Travails of an internet-bound nerd

Linksys BEFW11S4 Router Sitting on a Cable Modem

Typical router like my old one

OK, I confess. I’ve been called worse. But with the law and “judge stuff” being increasingly and ever-present in the “cloud” (which is the new reference to everything being hosted on and stored within “the web”), it can’t be avoided. Legal research, court calendars and emails, instant messaging to the office when in a remote county or at a conference, and more, makes a good internet connection essential.  Add to that the ability and desire to be a bit “green” and work from home when not hearing cases and that connection is essential. And thus began the week.My home connection (through Northland Cable) had become a bit erratic and over the weekend became worse. So I put in a trouble call and headed to court. Finished with the dockets early afternoon and headed home to discover that Larry, the cable guy (not kidding) had been there to fix the connection and boy was I happy because I had “stuff” to do — that’s a technical judicial term, you see. That’s when it got interesting. Here’s a recap of the whole business for your entertainment, if it does, your education about some of the technology if you care, and kudos to Northland for getting it handled, including the parts of the problem introduced by me:

  • First Larry changed the cable modem (Monday) after seeing from the NCTV monitoring that the signal was dropping a lot.
  • Turns out the modem was probably ok, and later when the connection failed he came back out while it was failing and traced it to a corroded connection on a nearby pole from which my connection feeds. Corrosion and electrical stuff is a bad thing. He fixes. Got a great signal then.
  • Discovered (after 5pm Monday — damn that Murphy!) that I could not connect to the internet via my router, but had a smokin’ connection if connect directly to the modem. That’s a problem because my home-office computer is NOT the one next to the cable modem.
  • Tuesday, Denise comes out and she/we fiddle with things. She gets it going. Router is routing and the internet is here!
  • Discovered it was not, however, getting the assigned static IP address and I could not coax it to do so.
  • She eventually escalated it to Level 2 support who called me right away, and discovered that the static IP had been disabled on their end. Got it re-enabled and all was good. Denise and the Level 2 guy (Joseph) are my new best friends.
  • All is well. Time to get back to work. Lots of research to do via the internet. But in the meanwhile …
  • The wireless signal to my computer upstairs has been slow so I go to Office Depot and pick up a D-Link “N” type wireless router. These supposedly have better range. I get it configured in the LAN. Not a big deal as I’m pretty familiar with such things. Only takes about 15 minutes.
  • Call tech support and they get the IP assigned to that new router’s mac address.
  • Then I discovered the wireless side of that router is flaky — intermittently shuts off. Not good. Cuss D-Link and the mothers of all their executives.
  • Call Level 2 tech support back and get the IP assigned back to the old router. All works again.
  • After Toastmasters, I have returned the D-Link and picked up a Cisco-Linksys E1000,

    Linksys E1000 - the one that works

    get it configured in the LAN. Much easier and quicker than the D-Link.

  • Call tech support, apologize profusely for the multiple calls, and offer to send chocolate chip cookies. “Nancy” is very gracious about it and we promise to exchange Christmas cards. She assigns the IP to the new, new router. Voila` the static IP address miraculously appears.
  • All is well. The modem connects. The wireless signals, and the router routes.

Now to return to my regularly scheduled whatever it was I thought I was supposed to be doing ….

p.s. End results

Line quality test from www.dslreports.com

Line monitoring from dslreports.com

Line monitoring including earlier down times

They ping from both East coast and West coast. Green is good, measuring response time in milliseconds. Blue is bad, showing down times (where it flatlines at 100% loss) and just bad times of high loss.

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About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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One Response to Travails of an internet-bound nerd

  1. donbynum says:

    I spent too many years being the guy everyone called with techy issues and have set upon a program of willful ignorance and reliance (there is some revenge in this?) on the knowledge and resources of my two sons who, as the cycle of life would dictate, have become “the guy” everyone calls in their respective sheres. Even my cousins and aunts and uncles now know to contact them directly.

    It is troubling that D-Link would ship a product that was even marginal. It is not as if they could not test this stuff.

    Now if I can get my circle of friends to fingure out all the tech stuff I have been adding to my bike. Of course you, Da Judge, have been a great source of wisdom. Know anything about solar power and high intensity LED bike lighting? heh-heh.

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