Random Tech Questions you want answered.

This might be of assistance. You can use Word, Excel and Powerpoint - feature limited - for free in a browser.

There's no longer a real home use program, but I believe you can still get a discount through your employer. I can renew the subscription at 70€ per year, so at a 30% discount. I'm not sure though, we are a Microsoft partner so that might be a reason too.

Anyone have a recommendation as far as a mesh networking kit goes?

I have been tasked by my father-in-law-to-be to pick out a new mesh networking kit. Their house is a 100+ year old townhouse with three floors and a basement and some substantial walls that I don't think a single router could cover. I've already set up an old router as a repeater on the third floor where my fiancee and I have been staying while we renovate our house, but it looks like this isn't cutting it anymore.

I work at a Costco and the new Netgear Nighthawk Mesh System caught my eye as I had always heard good things about the standalone Nighthawk router, but reviews of the mesh network are middling at best.

Usually my go-to for recommendations of this sort is the Wirecutter, but their guide hasn't been updated since January and there are a number of new WiFi 6 systems out since then.

At present I'm leaning towards the TP-Link Mesh Kit, but if anyone has a recommendation against it or for something else I'm all ears.

Make sure it has WPA-3 Personal, which allows WPA-2 Personal devices to connect securely. As I understand it, that's the transitional accommodation.

Is Ubiquiti still the go to for mesh stuff?

I'm not sure it's ever been the go-to for mesh, although it seems to regard it as important enough to support it in more than one product line (unless I'm misreading some of the Unifi AC feature list). Velop's Tri-Band mesh line was the top pick the last I looked at solutions.

If you can hang tough for a few more months, the FCC just released a new frequency band for indoor use, pretty much all of 6GHz, which is a gigantic range. That air is completely uncluttered at the moment, and because it doesn't penetrate walls that well (very slightly worse than 5GHz, but not really enough to notice), your signals tend to stay local, meaning they don't interfere with anyone else, and their signals mostly won't bother you. It's totally clear now, but it should remain pretty clear in the future, because "enemy" APs will be strongly attentuated by the exterior walls of both their houses and yours.

WiFi 6E (the E is for extended frequency range) gear, when it hits, should allow for massive backhaul through your home, probably well over a gigabit, and should allow you to run multiple clients on regular 5.8GHz, and then when 6E client adapters start showing up, you'll be able to serve them at very high speed, as well.

Downside: it'll probably be expensive. These units will work best with at least four radios.... 2 on 6GHz, one for backhaul and one for clients, and (at least) 1 each for 5.8 and 2.4. And the software to run everything is going to be really complex, so expect to pay a lot for a high-quality 6E mesh kit.

Thanks for the input folks.

My father in law is not a patient man, so waiting for a few more months for more features isn't really an option. (That being said, I myself will probably be in the market for a mesh system in 3-6 months, so all the info is good to hear. Thanks Malor!)

I think I've settled on the TP-Link kit given the features my FIL needs and amount of money he's willing to spend. If it ends up not working out for whatever reason, Costco's return policy is very good (and I know the folks at the returns desk pretty well) so I can always return it and pick out another.

Is there an app for windows that creates a little on screen widget that you can program hotkeys for touch screens?