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Disconnected

I am writing this mostly to brainstorm “out loud”, but also to pick your brains if anything jumps out at you. I’m a very logical person who likes to troubleshoot problems, though it certainly makes it harder to do that when I don’t know all the details and the technology is beyond me. I’m afraid that my complaining has frustrated Danny to that point where he no longer wants to look into the problem. Yeah, I’m good at that. :/ But, it makes me feel better to fully think through every problem and leave no stone unturned.

So, in short, the problem is that the internet going to our entertainment center (Direct TV OnDemand and the Xbox 360) is no longer working well enough to be usable.

The details: The entertainment center is one floor up from the source of our internet. There is no way currently for it to be directly connected via cat5 cable. Wireless is not an option - we get too much fluctuation/interference and have explored all of the possible solutions to that. For the past year, we have used a solution that involved units that plug into power outlets and run the internet connection over the power circuit (I think it is called a powerline ethernet adapter?). While our connection has never been fast, I never once was booted offline and we could watch streaming NetFlix and get and OnDemand movie in about 15 minutes. Since last week, I cannot download movies and cannot stay connected in Rock Band on Xbox for more than a few minutes at a time. I had to give up on my “band practice” last night after disconnecting 4 times and failing us out of a Battle of the Bands.

The problems started the day Danny set up a new router (I think that is what he installed?), however I do not know if the two have anything to do with each other. When it became clear after a couple days that there was a problem, Danny spent some time with his laptop plugged in to the powerline internet connection doing testing that I couldn’t hope to understand. No progress was made. While his explanation was that the connection never was very good, I (being a non-technical person) am inclined to look more at the facts that I can comprehend: that the connection worked before and stopped working when something in our network changed.

And, so, all I can really do is think the problem through and try my best to think of the possible solutions:

The only “solution” I have the power to enact: Quit both of my online bands, stop playing online in Xbox Live and stop downloading OnDemand movies. Obviously not what I’d want to do. It would make me a sad puppy. But, it’s all *I* can do.

What I feel would be the most permanent solution: Hire someone to drop a cat5 cable from the first floor to the basement. The entertainment center is directly above our internet source. Danny had already made the holes in the wall on each floor but didn’t have the means to run the cable (again, I *think* that is why that project didn’t work out, but I’m not sure). If we could have a direct cable, I doubt we’d have any problems. All of our wired computers have excellent connections. A very long cat5 could be used to test this prior to running the cable through the wall.

What may or may not help: Looking into whether the new router is causing problems. This is way beyond my knowledge of networking, and for all I know Danny could have already looked into this.

That is all I can think of with my limited knowledge. I don’t know of any other way to get a solid connection up there. I didn’t even know that the powerline thing existed before Danny put that in. I hope that I don’t have to permanently stop going online on the Xbox. It has been a fun way to connect to long-distance friends and make new ones. But, for now I will just start sucking it up.

Update! Danny made another attempt to run a cable through the wall down to the router. I’ve been told to expect a larger hole in the wall, heh. Unfortunately, he was hitting concrete (perhaps the foundation of the side of the house?) He has another idea to try tomorrow. I’m excited to have a cable run, though. I think that will be our most reliable option. Especially since we can view streaming NetFlix through the Xbox now and need a strong connection.

Originally published in my journal, Stephanie's Thoughts. Leave me a comment!

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