Home networking woes

Sunday afternoon my home network went down.  The way it went down I assumed it was simply a hiccup in the service from our ISP.  After waiting a while I went to check on it and it was still down.  Obviously not a glitch.  Ugh.  I don’t have time for this!

I spent some time with it late Sunday night and determined the router had gone bad.  Odd?   Yes.  Unprecedented?  No.  I had a Linksys WRT54G go bad a few years ago.  What is odd is that the whole thing wasn’t dead, just one interface, albeit and important one, didn’t work.  When this happened a couple years ago I ended using the WRT54G as an extra access point (can’t have too many right?) and it has worked just fine in that capacity.

The WRT110 I replaced it with was behaving similarly.  I figured I’d pick up a replacement in the AM at Wal-Mart.  Unfortunately Wal-Mart didn’t have what I was looking for so I then went to Staples.  At Staples I was going to buy a Linksys E2000 Wireless-N router but it was $129 which seemed high to me.  I checked Best Buy on my iPhone and they had it on sale for $79 this week so I figured I could wait a while and ordered it over the web.

I should have stopped there.  But I didn’t.  When I got home I started thinking and for some reason, decided it couldn’t be the router.  One interface just doesn’t go bad and the rest of it work fine.  In my case, the router would not get an IP address via DHCP from the Cable Modem.  Everything else worked as it should.

I decided to pull the router out of the loop and connect my laptop directly to the Cable Modem.  A simple ipconfig /release followed by an ipconfig /renew didn’t work.  But a reboot did.  After rebooting my laptop I was on the Internet.  That helps me but not the rest of the house.  Back to the router.  I reset, I updated firmware, I tried a number of things.  None worked.  I called Earthlink (who at one point told me I wasn’t a home networking customer and would have to pay an additional $18 per month – uh, no, I don’t think so) and called Linksys.  Neither had any ideas.  I hindsight, think I got off track because the woman from Linksys I was speaking with assured me the router was working properly based on the information on the status page and the lights on the box.

I dug up the old router and tried it (I had forgotten why I replaced it) and it too didn’t work (as it shouldn’t have).  I was trying to take care of this while I was working and had to stop messing with it to attend a couple conference calls.  I had to go a meeting and left the house to deal with it later.

Later in the day I still hadn’t made it to Best Buy to pick up the router I purchased but happened to be passing by CompUSA.  I ended up buying a Linksys WRT160N for $35.  Seemed like a pretty low risk solution.  Took it home and plugged it in, change a couple settings, and ta-da, the Internet was working again!  There was much rejoicing from the rest of the family.

It really is amazing how dependent my family has become on the Internet, myself included.  Going without it or having limited access for 24 hours was a challenge.  Can’t imagine what we’ll do if the power goes out for a few days!  It’s been a while since we’ve had a hurricane or an ice storm to knock out the power, we must be due.