The desktop computer in the living room wasn’t connecting to the Internet. Kathleen was home for a few days from her summer job, had left her laptop at camp and was kind of lost without a connection to FB and whatever else she uses on the Internet. Dad sprung into action!
We’re not wireless everywhere yet. I like to keep the desktops wired for security, although all of our laptops are wireless. James uses his laptop in his room and, to start my troubleshooting, I asked him if he was connected ‘wire or wireless’. He says he told me ‘neither’ but I heard wired. Since he was wired and he seemed to be on the Internet, I assumed that the problem was the computer itself. Reboot a couple of times, no go. ‘IPCONFIG’ at the command/dos prompt, no go. Typing the router IP address into a browser, no go. Must be the network card.
I have a couple of spare computers so I lugged one upstairs and was all ready to fire it up but I realized the it only had digital out for the video. When I went to get an VGA/digital adapter, I passed my desktop and decided to see if it was online. No go for it either. My son was at work then so I didn’t have a chance to ‘talk’ to him about his mumbling and I headed off to the network mess in my workroom. All of those desktops are fed from a switch in my incredibly messy workroom. The switch was alive but had orange lights across the bottom row of LEDs. Turned out that these were fine, thanks to checking the specs on my laptop which was still on the Internet.
Hmmmm. That switch is fed by another switch in the laundry room. It took a few stops and starts of the power bar to figure out that this other switch, that I got for a dollar at a thrift store, had given up the ghost after three years of hard work. God, you can’t get good stuff for a buck anymore!
The troubled switch had 8 ports, the good switch had 5 and the router itself had 4. Somehow I had to rewire everything to bypass the big, dead switch. I had 5 computers to feed and I desperately needed to sort out the wiring mess.
Half an hour later, all network cables were disconnected and piled in a heap. I had 5 good 50 foot cables and I spent a lot of time sorting them out into neat rows across the basement. Hey, why not label them so I know which cable is which? Good idea, Brian. Masking tape and a Sharpie did the job, lickety scoot. What a genius I thought I was!
Now to get the bundle of wires over the center hallway from the laundry room into the workroom. More masking tape. Wind, wind. Oooops! I had two ends of one cable taped together with the single ends from four cables. Unwind, unwind, get the right ends, rewind, rewind the tape.
I had to take a ceiling tile down in the downstairs washroom for access to the space between the joists. Dust and crap falls down on my head. I can see the workroom through the joist space so I get a long piece of molding, tape the ends of the cables to it and pass the whole thing through the gap. Then I race around to the workroom and tug the molding and attached cables through.
Happy as a pig in poop, I unwind the tape off of the piece of molding and unwind the tape that holds the cables together. I didn’t see that the tape I was taking off of the cables was stuck to the tape that had the cable names on each piece! All of my genius was lost at that point. Thankfully two cables were still named and I was able to identify the ends of the others because the connectors were different. No big deal. I had a big laugh about it, though.
Next step was to pass the bulk of the cable through the joist space so that only a bit was in the workroom, just enough to connect to the router/switch combination. Tug , tug, suddenly it was easy. Suddenly ALL OF THE CABLE was in the workroom. I had pulled it all through. Second big laugh of the day at my stupidity.
Out comes the piece of molding again and the rest of the day went well. I have a definite talent at making simple things very complicated. I figure that if there are two ways to do something, I will always do it the wrong way first. Trust me on that!