Sunday, 3 July 2011

Back in the world

We lost our home internet connection on Thursday night; it's happened 3 or 4 times recently, and I just thought it was middle of the night work at the local phone exchange. It's always come back after some hours, but this time it didn't. So we've been using my Viewpad 7" tablet as a 3G network access point - 500GB in 3 days, because I foolishly downloaded some course backup files that I'll be using on Monday.

Anyhoo - I called TelstraClear's helpdesk this morning, and got straight through to a very capable Indian-accented guy, who verified that the line's ADSL connection wasn't working. The trouble is that he didn't know which end of the line had the problem. And if I call out a technician and he finds it's our problem, it will cost us a $200 fee. That acted as a pretty good incentive to test my end first.

He gave me the steps for testing the components in the chain, so armed with modem/router and power supply plus a phone cable, I tested each outlet, filter, and cable - still no ADSL light. Then we found our landlady Leanne's router and plugged it in - the ADSL light came on right away - bingo! It was our faulty modem-router, so we'll need a replacement. I've never liked D-Link gear anyway, their 56K modems used to be cranky too.

Off to Dick Smiths, where all the routers are now N-band Wifi and ADSL2/2+ compatible, costing around $170. Then I spotted one at $114, a unit that was intact and working fine, but the packaging had been opened then returned. Fair enough, I don't mind saving $50! So now we have a budget-priced Linksys (Cisco) router, looking like a black ashtray. We also have a new network SSID and password, and we have to re-authenticate phones, laptops (Mac and Linux), Android tablet, etc. How do non-IT people manage all this?

So we're back in the world - but is it the real world, or just cyberspace? Wherever we are, it was a pain being off the air. Let's hope this new unit lasts longer than the 6 months we got from the D-Link.

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