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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.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Giving up Rock Band & On-Demand movies is Not an Option!
My networking knowledge isn't much better than yours. But if I were in your situation, I'd have someone run a cat5 cable directly. Always the best solution as far as networks go. Got any friends you could barter payment for?

I don't know why Danny doesn't have the capability to do this. My SO (an ex-network geek) did it in our house. Our cable company installed the cable run for the modem by drilling a hole in the floor from the basement. My SO put in a splitter and ran it underneath into my mother's room via another hole in the floor.

Admittedly, dropping it down the wall is prettier than small holes in your floors. It just takes two people.

I hope you get it all worked out. A sad puppy Stephanie isn't allowed!

Jan. 15th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Giving up Rock Band & On-Demand movies is Not an Option!
I don't know why Danny doesn't have the capability to do this.

I don't remember exactly... Maybe that he couldn't get the hole drilled in the floor inside the wall. Incorrect tools for the job? He made a valiant effort, but for now, we hide the outlet-plate-sized holes in the walls. :P
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I'm far away to be,..
... any expert on the field of networks. But the simple logic tells me that there could be only two culprits. A) the internet provider or B) the new network setup. What means to switch back to the old network setup could be at least a temporary solution.
An in general bad interenet connection couldn't be the explanation for it that it worked at first and isn't working now.
There is this old but very true saying of: "To never change a running system." :)
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm far away to be,..
Yes, it's unlikely that it is the internet connection, unless there is some sort of problem that could only affect the OnDemand and Xbox Live services.

I don't think downgrading the router is an option, but perhaps some more troubleshooting aimed in it's direction would help. I don't know what routers do (if that is even what he replaced!) so I can't even begin to think of ideas (firewall/port settings, not enough connection to go around, internet gnomes??).

Who knows?
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm far away to be,..
... Well, I have already experienced enough "it's magic" failures(who solved itself after nearly getting nuts in the attempt to find a solution for them). That you couldn't exclude the option of internet gnomes. :D

Sometimes switching to a different brand for the router or whatever device got replaced/ugraded, might be helping, too.
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Jan. 15th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Danny is very good about labeling his cables, so I'm sure he knows exactly what is going where.
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
Assuming the router is the problem, would daisy-chaining help when the connection still has to go through the new router before going through the old?
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Jan. 15th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
Condo solution - just run a cable under the rug.
Other solution - consider video games and movie watching optional activities, or blow $30 on a dvd player to hook directly to the tv?

I really don't understand why a wireless wouldn't work. I got a wireless router and receiver for about $10 each that worked fine even for streaming video (I bargain hunt and do rebates like mad).
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Actually, that was the first option I listed - stop playing video games online (only one video game, actually. I sing in the game Rock Band) and stop using the DirectTv OnDemand service. Not really my preference, especially when both are already sitting there, waiting for internet.

As I said, something is interfering and/or interrupting our wireless connection in the house. We have taken a number of steps to improve it, but the connection is not strong enough to use for movies or Xbox.
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Jan. 15th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yep. We have one mounted right below the livingroom, and it's still one of the worst rooms to get wireless in.
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I have.. (or have access to) an awesome set a tools. If Dan tells me what is needed I can probably get it.
Jan. 16th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Linksys, N protocol should work through almost anything. That said, do not attempt to use the AC wiring for internet transmission. It has all sorts of frequencies being used, especially if they remotely 'read the meter'. Also, Cat 5 cable has be superceeded by cat 5E, which is faster. If your internet is Fiber, then you might want to upgrade right from there. And if your computers can't do the N standard (it's pretty new), cards for the laptop, etc, are pretty cheap at Newegg.
Just suggestions. Good Luck !
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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