My house was built by stoners. I know this because I tried to run a meager ethernet cable from my living room to the upstairs master bedroom. All I had to show for four hours of attempts four large holes in the drywall, each running into some unexpected beam. Sheesh, even the heater’s return vent dead-ends. As this was rapidly trending towards my worst plumbing experience, I took the rest of the afternoon off.
I resolved to complete the job using the brute force approach of poking a screwdriver through both sides of the wall and fishing the wire through. Large pieces were run underneath the baseboard. I’m sure I’ll rue this decision if I ever replace the carpet. There are a couple of sections where I need to paint the wire the nominal wall color, but it works and isn’t as obnoxious as it could be.
About the same time, my Dlink cable modem and Netgear wireless router went on strike. The replacements I bought from Fry’s didn’t work. I spent an excessive amount of time confounded by these simple devices that should work. Thinking both Fry’s and the brands of components were jinxed, I returned everything to Fry’s. (While waiting for the guy to ring it up, I noticed their standard markdown for opened, but complete items is 5%.) I biked to a computer megastore in Bellevue where I could pick up a Motorola SurfBoard. I got some hilarious comments from a pair of cyclists who thought I had a box of donuts on the back of my bike. “No, just a cable modem. Donuts wouldn’t have lasted that long.”
The Moto cable modem worked much better. When connected directly, I was clocking up to 8Mbs download and 400kbs upload. The router, reacting from peer pressure, magically worked again. … for about an hour… then it would seize up every 10-15 minutes until it was power cycled.
While wandering the aisles of another computer megastore, I counted at least two dozen models of these wireless routers. The marketing is almost as nutty as HP printers (gee, do I want the 3210, 6810, 7310, 7410, 7210 […]). Many had their own double-secret probation variant of the wireless G specification that was allegedly better tasting or less filling. At least three routers claimed to be pre-N, only to have some small fine print vaguely deferring how upgradable they’d be to the real standard when/if it’s every finished.
Here’s what I know: my wireless connection is now working and seems to be pulling down 1.5 – 2Mb/s in my study. This is almost 2% of the theoretical 108Mb/s promised by the router manufacturer, yet it’s twice what I was receiving before.