Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Arriba! Arriba! Andale! Andale! YEEHAH!

I was originally going to call this entry, "Wireless my ass..." but discretion got the better of me. I figured I'd get too many unwanted hits if I called it that.

Now that I have got that off my chest, I want to state that I have sucessfully installed DSL at home and now I understand what all the fuss has been about. Speed rules and dial-up sucks.

For some reason, I had never ventured into high-speed Internet at home. I've always had it at work. Sure, dial up seemed painfully slow, but I don't spend that much time surfing at home and dial-up was pretty simple to master. And as I've mention many times, I don't deal well with change.

But snce we have moved into a new house, it seemed like the right time to ratchet my Internet connection up a notch. I despise cable companies, so I decided to go DSL. I did my research and discovered that my existing ISP could provide it through Verizon. I don't profess to understand it, but essentially DSL uses telephone lines to provide broadband Internet access and you keep your phone line open.

It seems simple enough, but I've been around long enough to know that anything high tech doesn't happen simply. But with DSL, I was wrong. I ordered it, they sent me a modem, I plugged it in and it worked. I click on Internet Explorer and it pops open with all of the bells and whistles in seconds, not minutes. I open my e-mail and receive me messages immediately. It even seems faster than the connection I have at work.

One catch: I needed to provide Tess with DSL, too and her computer is in another room. So I was forced to venture into the geek world of home networking. Again I did research and waded through all of those terms I've heard IT people banter about for years: routers, hubs, PCL cards and USB adaptors. And despite my adventure with surroundsound with wireless rear speakers, I decide to set up a wireless network to share DSL between our two computers.

I hoped this would be as simple as connecting the DSL. On the surface it seemed as though it should. I bought the router. I bought a USB wireless adaptor. The theory is that the DSL modem plugs into the router. The router plugs into your computer. The wireless adaptor plugs into the computer you want to network with. You turn them all on and boom, you should share DSL and the world is one big, happy place.

I discovered that the DSL gods were simply toying with me when the DSL modem worked when it was simply plugged into my computer's humble Ethernet port. I swear I followed all of the directions (which with today's plug and play tendencies, even a Monkey Playing Cymbals could follow them). I popped in the install CD with the "Wizard" to walk be through the installation. I plugged in the proper cables to the proper sockets and followed all of the mindnumbingly basic instructions. All of the right green lights came on the modem and router. But apparently, the router was feeling selfish about sharing the Internet connection. No matter how many times I rebooted and turned the modem and router on and off, I was unable to access my DSL unless it was directly connected to my computer.

I don't claim to be an electronic genius. I don't claim to understand why or how a wireless network works (or doesn't work). But am probably a tad more savy about technology than the average consumer. There has got to be a better way to make one computer talk to another in the other room without calling in a Geek-for-hire, which is likely what I'll end up doing.

Is it wrong of me to just want things to work. I just want to turn on the computer and surf the net and I just want Tess to be able to turn on her computer at the same time and connect to the Internet.

So I guess this is a cry for help to my nephew R who I'm sure understands all of the technology and speaks the language. Please R. I know I shoved your face into a piece of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving when you were 10 years old or so. But it was done with the love of a an uncle who wanted to prepare you for the cruel world out there. Please tell me how to make my Linksys Router work.


Lights in the wake said...

People have been urging me to get high speed internet for some time now. So far I have resisted. Mostly because I don't know the difference, I suppose. I guess I'll get it eventually but it's not high on my list. Good luck with Tess' connection.

Tim ID said...

Come on Lights, try it. You don't have to inhale. If you use a high-speed connection to the Web, you'll see the difference. It's like watching those nature channels in HD versus black and white analog.

Trust me. I work for a government agency.

R. said...

It's not wrong of you to want things to just work.

In order for that to happen you need a monopoly making both hardware and software and setting standards. Unfortunately you end up with crappy hardware and software anyway because the monopoly doesn't have any competition and thus no impetus to provide a quality product to sell. Catch 22.