Recipe: Seared Albacore Tuna

New photo by John Wong / Google Photos

Oregon Albacore is in season August through October and is available fresh and sushi grade at Flying Fish Co.

– 1/4 cup light soy sauce
– 2 tbl sake
– 2 tbl seasoned rice vinegar
– 2 tbl sesame oil
– 1/3 cup sesame seeds
– some water if soy sauce is not light enough
– 6 oz. tuna steak
– Avocado oil, or other high smoke point oil

  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sake, seasoned rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  Coat the tuna steaks in the mixture, and let sit for few minutes.
  2. Spread sesame seeds on a plate.  Press the tuna into the seeds to coat.
  3. Heat oil in heavy skillet until very hot (400°).  Place steaks in the pan, and sear for about 40 seconds on each side.
  4. Serve with wasabi paste.

Recipe: Homemade creme fraiche

Tasting of hazelnuts, creme fraiche is France’s favorite form of cream for cooking. With more body and complex flavors than fresh sweet cream, creme fraiche is a thick, rich, custard of a cream. It thickens without curdling, a little goes a long way in fast pan sauces, and blended with fresh herbs and a dash of fresh lemon, creme fraiche is splendid over seafoods and poultry. Dollop it over fresh fruit, or whip and lightly sweeten to frost or fill cakes. This is a home version that comes close to the real thing.

To get even closer, order a creme fraiche culture from The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company and follow their directions.


1 to 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream (pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized or sterilized, and with no additives)

Combine the buttermilk and cream in a saucepan and heat only to tepid (not more than 85 degrees on an instant reading thermometer). Pour into a clean glass jar. Partially cover and let stand at room temperature (between 65 and 75 degrees) for 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Stir and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using. The cream will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Fresh Herbed Cream Sauce: No cooking here — simply blend 1/2 cup creme fraiche with 1 teaspoon each finely sliced chives and fresh tarragon. Add about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serves up to 6 people. Streak a little over pieces of grilled, baked or poached salmon, sole, or scallops. Herbs could be pureed with a little shallot and stirred into the cream for a pale green color.
Pan Sauces: Stir a generous tablespoon into defatted pan sauces after pan grilling poultry, fish or vegetables. Bring to a simmer, taste for balance, and pour over foods.
Soups: Reduce the amount of cream called for in your favorite creamed soup by half and substitute creme fraiche.
With Fruits: A few spoonfuls of creme fraiche lift fruit flavors. Try over berries, ripe peaches or nectarines, or on sauteed pears. The cream could be lightly sweetened, flavored with a little lemon, orange or vanilla.
Imagination is everything. Try creme fraiche in other dishes as well. Streak it over mousses and jelled sweets or savories. Finish an appetizer plate of marinated leek or grilled scallions and asparagus with a zig zag of creme fraiche. It is classic in Beef Stroganoff instead of sour cream.
Categories: DIY
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 48 hours
Yield: 2 cups

From:  Splendid Table

Recipe: Steamed Whole fish

2016-Rainbow Trout

Steamed whole fish is the epitome of Cantonese cooking.  A perfectly steamed fish has flesh that is just cooked at the bone, moist and not dry (a 1 lb. rainbow trout is pictured above). Typically, whole fish are not served with the liquid in which it was steamed, which is fishy tasting, and any sauce is added at the end, after the fish has been cooked. In this classic preparation, the fish is topped with scallions and ginger, then doused with hot oil, which releases the flavor of the aromatics into the flesh of the fish.


