Wi-Fi

How to Adjust the Brightness of Google Wifi’s LED Lights

If you’ve jumped on the Google Wifi train (or at least been considering it), then you know there are a lot of reasons to love Google’s mesh network setup. And as helpful as the indicator lights are to let you know everything is powered up and running smoothly, they can also be a distraction. Here’s how to turn them off.

That’s right, no need for electrical tape here—Google Wifi actually has a feature that lets you turn the lights off from the app. If you have multiple Wifi units in your home, you can control each one individually, which is a nice touch on Google’s part. That way, you can completely disable the light on the unit in sensitive areas like…

How to Prioritize a Certain Device on Your Google Wi-Fi Network

When you have a large handful of devices connected to your network, it can be difficult to get the speeds you need to play online games or download media. However, with Google Wi-Fi, you can prioritize a device to get the best speeds possible on an otherwise crowded network.

Granted, you can do this on most traditional routers as well, but it’s certainly not as simple and easy as it is using Google Wi-Fi.

Start by opening up the Google Wi-Fi app on your phone and tap on the tab with the settings gear icon and three other circles.

Tap…

Disable WPAD in Windows to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Web Proxy Auto-Discovery (WPAD) gives organizations a way to automatically configure a proxy server on your system. Windows enables this setting by default. Here’s why that’s a problem.

WPAD is really useful when an organization like your company or school needs to configure a proxy server for your connection to their network. It saves you from having to set things up yourself. However, WPAD can cause problems should you connect to a malicious public Wi-FI network. With WPAD enabled, that Wi-Fi network can automatically configure a proxy server in Windows. All your web browsing traffic would be routed through the proxy server while you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network—potentially exposing sensitive data. Most operating systems support WPAD. The problem is that in Windows, WPAD is enabled by default. It’s a potentially dangerous setting, and it should not be enabled unless you really need it.

WPAD, Explained

Proxy servers—not to be confused with virtual private networks (VPNs)—are sometimes required to browse the web on some business or school networks. When you configure a proxy server on your system, your system will send your browsing traffic through the proxy server rather than directly to the websites you visit. This allows organizations to perform web filtering and caching, and may be necessary to bypass the firewalls on some networks.

The WPAD protocol is designed to allow organizations to easily provide proxy settings to all devices that connect to the network. The organization can place a WPAD configuration file in a standard place, and when WPAD is enabled, your computer or other device checks to see if there’s WPAD proxy information provided by the network. Your device then automatically uses whatever settings the proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file provides, sending all traffic on the current network through the proxy server.

Windows vs. Other Operating Systems

While WPAD might be a useful feature on some business and school networks, it can cause big problems on public Wi-Fi networks. You don’t want your computer to automatically configure a proxy…

How to Pause Internet Access on Google Wi-Fi

Whether you need your kids to get their homework done or if it’s just dinner time, Google Wi-Fi has a feature that lets you “pause” the internet on their devices. Here’s how to set it up.

This feature doesn’t pause internet access for your Google Wi-Fi network, just certain devices that you specify. You can even create groups of devices and pause all of them at once with a single tap, as well as create automatic resume times.

Start by opening up the Google Wi-Fi app on your phone and tap on the tab with the settings gear icon and three other circles.

Tap on “Family Wi-Fi”.

Tap on “Setup” at the bottom on the next screen.

From here, you can either tap “Next” to create a group of devices to pause all at once, or hit “Skip” to skip over the group-creating process and pause devices one-by-one.

Hitting “Skip”…

How to Configure a Proxy Server on Android

Android allows you to configure proxy settings for each Wi-Fi network. This is sometimes required to access the Internet on a business or school network, for example. Your browser traffic will be sent through the proxy you configure.

The proxy you configure will be used by Chrome and other web browsers, but may not be used by other apps. Each app developer can choose whether it uses Android’s proxy or not. That’s another good reason why you should use a VPN instead of a proxy. WIth a VPN, you can force all app’s network traffic through the VPN connection. It’s a better way to hide your IP address or access geoblocked websites that aren’t available in your country.

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This process is the same for all modern versions of Android, from Android 4.0 through 7.1. Some device manufacturers change the way Android’s Settings screen looks and functions, so you may find your Wi-Fi or proxy settings in a slightly different location.

Open Android’s Settings app and tap “Wi-Fi” to view a list of Wi-Fi networks.

Long-press the name of the Wi-Fi network you want to change the proxy settings for. Tap “Modify Network” when a menu appears.

If you haven’t already connected to the Wi-Fi network, you’ll need to connect to the Wi-Fi network and enter its passphrase before…

The Easiest Way to Fix Wi-Fi Issues: Move Your Router (Seriously)

Are there Wi-Fi dead zones in your house? Before you do anything drastic, you might be able to fix it by simply moving your router.

This sounds fake, because Wi-Fi seems like magic—something that can only be made better by wizards who understand its mysterious ways. But Wi-Fi isn’t magic. Your laptop and iPad connect to the Internet using a century old technology: radio waves.

And radio waves have limits. If you drive through a tunnel with the FM radio on, you’ll mostly hear a bunch of static. This is because the signal from the radio tower can’t reach you underground. There are barriers that block the signal.

The same principle applies to your Wi-Fi: barriers between your router and your devices make the signal worse. So the physical placement of your device makes a startlingly big difference in your signal across the house.

Place Your Router in the Center of Your House

If you drop a pebble in a still pond, ripples move out from the impact point in all directions.

That’s more or less how radio waves work: they emanate from a central point, in all directions. Remember this when you place your router: imagine ripples moving out from the router in all directions.

With that in mind, the ideal position for your router should be as close to the middle of your house as possible. If your router is in one far corner of your house, you’re sending most of the “ripples” outside, where they aren’t really doing anything for you; meanwhile, the corner of your house furthest from the router is just picking up diminished ripples (or nothing). Put your router in the middle of the house to get equal coverage everywhere.

And remember to think three dimensionally, too. In a three-story house, it’s probably best to put the router on the second floor, assuming you want good signal on all three stories.