Your wireless network is not an appliance like your fridge. It can be tweaked, customized and optimized to go beyond the basics or do the basics better. This ultimate guide shows you how.
Most households treat their wireless network the same way they treat their home electrical wiring. The guys come in and install it, you fire up your computer, and you use it, without ever thinking twice about how it works or how it could work better. If it breaks, you call the guys. If it is sluggish or sketchy, you put up with it or work around it until the problem gets so bad that it is virtually broken and you have to call the guys.
This, in my opinion, is no way to live. Unlike your home’s electrical wiring, your wired/wireless network is fun, easy, and safe to tinker with. If there’s a modem and a router in your house, then you have a network. And with that network, you can do much, much more than simply connect to the Internet. Or, at the very least, you can do so more quickly and safely.
Home Networking Tips and Wi-Fi Guides
Below is an ongoing list of some of our grooviest home networking tips. Dive in and make something of your network!
Tweaks, Troubleshooting, and Speed Boosts
Choose the Right WLAN Channel – One of the biggest contributors to slow Internet speeds and dropped connections is radio interference. If you live in a densely populated area, like a dorm or an apartment building, choosing a different WLAN channel may significantly boost your signal strength.
What is Port Forwarding? – If you are using torrent software, playing online games, or using another Internet service other than a web browser or email client, then port forwarding is a must. Read this introduction to find out how port forwarding can boost your speeds and fix your connectivity problems.
Powerline Ethernet Adapters: A Cheap Fix for Slow Network Speeds – Wireless just not cutting it? Not ready to tear holes in your walls to route Ethernet cables through your home? Powerline Ethernet gives you the speed and reliability of a wired connection without remodeling your home or breaking the bank.
Add Google Public DNS to Your Router – Chances are, your ISP’s default DNS server isn’t as fast or reliable as Google’s. Make the switch with these easy steps.
Add Google Public DNS to Your Computer – Same as above, but for just one machine.
How to Upgrade the Firmware for a Cisco/Linksys Router – New firmware for your off-the-shelf router can boost performance and security.
How to Recover Your Windows WiFi Password – Forgot your Windows wireless networking security key or password? Here’s your solution.
Printer, Music, and Photo Sharing
Keep Files Synced to a Network Drive Using Robocopy – SyncToy is great, but for Windows 7 users, you might find that Robocopy is a bit faster. Plus, you can automate it.
How To Share Files and Folders between OS X and Windows 7 – If you’re a PC, and your wife and kids are Macs, then you can still share files and folders. Here’s how.
How to Share a Printer Between Two Windows Computers – Save yourself the trouble of emailing documents to a central computer to print out documents.
Monitoring and Parental Controls
Set Up OpenDNS on a Home Network – OpenDNS lets you monitor and filter content on all devices on your home network, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Block Websites and Filter Content with OpenDNS – Stop employees or children from accessing inappropriate sites without adding any hardware, thanks to OpenDNS.
Customize your OpenDNS Pages – Want to add a personal touch to your block and filter notices with OpenDNS? Here’s how.
How to Pull Activity Logs from a Netgear Router – This is specific to one model of Netgear router, but the concept can be applied to the most major router makes and models. Not as easy as OpenDNS, but another option for spying on your kids.
Watch Hulu on a Raspberry Pi – Apple TV, Wii, and other streaming devices require a paid Hulu subscription to use the Hulu app. But if you have a Raspberry Pi, you can create an XBMC box that streams Hulu for free. Also, consider your connection while watching Hulu Live.
Stream Music and Video from Windows 7 to Xbox 360 – You can stream media from your Windows Media library without installing Windows Media Center extender.
Remote Control and Automation
How to Set Up Wake-on-LAN (WOL) in Windows 8 – If you want to wake up your media server without walking up the stairs to flip the switch, Wake-on-LAN is just the thing for you. WOL lets you turn on a computer using a phone, tablet, or another computer.
Schedule Windows to Sleep and Wake Automatically – Save energy by having your media server turn off and on each day.
Windows Task Scheduler: Trigger an Event When Internet Connects/Disconnects – Got an always-on machine that performs vital functions on the Internet? This quick tip will let you schedule certain actions when the computer connects/disconnects from the Internet.
Use One Keyboard/Mouse for Multiple Macs, PCs, or Linux Machines With Synergy – It’s a KVM switch without the hardware. And it’s free!
How to Enable Remote Desktop RDP in Windows 7 – Windows has a built-in remote desktop protocol–but you need to enable it for it to work.
How to Add a Windows 7 Client PC to Windows Home Server – This step is required if you want WHS to automatically back up your computer.
Got a groovy tip? Tell us about it in the comments