1 to 1.5 lb. whole fish (such as rock fish, rainbow trout, tilapia, etc.), cleaned with head and tail intact
2 by 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely julienned
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine (or sake)
1 scallion, white and light green parts only, julienned
1/2 cup canola (or avocado) oil — hot, about 400°F


1. Rinse the fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Score the fish.  Place the fish on a heatproof plate that is both large enough to accommodate it (e.g., a 9″ glass pie plate in wok, or 12″ fish plate in microwave), bending the fish slightly if it is too long. Stuff half of the ginger inside the cavity of the fish and spread the remaining ginger on top of the fish.
2. Pour water into a wok and set a steamer in the wok. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Place the plate holding the fish in the steamer, cover, and steam for about 8 minutes, until the fish flakes easily when tested with the tip of a knife.
3. Alternatively, microwave the fish for about 3.5 minutes (1300 watt microwave);  under a “dome” to retain moisture.
4. While the fish is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, wine, and 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.
5. When the fish is ready, carefully remove the plate from the steamer and pour off any accumulated liquid. Lay the scallion along the top of the fish.
6. Also, while the fish is cooking:  In a small sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat until it is very hot but not smoking (~400°). Remove the oil from the heat and pour it directly over the fish and scallion.  The oil should sizzle and pop.
7. Drizzle soy mixture over the fish and serve immediately. (The mixture should also be heated, for best result).
8. Reserve some scallion (and optionally cilantro) to garnish, as a final touch.

How to Prepare a Whole Fish

Most markets sell fish that have already been scaled and gutted. If a fish has not been cleaned, you can ask the fishmonger to clean and gut it for you. Fins can also be trimmed off because the fish is easier to serve without them. With a pair of scissors, cut off the fins from both sides of the fish, from the belly, and then the dorsal fins (the ones running along the back). Finally, trim the tail by cutting it into a V shape and score the fish.

Adapted from Ling Chen, and Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan.

Recipe: Steamed Spareribs

Chinese Steamed Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce Recipe

New photo by John Wong / Google Photos


1-1/2 lbs pork spare rib (rib tips)
2 tablespoons (whole) black bean sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or sake)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (on microplane grater)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar


Cut the spareribs crosswise into 1″ – 2″ sections. Or, easier, find ribs cut in 1″ strips at Asian market (e.g. Chang Fa, An Dong, Hong Phat, etc.). Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok (e.g., 9” pie plate) Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink.

Health: Weight loss diet

And here’s the obesity diet published in the 1951 textbook The Practice of Endocrinology, coedited by seven prominent British physicians led by Raymond Greene, probably the most influential twentieth-century British endocrinologist:

Foods to be avoided:
1. Bread, and everything else made with flour …
2. Cereals, including breakfast cereals and milk puddings
3. Potatoes and all other white root vegetables
4. Foods containing much sugar
5. All sweets …

You can eat as much as you like of the following foods:
1. Meat, fish, birds
2. All green vegetables
3. Eggs
4. Cheese
5. Fruit, except bananas and grapes

From Why We Get Fat, 2011, by Gary Taubes

Recipe: Yu Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce

1 lb yu choy sum
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 inch gingerroot (1 inch piece, peeled)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons water or 3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon (or less) sugar


Yu Choy Sum: Rinse yau choy and trim the end of the stems. Bring 6-8 cups of water to a boil in a wok or large stock pot. Stir in salt, baking soda, garlic and ginger. Add yu choy. Cover and simmer about 4 minutes, until the yu choy turns bright green and is tender-crisp. Drain and serve drizzled with the oyster sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Sauce: Mix oyster sauce with water or broth, sake and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil to melt the sugar. Remove from heat.

New photo by John Wong / Google Photos

New photo by John Wong / Google Photos

Portland Hiking Trails

What all of these hikes have in common is geography; each one can be found within Portland city limits (plus Sauvie Island). Let this be both a guide and a reminder: You don’t have to take a road trip to find good hiking around Portland.

Easy hikes

Hoyt Arboretum Loop (4.7 miles, Northwest Portland): A scenic loop hike through the northern portion of Washington Park, centered around the Hoyt Arboretum.

Kelley Point Park (1.7 miles, North Portland): Easy walk along beach and paved trails at the point where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers converge.

Mount Tabor Green Trail (1.7 miles, Southeast Portland): A walk around the perimeter of Mount Tabor Park, on both paved roads and dirt trails.

Oak Island (2.8 miles, Sauvie Island): Seasonal hike through the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, open from mid-April through September.

