Tagged With wireless

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I might as well rename the Ask Lifehacker column “The Wifi Wizard,” given how many of you have written in with wireless networking questions over the past several months. That’s fine, though. Wireless networking is near and dear to my heart, as I have wonderful memories of the three years I spent testing routers for Wirecutter—lots and lots of routers, and enough throughput tests to last a lifetime.

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Hiding your neighbours’ wifi networks, not to be confused with blocking, is entirely possible. After all, your device automatically connects to your wireless network if you’ve saved the credentials. And in Windows’ “wifi connection box”, for lack of a better name, your OS automatically sorts all the wifi networks it sees from the strongest signal strength to the weakest (minus any hidden networks).

Unless your neighbour has an access point inside your house, you should be seeing your wifi networks at the top — or close to it.

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Like Michael Myers from those Halloween movies, some things in life are (seemingly) inescapable. Taxes. Politics. Your neighbour’s wifi networks that are strong enough to give you an unusable signal in your home or apartment, no matter where you are.

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A Lifehacker reader alerted me about the existence of Ubiquiti’s WiFiman app in a recent Tech 911 post—thanks, Rick!—and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re an Android user. The app also exists for iOS, and it has a few fun features, but it’s not nearly as useful for learning more about all the Wi-Fi congestion that’s slowing down your connections.

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Clearly, a bunch of Lifehacker readers have issues getting wireless networking to work — whether you’re trying to connect from a long distance away, you’re getting crappy speeds on your devices, or you’re frustrated because there are 300 different wireless networks irradiating your apartment.

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The router sitting in the corner of your office or study is an incredibly complex piece of hardware. While it may have cost as little as $50, it controls the flow of data in, out and around your network over wired and wireless connections. With that complexity, there comes a need to ensure you have everything tweaked so that it's secure. Here are the essential steps you need to take to make sure your home or small office network is safe to use.

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Developers can now start playing with the next iteration of Bluetooth — that convenient little technology that lets you stream music to nearby devices or go on a run without cables connecting you to your smartphone. Though it will still take some time for Bluetooth 5.1 to make its way to phones, laptops, and other devices, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently published a breakdown of some of the major Bluetooth 5.1 features you can start getting excited about now.

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If you can charge your smartphone wirelessly, congratulations. You have arrived at the future, a time when the Herculean process of fumbling with a cable, inserting it into the bottom of your device, and waiting for the satisfactory tone feels archaic and silly. With one convenient, reasonably priced power pad, you can now set your smartphone down, wait for the ding, and go about your merry way. Cables are for suckers.

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If you own a Chromecast and have annoying friends or housemates, you’re probably tired of them interrupting your movie-watching by streaming stupid videos to your device. Rickrolls are funny the first time, not the 26th, and especially not when you’re invested in your favourite show or film.

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Android: If you’ve updated to Android 9 Pie, you may have noticed that your smartphone will now automatically turn on your Wi-Fi connection — if you’ve turned it off — when you’re near familiar network with a strong signal. This feature, which debuted in Android Oreo, is now flipped on by default in Android Pie.

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Though more router manufacturers are making routers easier to set up and configure — even via handy little apps instead of annoying web-based interfaces — most people probably don't tweak many options after purchasing a new router. They log in, change the name and passwords for their Wi-Fi networks and call it a day.

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If you aren't checking your Internet speeds on a weekly basis, you might not know when there's a problem. You aren't likely to notice a difference between 150 Mbps and 80 Mbps download speeds when you're browsing websites, watching (1080p) YouTube, or chatting with friends, but if you're downloading a huge Fortnite update, why drive in the slow lane?

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Windows: There are a million little apps that feature some combination of the words "Wi-Fi" and "analysis", or something really close to either. Some apps are paid; some are free. And they all allow you see different combinations of information about your wireless setup (and the wireless setups of those around you).

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I've always been a fan of Valve's Steam streaming, because it means you don't have to lug your desktop PC around your house or apartment whenever you feel like gaming somewhere else. Though your laptop might not be able to run The Witcher 3 natively - or at least, not very well - it's a lot easier to let your gaming desktop do all the heavy lifting and stream its output to another device, such as the three-year-old laptop you're using from your backyard hammock.

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I love automation; I do. I just think it's the most fun thing ever to walk into my house and have my smart lights immediately pull up some colourful scene — not to mention all the absurd configurations I can create that changes their colours and brightness when certain things happen, ranging from "I got a tweet" to "It's midnight why are you still awake go to bed."

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Today's "I'll believe it when I see it" iPhone rumour-mongering concerns not the iPhone itself, but its charger - the most important accessory you'll find in its meticulously crafted packaging. As the speculation goes, Apple is allegedly considering bumping up the default charger for the iPhone 9 or iPhone X2: from 5W to 18W.