Posts Tagged ‘Wireless Modem’

bell-unplugged-error

So, i was online reading an article the other night and was disconnected a few times in the middle of it.  Didn’t think anything of it at the time, until the next day when i got home and tried to connect to the internet and it was not cooperating at all.  My first thought was “we had a power outage this afternoon, must need resetting”.  Simple enough, unplug the Apple Time Capsule (TC) and plug it back in.  Nope.  Flashing amber light on the front of the TC.  hmmmm…  So i checked my Airport Utility to see what was up.  it seemed to be working fine, but no external i.p. address.  I was all ready to blame the faulty TC as you may remember this is my second one already, but i thought at first i would reset it again and then revert to factory default settings and then re-input all my settings, but none of that worked.

As you may guess, i was pretty annoyed, but then decided to check a little further and restart the modem to ensure i could connect directly to the WWW with that before drop kicking my TC out the door.  Glad i did, because it turned out that the wireless modem i have was not functioning properly.  I would unplug it and as soon as i plugged it back instead of acquiring an I.P. address and connecting to my ISP it would just flash all five lights and stay solid lit.  Damn.  That is not a good sign.  A call to my ISP eventually confirmed what i thought.  I had a faulty modem.   They were pretty good about it and said they would rush one out to me.  I asked what they considered rush and was told 3 or 4 days.  Yikes.  3 or 4 days unconnected?  fetal position here i come.  As it turned out it wasn’t so bad, thankfully there is always internet at my office and i have my iphone which is fine for staying connected so i managed.  As it turned out, it was only 2 days and i had a new shiny modem waiting for me at home.   I quickly swapped out the old one for the new one and powered it up, hoping for a seamless transition, but alas that was not to be.

I got an error similar to the one at the top of the post asking me to sign up for the service which i thought was strange since i already had an account so i called technical support again and sure enough they said i shouldn’t be getting that message (always love that response, its like they don’t believe you) and didn’t need to sign up again.  At first i was told there was system trouble at the time and i should wait and it would be fixed shortly.  “Try connecting again in an hour”.  That didn’t work so i waited two hours.  Nope. Nada.  After 3 hours i called them back and went through the whole explanation again.  This time i was told there was an erro with the modem serial number and they were fixing it.  “Should be working by morning”.  I figured, its late, been on the phone for about 2 hours total tonight, time to call it quits, so i thanked the tech support person and hung up.

The next morning, i was up with the birds (chickens being noisy outside the window actually) and decided to see if we did in fact have internet again.  Nope.  I called my ISP again and got into the whole situation, explained everything done to date, etc but didn’t have time to wait for them to discuss the issue with their supervisor because i had to get to work.  I called back later on and talked to yet another person, and eventually stumbled upon the fact that it may not just be the serial number on file that was incorrect but the MAC (Media Access Control) number as well.  Argh.  I had expected them to confirm this kind of info if it was a potential problem since they had confirmed the serial number umpteen times.  I went home and checked the MAC number they had on file for the new modem, and the one on the bottom of the actual modem and sure enough they did not match. Pretty sure i knew what the problem was, i called tech support one more time, and let them know of the issue as i understood it. Sure enough i was right, the incorrect MAC number was tied to the serial number of the new modem. i gave them the proper number and expecting to be told i would need to wait while it propagated through the systems i was surprised when the tech told me to turn off the modem for 10 seconds and it should be working. So, i have to wonder if their standard comment about everything taking a few hours to start working is a load of whooey? Is that just the pat answer when they are not sure what they are doing to buy them some time?

As it happened, i was cut off while checking the internet was working properly, and much to my surprise tech support called me back to make sure it was all working properly. Will wonders never cease? It was working fine and i had figured i’d never get through to the same person i was talking to, which is one of the troubles with call centres – you never get the same person and end up spending more time explaining yourself over and over each time you call in more than anything else – so it was a pleasant surprise to have someone take the time to follow up and make sure i finally had a working connection to the “interweb”. 4 days and too many phone calls to remember, but it was refreshing to know there are still a few people who actually want to do their jobs, and serve the customers. What a novel idea for someone in the customer service field. Who knows, maybe talk of this event may filter through the ranks and other people will try it too.

tcg

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This is the third entry about my ongoing experiences with my wireless modem, and should be the last, since it looks like I’m getting a good steady signal now without all the intermittent dropouts i have been experiencing.

