Thursday, November 27, 2008

Off-grid, kind of

A couple of days ago our ISP went down in our neighbourhood. Initially they said they had fixed it within the first day, but that turned out to be premature, they were still working on it late last night. Today it is fixed, we think.

Problem for us is, our phone service is VOIP. In order to make that work my son has created a complicated arrangement of modems and routers (involving many many many wires). When it works, it works beautifully, but when it doesn't, oh boy!

To compound the problem, my son is not only out-of-town but out-of-country on business, many time zones away. Not due to return for at least another ten days. He's the one who set up the system and really the only one who understands its intricacies.

The nice thing about living in a neighbourhood of small houses crowded together is that we have several overlapping wireless networks here, and some of our neighbours don't see the need for security. So we have been able to piggyback off our neighbours' internet service, in part because they get it from another provider. But that doesn't give us back our phone service. The ISP has resolved their problem, our modem is getting an internet signal, but it doesn't appear to be continuing on from the modem into the morass of routers and wires, we still don't have our phone service back.

So, here's the thing about VOIP. It's cheap and it works great when it works. The very few internet outages would be OK, but when it triggers a catastrophic failure of the complicated home system, an ISP glitch of maybe a few hours duration turns into several days of head-scratching and hair-pulling. I'm not so sure that that is worth it.

OK now, where does this wire go to...?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, isn't that a bother? How handy that your house can get some services back by piggy-backing. Cell phones will work fine, won't they? Hope all is back with proper connections and working order soon.

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