Q: During my less-than-two-year ownership of a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router, its speed has continued to deteriorate with each of several firmware security updates. One wireless PC was functioning at nearly 100 mbps and is now down to 40 mbps. Another PC wired directly to the router gets about the same low speed after achieving up to about 200 mbps in the past.
If I temporarily connect one PC directly to my Arris DOCSIS 3.0 modem, Comcast delivers their promised speed of 300 mbps! The router’s location and number of devices hasn’t changed. Modem and router resets don’t help.
— Arnie Gooder
A: Actually, I haven’t heard of any performance problems related to Netgear updates. And, in fact, I have the same Netgear router as you do and my router’s performance has remained steady.
Yes, if you connect your computer directly to the Ethernet port on your cable modem you will generally get significantly faster performance than accessing the modem over a Wi-Fi router. But be aware that, apart from having to be cabled to the modem, some cable modems don’t offer firewall protection for the Ethernet port.
There are configuration settings you can change in the Wi-Fi router to potentially improve performance, but depending on what devices you’re using and how they are configured, changing settings may actually result in reduced performance.
There are, however, a few things I can recommend for you to try. First, (if you haven’t already done so) try adjusting the antennas on the router.
Second, try changing bands on your device. The R7000 is a dual-band router and provides service on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The 5GHz service doesn’t have as much range as the 2.4GHz service, but it offers faster throughput.
Finally, it’s possible that your router is configured to use a channel that is crowded with other users in your area. Look in the user’s manual to find how to specify a different channel for your router to use.
Q: I have told people that if they want to donate a computer (or give it to a friend, family member, etc.), that one simple way to ensure their data is unrecoverable is to run full disk encryption on the drive prior to donating it.
This forces the recipient to reinstall the OS and etc., while any data fragments that remain on the drive are cryptographically unreadable.
As Mr. Spock said on Star Trek: “What do you think of my solution?”
— Joe Mayes
A: Yes, I suppose that would work, too. But be aware that disk encryption will only protect your data from being accessed by a thief or the folks at the recycle center. If you’re concerned about someone with a court order being able to access your data it’s another matter, at least if you’re using the disk encryption feature in Windows.
When you use Windows disk encryption the key is stored on Microsoft’s servers and is tied to your Microsoft login account. That means if you lose access you can regain access, but it also means that someone with a court order could potentially do so as well.
Again, it all comes down to who you trust.
Q: I have a puzzle for you to solve. When I visit my own website using one browser and I click on a link it takes me to the page it’s supposed to. When I do the same thing on the same computer using a different browser it takes me to the wrong page. Any idea what’s going wrong?
— Adele Jackson
A: This one’s actually pretty easy. To save time when you’re surfing the internet, browsers cache data so that when you go to a page if nothing has changed since your last visit the browser will simply load up the cached page instead of downloading it. Occasionally, however, the browser may lose track of things. That’s what is happening with the browser that’s taking you to the wrong page.
The solution? Clearing the browser’s cache. You don’t say which browser is giving you the problem so I can’t give you the exact steps, but go to the browser’s menu and look for “Options” or “Settings.”
Within that submenu look for something similar to “clear cache” or “delete history.”