inappropriate websites. (See “We need
to talk” on page ;; for more on tech
Some routers have a USB port in
the back, which lets you plug in a hard
drive or flash drive. If you load up those
external drives with media—such as
movies, TV shows, music and family
photos—everyone on the network can
play them, as if the content were stored
on the device itself.
Some router companies call this
Media Share or Ready Share, but the
idea is the same: Load up those drives
with video, audio or picture files to
access them on a desktop, laptop,
smartphone, tablet, game console or
smart TV. You might need an app to
access them, but not always.
With some routers, you can even
securely access these files whenever
you’re outside the home, too, kind of like
your own private cloud service (with no
monthly subscription fees).
Handy extras are available
with today’s Wi-Fi systems
by MARC SALTZMAN
oday’s newer mesh Wi-Fi systems
are increasing in popularity
because they offer a much
broader coverage range in the
home. Using multiple small hubs around
the home that are fed by a central router,
these systems blanket a larger space
with strong and reliable wireless con-
nectivity. But there’s more than good
coverage with these systems. Here are
a couple of extras to look for.
Many Wi-Fi networks give you
access to parental controls so you can
set limits on internet access. This is
usually handled via a companion app.
Worried about screen addiction?
You can set time limits, such as allowing the kids to be online for, say, two
hours per weekday night, between
; and ; p.m. You can also set these time
restrictions by device, so you can
choose different settings for your son’s
laptop and your daughter’s tablet.
Pause the Wi-Fi for your kids’ devices
during dinner and bedtime. In some
cases, you can also filter content by
device, such as preventing access to
Costco o;ers routers and mesh systems in
the warehouses and online at Costco.com.
Setting up? Easy peasy:
Simply use an app or a
website for your Wi-Fi name,
password, guest network and
is a leading high-tech
reporter and the
author of more than 16
books. He’s on Twitter
Saltzman will answer
selected questions in
this column. He regrets
questions cannot be
in the subject line.
Q&A Marc Saltzman
P.O. Box 34088
Here’s a checklist to
make sure your Wi-Fi
system is optimized.
• Ensure you’re
paying for fast
upload and down-
load speeds with
your internet service
provider. Budget per-
mitting, go with the
fastest it o;ers.
• Place your router
in an optimal spot in
your home—on the
main or top floor and
close to the center
of the house. Don’t
shove it in a corner.
• If it’s been a few
years since you’ve
upgraded your router, consider picking
up a new one, with
802.11ac speeds. If
you live in a larger
a mesh network.
• Wi-Fi routers
often broadcast in two
2. 4 GHz and 5 GHz. If
your devices support
it, use the 5 GHz band
for faster performance
and less interference.—MS