Q: I occasionally lose the e-mail connections on my two Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones when they are connected to my home Wi-Fi network. The network has a Linksys EA7500 router and a Comcast internet connection, and serves the two phones, a PC and a 4K digital TV (another PC uses a wired connection to the router.) Recently, the phones couldn’t connect to their e-mail accounts, although the two PCs could. I rebooted the phones and again set up their e-mail accounts, but it didn’t help. Later, the phones reconnected to e-mail on their own. What’s wrong?

Steve London, Plymouth

 

A: You have too many data-hungry devices competing for too little internet capacity.

Streaming programs to your 4K TV is eating up most of the Wi-Fi bandwidth in your home. (For details on 4K TV, see tinyurl.com/jc5zygg.) Your two PCs are consuming most of the remaining internet capacity, via either Wi-Fi or cable. That leaves little Wi-Fi capacity for two phones to download e-mail, even though mail typically doesn’t contain much data.

You could either upgrade your Wi-Fi network, which can be expensive, or change the way you use your phones, which will cost little.

Upgrading: While you have a relatively new router, you might want to buy one that uses “802.11ac” technology, which will manage your existing Wi-Fi bandwidth more efficiently. Such routers cost $60 to $400 online (see tinyurl.com/8xjrafp). Alternatively, you could buy a faster internet connection, which in the long run will be more expensive than a new router.

Changing phone usage: The easiest solution is to let the phones update their e-mail through the cellular network instead of connecting them to your home Wi-Fi. The small amount of information in e-mail downloads isn’t likely to overrun your phone data plan, and your Wi-Fi network will be free to perform its other tasks.

If you want to continue using the phones on the Wi-Fi network, you could minimize Wi-Fi data congestion by changing how often the phones download new e-mail. For example, instead of having e-mail updated automatically, you could set the mail app to update manually (only when you request it) — then do it when the TV isn’t streaming data. To alter the Galaxy S7’s e-mail update settings, see tinyurl.com/le328q5.

 

Q: My Dell Vostro 1520 laptop, which I bought in 2010, has been running Windows 10. But the PC recently was unable to complete three software updates (a cumulative update for Windows 10, and updates for a graphics card and a printer.) As a result, it keeps rebooting in an effort to install the updates. What can I do?

Don Carvajal, New Orleans

 

A: Your seven-year-old PC should not have been upgraded to Windows 10 because of compatibility issues (see tinyurl.com/kjlgbea). While you were able to run Windows 10 initially, I suspect the latest updates won’t work with your PC’s hardware.

You can try to fix the problem by downloading Microsoft’s “Windows Update Troubleshooter” program for Windows 10 (see tinyurl.com/jgkrtnd). If that doesn’t work, your best options are to switch your PC to Windows 7 (still available online), or buy a new Windows 10 PC.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.