Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Internet Troubles: Switching Internet Providers

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Before you read this message, it may be beneficial to review a few things about modems > routers > range expanders > wireless adapters > personal computers.

A MODEM is a box that SBC- ATT, or Comcast provides to customers for internet service. This device allows customers to access the internet with an ethernet cable OR via a wireless network. If you have a wireless network, you need a ROUTER The router is connected to the modem using an ethernet cable. The routher sends a signal from your modem to your personal computer which enables your pc to connect to the internet. This setup is call a WIRELESS NETWORK. Your pc must have a WIRELESS ADAPTER to receive the signal sent from the router. If your pc is in another part of the house, you may need a RANGE EXPANDER to strengthen the wireless signal. In our case, the modem is located upstairs next to Johnny’s big screen TV. Since I am on a lower floor, I need to receive a strong signal for my work. I use a range expander to enhance the signal from the router to my pc. Our network is SECURE which means other people cannot connect to our wireless network because they don’t have our password. It is critical for wireless networks to be secure, if not, then outside people can access to your pc and get critical information (credit card, bank account info, etc.).

When I first moved here, Larry Shore was using a cheap off-brand router The signal was weak to non-existent, and there was no product support. I bought a Linksys router ($79) and hooked it up to Johnny’s SBC modem. This router gave everyone at 1095 West Cal a secure network to go online from almost any location in the house. As with any wireless service, routine maintenance has to be performed because [stuff] happens which causes the wireless connection to go offline. Anything from temporary power outages to power surges cause problems. The most common way to resolve a connectivity issue is to power down all equipment (router, modem, range expander, network adapter, camera, and pc) and then repower them in a certain order. The LAST THING you want to do is press the reset button on the router because then you have to reconfigure the entire wireless network system which can take up to three hours. Linksys (a Cisco company) has one of the best support teams in the world, and they offer excellent service in handling wireless network problems. However, it’s still a royal pain in the butt when you have to do the wireless network setup thing. For the past eighteen months, I have maintained the wireless network at 1095 West Cal.

Sunday a week ago, Lincoln could not go online. I was not here, so Lincoln goes upstairs to Johnny’s place (while Johnny is there) and tries to fix things. The first thing Lincoln did was to press the reset button on the router which was a huge mistake. I don’t know what happened after that because I wasn’t there, but I do know Johnny tried to tell Lincoln that Mike Lee knew how the wireless network was setup. Apparently, Lincoln wanted to fix it himself. Lincoln called SBC, and they told him how to reconfigure a wireless network … the SBC way. When I came in early Monday morning, I noticed the “westcal” wireless network had been deleted. The first thing I did was run a search for any available unsecure networks, and I found Lincoln’s network. I easily circumvented his password and signed on. I found a couple of problems … it was not secure … it was frequently going offline …and my Linksys range expander and camera no longer worked. Later that day, I went up to Johnny’s place to ask him if anyone had changed the wireless network. He said on Sunday Lincoln came upstairs in a tizzy about not being able to go online. After talking with Johnny and finding out what happened, I decided to pull my Linksys router and not fool around with the maintence hassle any more. Lincoln could buy his own equipment and do whatever he wanted to do because I would no longer be affected by his actions. I also requested a direct connection to Johnny’s modem. One of Johnny’s friends had recently switched form SBC to Comcast and apparently got a good deal on DSL. After discussing the matter, Johnny and I agreed to have direct non-wireless connections in Johnny’s, Lincoln’s, and my room. Initially, Johnny said there was going to be a $150 installation fee. Then later he changed it and said there would be no installation charges. We agreed to split the Comcast bill each month between the three of us which was going to be be $19.99 per month for the first six months, then it would increase to $39.99 thereafter. I advised Lincoln of the changes, and he agreed to leave his door unlocked, so the Comcast installers could enter his room on Saturday morning. Since Johnny was going to be busy on Saturday, Johnny asked me to meet the Comcast installers.

When I got up early Saturday morning, I found that Lincoln’s door was locked, so I had no way of letting the installers come into his room. Later on when installers finally arrived, they put splitters on the coax cable, reconnected the modem and the big screen tv, and tested their installation. Then to my surprise they loaded up their equipment and started to leave. I asked them about the DSL direct connection for my room, and the installers told me they could not install service to my room because Johnny had not made the request. The installers said I would have to wait two weeks for them to come back, and I would have to pay an installation fee plus $40 each month. I told them I would stay wireless for the time being

After the Comcast installers finished their work and left, I spent three hours with Linksys tech support doing the network thing. We now have a secure wireless network at 1095 West Cal, and the name of this network is “westcal”. Johnny can go online with a wireless or direct connection, and my equipment now works fine. Anyone in this house, including Lincoln, should be able to connect to the internet and have a secure connection. I gave Johnny the Linksys tech info, so in the future he should be able to repair the “westcal” wireless network if I’m not here.