Oaks Bottom (2.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Loop hike around the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge — a wetland, meadow and forest complex that is home to a great diversity of birds.

Smith and Bybee Lakes (2.1 miles, North Portland): A paved trail through the Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands Natural Area, home of painted turtles, eagles, herons and more.

Tryon Creek Inner Loop (1.9 miles, Southwest Portland): Easy walk along the inner trails of Tryon Creek State Park, an urban forest with several small bridges and muddy trails.

Wapato Greenway (2.2 miles, Sauvie Island): An easy stroll along the Wapato Greenway on Sauvie Island, where waterfowl and beaver sightings are common.

Washington Park Loop (3.9 miles, Southwest Portland): A hike through Washington Park, on dirt trails and sidewalks past some of Portland’s best attractions.

Woods Park Loop (2.1 miles, Southwest Portland): Trails through a 36-acre pocket of native forest in the heavily wooded Woods Memorial Natural Area.

Moderate hikes

Council Crest (3.3 miles, Southwest Portland): Most people drive up to the scenic point with spectacular mountain views, but a hike from Marquam Nature Park is worth the effort.

Maple Trail (8.2 miles, Northwest Portland): One of the best hikes in Forest Park, the Maple Trail is a lovely showcase of the park’s many bigleaf maple trees.

Marquam Nature Park Loop (3.8 miles, Northwest Portland): A loop around Marquam Nature Park, a tranquil pocket of nature saved by neighbors in the 1960s.

Mount Tabor Blue Trail (3.3 miles, Southeast Portland): A perfect tour of Mount Tabor, on dirt and paved trails that lead past all three reservoirs and to the summit of the extinct volcano.

Newton Road to Newberry Road (9.4 miles, Northwest Portland): Lengthy hike through the northernmost portion of Forest Park, along the Wildwood Trail and past the Hole in the Park.

Pittock Mansion Hike (5 miles, Northwest Portland): Storybook stroll through Macleay Park and a hike up the Wildwood Trail to the historic Pittock Mansion with scenic views of Portland.

Powell Butte Loop (4.3 miles, Southeast Portland): Hike around the perimeter of Powell Butte Nature Park, through forest and along the high grasslands of the extinct volcano.

Tryon Creek Outer Loop (5.7 miles, Southwest Portland): Loop around Tryon Creek State Park, a sprawling urban forest with trails for hikers, equestrians and cyclists.

Tolinda-Ridge Trail (5.9 miles, Northwest Portland): A hike from the Tolinda Trailhead to the Ridge Trailhead in Forest Park, with a nice view of the St. Johns Bridge.

Warrior Point (7 miles, Sauvie Island): A long, flat hike to the Warrior Rock Lighthouse up to the northernmost Warrior Point of Sauvie Island.


Forest Park: At nearly 5,200 acres, Forest Park is easily Portland’s largest, containing the famed 30-mile Wildwood Trail among others. No one hike does the park justice, so get to a trail-head and explore.

Marquam Nature Park: The tranquil pocket of forest that is Marquam Nature Park offers no spectacular views (though it does connect to the Council Crest Hike), offering a peaceful wooded walk instead.

Mount Tabor: Portland’s most popular extinct volcano, Mount Tabor Park is 190 acres of paved and dirt trails, popular among locals and tourists alike for its spectacular views, grassy meadows, playgrounds and annual PDX Adult Soap Box Derby.

Powell Butte: Another of Portland’s extinct volcanoes, Powell Butte Nature Park contains some 612 acres of forested trails and high grasslands, with stunning views of all five visible mountains of the Cascade Range.

Sauvie Island: Known best for its pumpkin patches and beaches, Sauvi e Island is also home to several good hiking spots through wildlife areas along inner-island lakes and the rolling Columbia River.

Tryon Creek: The 658-acre Tryon Creek S tate Park is a sprawling urban forest in Portland, offering 8 miles of hiking trails, 3.5 miles o f horse trails and a 3-mile paved c ycling trail — all perfect for families and local hikers.

