Thursday, 16 August 2007

A Tale of Two Routers

About four weeks ago now, Mr Knitbert set off for another stay in a luxurious hotel in Singapore, where he claims to be working. For the first week all was well chez Knitbert, I worked my way through the enormous backlog of washing up and washing which Mr Knitbert and DSoK had left behind, and in the evening I logged onto my trusty laptop, and sometimes I even did some knitting.

Then, one evening, I logged into my laptop and opened an Internet Explorer window, and it told me that the page could not be displayed and the most likely explanation was that I was not connected to the internet. The router does sometimes drop out, so I entered the router IP address intending to go to the router configuration page and reconnect. To my astonishment the browser could not access the router's own home page. I was bemused. How is such a thing possible? I checked the wireless networks available and our home network just was not there.

I took the laptop upstairs and spent a happy hour or two running hardware tests. Everything checked out OK but the router was just not visible to the laptop. Then I had the idea of turning on Mr Knitbert's computer, which is connected to the router by an Ethernet cable. This computer could see the router and told me that it was connected and indeed it could access the internet. Oh thank God! Only two hours with no internet connection and already I was in a cold sweat and having panic attacks. I was able to read my email and talk to my friends for a bit. Then I began to wonder again what was wrong. I ran hardware tests on the router. No apparent problem. I turned off the router and rebooted it. No change. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next evening, I tried the other laptop, and as it could not access the router either I knew that the problem must lie with the router. Or so I thought...
That evening I needed to do some internet banking which Mr Knitbert had been nagging me about over the phone from Singapore only a few days earlier. Now my internet bank has recently changed, and I had completely new details for logging in which I had only tried once. These details were safely stored on my laptop, but not on Mr Knitbert's computer. And I had shredded the letters from the bank. I tried connecting to the internet with my laptop again but there was nothing doing. So I decided to have a go at connecting it to the router with an Ethernet cable. Well. We have three cupboards full of assorted computer and video cables, and it turns out not one of them is an Ethernet cable. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next morning I got up early and phoned the bank to send Mr Knitbert his money. Overnight I had had a brilliant idea. That evening, I downloaded new firmware for the router! It was a bit scary, especially the bit where it said that the router would be disconnected from the internet and not to even breathe near it until it had compeltely rebooted. All went well, though, and I excitedly turned on the laptop. I had a different error message! Hooray! Well, no, in fact, I still could not connect, and now it told me that the network I was trying to connect to was hidden. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, so I reluctantly gave up and went to bed.

The next day I phoned Mr Knitbert and told him the whole story. He laughed and laughed.

Then he made a couple of suggestions for fixing it and authorised the purchase of a new router if those didn't help. When I got home, DSoK was back. He had his laptop out, and it was abandoned on his bedroom floor. He had also worked out that he could access the internet from Mr Knitbert's computer and was going through his emails. "What's the matter with the %$*&ing router?" he asked. I explained. "Have you tried downloading the latest firmware?" he suggested, in that irritating way people have when you have already tried everything. "Yes" I snarled.

I tried Mr Knitbert's suggestions and they didn't work, so I ordered a new router from an online supplier. Then I remembered that the virus checker and firewall for both laptops was on a subscription which had recently expired, and because of all the problems with the internet I had not got around to renewing it. I logged into my account and paid for the new subscriptions. A dreadful thought then began to cross my mind...could the lapsed subsriptions for the firewalls have anything to do with the connection problems? It seemed unlikely, and yet....
DSoK and I disabled and uninstalled the firewalls, and the laptops were still unable to connect to the internet. Phew! So that wasn't it then. DSoK and I had a Chinese takeaway and watched an episode of House. By now it was 1.00 in the morning and I had matchsticks propping my eyelids open, but I needed to get a route for my next day's trip to a friend's house for the weekend. Idly I opened my laptop and switched it on...and it connected instantly to the internet with no problems. I surfed for an hour and then went to bed.

The next morning at 9.30 a courier arrived with my new router. And since that moment my laptop and DSoK's have connected to the internet with no problem at all. Since I paid my Macafee subscription...
Spooky eh?

4 comments:

Queen of the froggers said...

Wierd! I know nothing about computers. Ours keeps just suddenly going off, husband thinks it is the power supply getting old. It scares me to think I may have no computer! :0

Fiona said...

Damn technology. I know nothing about puters - that's what I keep the BF around for. I'm more in the "duck with the hammer hitting any key" school of thinking.

Christina said...

Glad you got it sorted. I get my DH to sort stuff out too, or else I just switch it off, then on again and hope for the best ;)

miss mandy of flitwick said...

You are nominated for a rocking girl blogger award, it is on my blog somewhere