I did a little thinking and a little investigating and determined that changing the antenna on my wireless router may be the best way to increase the signal strength into my house from my barn, which if you have been following along is where my wireless modem is located. It came to me that if I could direct the signal towards the house instead of letting it emanate equally in all directions, I may get a better and more constant signal. So after a little online searching (which was frustrating with my flaky wireless signal) I determined that a d-link uni-directional antenna to match my d-link router should work, and was a relatively inexpensive experiment if it failed. So I headed to the nearest big box retailer that had one in stock, bought it, brought it home and replaced the standard antennae with it. I aimed it as best I could towards the middle of the wall closest to the house and adjusted the angle slightly and anxiously went back into the house to see what kind f signal strength and noise I was now getting.

Strangely the signal strength did not seem much better and increase of about 10%, but it was definitely consistent and spread throughout the house better than with the stock antenna I had before. I can now sit in most rooms in the house and be connected, whereas before i had to find a sweet spot in the house and try not to move at all and hope no clouds or gusts of wind or even rain got in the way of my touchy connection.

So in summing it all up – you can get a good signal from a neighbouring building as long as you have patience and a good antenna on your router.
TCG

 

So, i’ve been living with the wireless modem for about a month now, and it’s been mostly a pain in the keister.
The wireless modem is getting it’s signal from the cel-phone towers put up by Inukshuk, which according to info i have read is now a group effort by Bell and Rogers to provide high speed internet to people who can’t get it through the phone lines or through cable, people like me for instance. There are a couple of different “flavours” of the service available depending on who your provider is and how much you want to pay,even though the actual service is from the same place. From their web site,…
“ The Inukshuk Wireless broadband network is currently available in 20 centres across Canada. Built in conjunction with Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, the Inukshuk Wireless network is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
”…
That being said, finding a spot in our house that consistently had a good steady signal proved to be impossible. I would get a signal, but it would be weak, maybe two lights out of the possible five, but even at that it would be intermittent at best, and quite often drop off to one light or even no lights and start searching for a signal again. Not fun if you are browsing the web or checking your email, or worse yet – in the middle of a download.

So, without boring you with all the trials and tribulations of my wandering around the house day after day (no, not constantly, just for a few minutes a day, but every day) looking for a hot spot, i eventually decided I should try in the garage/barn to get a signal. A little back-story is necessary here I think….

I have a barn on my property that was converted into a loft upstairs and a garage downstairs. When I first got the wireless modem, i tried it out upstairs in the loft and got a great signal. The trouble is, I don’t want to go out to the barn every time i want to be connected to the “interweb”. I tried hooking up the modem to my wireless router and did not get a reliable signal in the house, so i gave up on that idea and tried to deal with having a somewhat reliable signal in the house instead, thinking that the router was just not sending a strong enough signal to the house – i wonder if my neighbours were enjoying the free internet though?!?! …hmmm…, anyway, back to the story at hand…
I wandered the barn knowing that i would get the best signal on the south side (one of my many conversations with bell over the past month, had told me that the towers were to the south of me) and found I could get a steady 3 lights with sometimes 4 lights in the upper southeast corner of the garage. So after a little “macgyvering” I got the modem up near the ceiling, and ran a 100 ft ethernet cable over to my wireless router near the front of the garage on the driveway closest to the house. Low and behold, I could get a good signal in the house, mostly near windows or in direct line of site of the router. After a bunch more testing I found out it did not matter if the router was outside or in the garage near a window, the signal strength was the same in the house, so I have permanently mounted the router near a window in the garage closest to the house and have relatively good signal strength within my house since then.
Finally, I have highspeed. And the speed is relatively good as you can see from the benchmark. I got the 1.5meg service and am getting close to that on average now, so it would seem I am finally connected to the world again. As Joni Mitchell (BTW, thanks for the correction timbit) sang many years ago,

“that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”.
I didn’t realize how much I relied on my highspeed until I was forced to live without it.
TCG