Washington Park: The impressive Washington Park complex boasts more to do than any other park in Portland, containing the International Rose Test Garden, Ja panese Garden, Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, World Forestry Center and Portland Children’s Museum — not to mention paved and dirt trails throughout.

Learn more

Find longer stories and more information about these hikes by visiting the story online ( and clicking on the hike links.


Portland area Hiking trails — without cars

You don’t need a car to go hiking around Portland.

Thanks to the region’s robust public transit system, it’s totally possible to spend every weekend in the woods without even getting a driver’s license. For $4 a day, a Skamania County bus takes you by nine trailheads throughout the Columbia Gorge. Or, for just $2.50, MAX will drop you in Forest Park, dubbed the “nation’s largest urban woodland,” by Backpacker magazine.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

With bewildering timetables and complicated routes, public transit can pose logistical challenges. Know your limits—not just on the trails, but also whether you’re comfortable transferring at remote stops when your cellphone’s dead. Here are our picks for the best trails available by public transit in the greater Portland area.

1. Gillette Lake 5.8 miles

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. From Fisher’s Landing, take the West End Transit bus east to the Gorge. Get off at Bonneville Dam. WET also is cash only, and also requires exact change. It costs $4 for the day. For more information about the WET bus, go to
Rural Skamania County, which lies along the Columbia River north of I-84, has a bus that runs from Vancouver along Highway 14 to the town of Carson. The weekday bus mostly takes seniors to the doctor. On weekends from May to October, however, it offers more frequent stops at trailheads and travels as far east as Dog Mountain. The more outdoorsy weekend bus is still mostly people going grocery shopping or getting their hair cut, so don’t expect the driver to point out the local fauna and extol the virtues of each hike. Also, be sure to alert him where you want to get off and where you want to be retrieved later in the day. Feel free to request a roadside pickup even if it’s not an official stop.

This rural bus opens up several Gorge trails to the car-less—Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, Dog Mountain. For views, a lake and the option to decide en route when you want to turn around, try the Bonneville Dam trailhead to the Pacific Crest Trail. From the parking lot, start out on the gravel road that soon turns upward onto the Tamanous Trail. About a half mile into your wooded climb, you reach a junction with the PCT. Turn left. A little more than 2 miles down the trail is Gillette Lake. It’s stocked with golden trout and perfect for a lunch break. If you want more time in the woods, push onward another mile and a half to Greenleaf Overlook for a panoramic view of the Gorge. Feeling super-gonzo? Veer upward onto West Table Mountain Trail for a 15.8-mile round trip adventure.

When you’re on the bus, the day doesn’t end when you limp into the parking lot. On the ride back, there’s an hour-and-a-half layover in Stevenson. For decent pizza, check out Andrew’s, just across the street from where the bus drops you. Also, about two blocks behind Andrew’s is Skamania County’s finest brewery, Walking Man Brewing, which has sausages on the grill out back.

2. Council Crest 3.3 miles

Get there: This is a walk from downtown Portland. Head south on Broadway and turn right at Southwest 6th Avenue. This will turn into Terwilliger Boulevard and then Sam Jackson Park Road. From here you can see the Marquam Nature Park Shelter at the trailhead.

There’s a wild gem hidden a mere mile from the Southwest 5th Avenue bus mall. Follow signs to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland, up the rocky, densely wooded Marquam Trail. At times, you are so deep in the forest that it’s easy to forget about the city. At other times, you cross busy streets or travel past rows of large houses. It’s impossible to get lost: Just keep going up. When you emerge at Council Crest, there’s a view of five Cascade Range mountains.

3. Pittock Mansion Loop 4.8 miles

Get there: Take the MAX Blue or Red Line to the Oregon Zoo. Walk up the hill to the uppermost parking lot and take a left onto Wildwood Trail. To get back from Pittock Mansion, head downhill on Northwest Pittock Drive. In a half-mile, take a left onto Northwest Barnes Road. In a couple hundred feet, you’ll see West Burnside Street. The No. 20 bus picks you up here.

