Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Microsoft pushing users to upgrade Windows, new server outages, Verizon and Echo devices, full EV charging in 5 minutes, Windows 10’s future, Netflix kids clips, eye tracking technology and gaming, Tidal’s new free tier, Walmart’s driverless trucks, and more.
Liz in Windsor, Ontario listens online, and asked: “I walk outside on my back deck and lose my WiFi signal. I’m no more than 4 feet outside my patio door. What are my options to remedy this frustrating problem? Do I need a new router or modem? Do I have to rearrange these devices in my home? Is there some sort of product that I can easily plug in to boost or expand my WiFi signal so I can sit out on my deck and access my home network?”
Liz, what youll need depends mainly on your home and how its built. Materials, size, and other factors, all impact radio signals – and WiFi is just another radio signal. But generally speaking, if you cant get a signal out there, your options will be limited.
You can move your router closer to that part of the house if thats an option for you, but that will probably just create another dead WiFi spot somewhere else.
Otherwise youre stuck looking at either a better router, or better yet a system that uses several of them.
Some routers have more powerful antennas, so if you want to keep it to a single one, a beefy, usually more expensive router may do the trick.
Otherwise a mesh system like Google WiFi, Eero, or Netgears Orbi should do the trick and it wont change anything about how you use your network. Theyll be just one network to connect to, you wont have to disconnect or reconnect, the different access points that make up the system will manage the handoff for you, so as far as you know it will be like having a single device creating a single network.
Those devices will probably cost you a couple hundred dollars, depending on how many you actually need, it may be more, but if thats the only dead spot, two will probably do it. A good quality router may cost you the same or slightly less, but it will come loaded with lots of features youll never use and it will be less focused on giving you better coverage. A bonus of the router over something like Google WiFi is that with IoT devices being as insecure as some are, having a VLAN for them may be a good option, but thats an advanced use case and something you probably wont do if you didnt already know you wanted to do it.
David in Madison, Mississippi listens on Supertalk and asked: “I recently purchased the G Suite of software applications and cloud support so that I can transfer all of my personal files, pictures, etc. to the cloud so I can access them from wherever I was because I travel frequently. Unfortunately, I’m either a little slow or just misunderstood the directions. But I can’t seem to get any of my files transferred to the Google cloud. Do you have any suggestions of where I can find easier to understand instructions on how I can access the Google cloud for my files?”
David, Googles cloud is extensive, but Google Apps are mainly made up of Drive, their office suite, email, and photos. There are other features but those are the main ones.
It sounds like youre mainly interested in storing photos, so you probably just want to go to photos.google.com. Syncing them in the background is possible, but you will have to download the Drive or Photos app into your phone to have it taken care of for you.
If you want to access other files youll probably find them at drive.google.com. Google Drive is Googles main file repository and for the most part will take care of redirecting you where you need to go from there.
By redirecting you, we mean that a word processing document could be accessed from docs.google.com, and a spreadsheet could be accessed from sheets.google.com, but if you just go to Google Drive youll see both and if you click on one it will open in the right Google App.
You should stop by apps.google.com to get a better view of what youre paying for. There are quite a few more apps in there like Keep, Forms, theres even a scripting app and internal chat, Google Meet, and other office collaboration apps. Youre paying for them, so you might as well have a look at whats included in your monthly fee.
Thomas in Brunswick, GA,”Hopefully you can give me some insight on Solar and battery banks. Thanks for any information you can give for while we’re out camping and can utilize this equipment.”
Thomas if youre tent camping, dont expect any miracles. Batteries are heavy and big rigid solar panels work better than small flexible ones.
If youre in a camper, you will probably have a better experience with solar. Look into ETFE panels and an MTTP controller if you can, that will maximize what goes into your battery.
Lithium batteries are great and will get you a lot more mAH than a marine deep cycle battery, but you will pay quite a bit more for them.
If youre fully mobile and just in a tent, your options go down a little, look at GoSun and Jackery for more portable options but keep in mind that a small flexible panel will take a very long time to charge the battery and without a charged battery you dont have a way to charge your electronics.
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