft wants to promote HoloLens as a serious tool which can be used by professionals, and not just by kids who love VR games.