If somebody made a theme-park ride of Portland, it would probably look a lot like this hike. You see everything: zoo kids, bubbling creeks, Portland’s famous mansion, posh houses nestled among the trees, the cocktail-slurping yuppies of Northwest 23rd Avenue. Start on Wildwood Trail at the zoo and stay on it for the rest of the hike. You pass an archery range, cross rough-hewn bridges and sprint across Burnside when the traffic ebbs for a moment. The last mile or so is brutally steep, but when you crest the hill, you’re at Pittock Mansion, where you have awesome views of the whole city. On Burnside at the bottom of the hill, board the No. 20 bus and get off at 23rd for some people-watching and sushi.

4. Linnton Loop 5.2 miles

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 16 toward St. Helens and get off at stop 5355 in Linnton, where the bench has a flat, silver bus art piece for a back rest. For directions on the hike (it’s a complex loop), check out the Linnton Loop Hike on

Hardly anyone ventures into these northern reaches of Forest Park, but you’ll be glad you did. Climb Firelane 10 with the whistles of freight trains echoing in the background. Take a left onto Wildwood Trail and listen for bird calls as you gently rise and fall, crossing streams in many of the gullies. Finally, descend through the dappled light of Waterline Road and Firelane 9. Note: The turn from Wildwood to Waterline is unmarked—the sign seems to have fallen down. End up on residential Northwest Wilark Avenue and follow it downhill to its dead end, where you find a stairway that leads back to the trailhead. Come August, this stairway may be the best place around for blackberry picking.

5. Tryon Creek State Park

Get there: Take TriMet bus No. 39 to Lewis & Clark Law School. Behind the school, pick up the Lewis and Clark Trail, which leads you into the park.

When the temperature spikes into triple digits, this is where you want to be. Well-marked trails lead you through the shade, and little wooden bridges crisscross the cool creek.

6. Lacamas Park    https://Lackamas Lake Park

Get there: From Portland, go to Fisher’s Landing Transit Center by taking C-Tran No. 164 from Southwest 6th Avenue and Market Street or C-Tran No. 65 from Parkrose Transit Center. Unless you have a pass, C-Tran is cash-only, so bring exact change. A day pass for most C-Trans is $5, but on the express lines numbered 99 and up, like the No. 164, a day pass is $7.50. Take C-Tran No. 92 from Fisher’s Landing to stop 2314 at Northeast 3rd and East 1st avenues in Camas. In front of you is a parking lot and an information board where you can plan your hike.

It’s like Clark County’s version of Forest Park. And good job, Camas, it’s almost as cool. Recent signs from two Eagle Scout service projects make the park’s 6-plus miles of wooded trails easily navigable. Round Lake and the Camas Potholes make overheating impossible. This is the best outdoor swimming hole you can get to by public transit. If you want a longer hike, connect to the Lacamas Heritage Trail, which runs along Lacamas Lake for 3.5 miles.

Looking for even more? Try the 4T, is a pre-packaged urban adventure that brings you all over the city. Walk the trail from Oregon Zoo to OHSU, ride the tram down the hill, take the streetcar downtown, and then ride the Max back to the zoo to complete the loop. Interpretive signs mark the 4T’s at every moment of decision, so you can’t get lost.

Speed up wifi

Make your wireless Internet go faster and reach farther.

Dropped connections, an ever-spinning update wheel, slow-loading webpages—these fist-clenching symptoms of shoddy Wi-Fi connections make wireless browsing feel like the dial-up days.

But there are easy ways to boost your home’s Internet speed, says Ben Miller, a Wi-Fi consultant and blogger with Sniff Wi-Fi. “One of my favorite things to do when I’m at a friend’s house is fix their Wi-Fi,” he says.

Here are six of his favorite fixes.

1. Upgrade Your Aging Router

Not everyone is willing to throw money at this problem, but many people should. Router technology has come a long way in recent years. Getting a new one could improve many situations, especially for people who stick with the gear offered by Internet service providers.

One router that Miller recommends is the Google OnHub. “It uses an adaptive antenna technology that can really boost range and signal strength in the areas where you already had coverage,” he says.

Specifically, Miller likes how OnHub’s adaptive antennas use a 60-degree beam to send data in the direction of whatever device you’re on instead of a 360-degree, omni-directional beam. This means even with single family homes, your Wi-Fi could better reach longer distances, like to an outside deck or into the yard.

2. Figure Out Your Frequency

Newer Wi-Fi routers can broadcast in two different frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Figuring out the best one for your situation can dramatically improve your network’s reach and reliability.

In general, the lower the frequency, the more powerful the signal is. “If you have walls, a refrigerator or a major obstruction between the router and the device you’re trying to use, then 2.4 Ghz tends to be very good,” says Miller.

But the 5 GHz signal has a higher bandwidth, which means it delivers data faster than the 2.4 Ghz band. The 5Ghz band also has more channels available. “If you have neighbors, there’s a higher likelihood that your router will find a channel that your neighbors aren’t using,” says Miller.

Some routers, like the Apple Airport Extreme, have a “dual band” mode, which means they broadcast both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz simultaneously. One reason this might be a good idea is if you have Wi-Fi-connected smart home devices—many of those only accept 2.4 Ghz signals.

3. Surf the Channels

Just like in the old days when one neighbor’s cordless phone conversation got tangled up with another’s, Wi-Fi signals can also interfere with nearby networks. To get around this, your router needs to switch the channel on which it’s broadcasting. Most will do that automatically. But programming your channels manually may be a better idea, particularly if you’re having trouble connecting in a particular spot in your home, says Miller.

“If you have a problem area—which typically are the areas that are further away from the wireless router—I go to the problem area, turn on the Airport Utility and look to see if there’s an open channel or a channel that’s less populated by neighbors,” he says. Then he will override the router’s automatic channel selection in order to choose a channel that gets less interference in that spot.

Airport Utility is the Mac OS and iOS program for programming your router. On Windows, Miller recommends running a Wi-Fi scan using the free Acrylic Wi-Fi app. If you’re using an Android device, he suggests using Wi-Fi Analyzer by Farproc.

4. Lower the RTS Threshold

There’s another way to minimize the interference your Wi-Fi network may encounter as it zips around your home. Some routers have an RTS (request-to-send) setting that users can modify. According to Miller, the RTS setting is designed to mitigate issues with multiple access points on the same channel, which can happen in residential settings like apartment buildings and dense neighborhoods.

“If you lower that setting to whatever your wireless setting supports, a lower RTS threshold will help you out in areas where you have neighbors,” says Miller. So, if there is an RTS field on your router’s setup software, try to set it to zero. If that doesn’t work, start counting up until it works.

5. Use the Toughest Encryption (or None at All)

For security’s sake, it’s always wise to password protect your wireless network. When setting it up, there are multiple security options to choose from, but as it pertains to your network’s performance, there’s only one: WPA2 security.

According to Miller, WPA2 uses an advanced encryption standard (AES) that’s only available on the fastest wireless internet networks (802.11n and 802.11ac). If you choose to turn off AES or use a different encryption method, it reverts your whole Wi-Fi network to the old 802.11g or 802.11a standards.

“That’s a big one,” says Miller. “It’s relatively common, especially among service providers who have their field technicians set up your Wi-Fi for you.”

6. Stretch Your Network With Powerline

Sometimes problems with a home Wi-Fi network has nothing to do with the network and everything to do with the home—it’s too big. In that case, says Miller, the best option is to use a Powerline to extend your wireless network’s range.

A powerline is a device that runs your data through your home’s electrical wiring. You simply plug one powerline into an electrical outlet and connect it to a nearby Internet modem or router via ethernet cable. Then plug another powerline into an electrical outlet in an area of your home where the Wi-Fi signal is poor. You’ll also need to connect that powerline to another Wi-Fi router via ethernet cable. The result should be two strong networks blanketing your home in Internet.

But powerlines can be finicky to use, depending on the quality of the electrical wiring in your home (among other variables). To that end, Miller has sage advice. “Buy powerline adapters that allow you to return them,” he says.