This is the cause of all the trouble.
Yesterday morning, Mrs Crox and I were hard at work in our respective cubbyholes, when our browsers stopped responding. Much frustrated pressing of buttons ensued, but a trip to a cupboard in the West Drawing Room found the sauce source of the tzores. Our BT Business Broadband router was surprisingly quiet in the flashing-lights department. Remote investigation of the router revealed that all had indeed gone dead. The router had disappeared from the network lists in all our computers.
Luckily we have a Netgear router on a separate phone line, as a backup – in case of this very eventuality. After much twiddling and wracking of brains I remembered the WEP key I set for this many moons since, and after further twiddling I set the computers to track that router instead.
Normal service was restored.
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
The Netgear router isn’t nearly as fast or as powerful as the BT Business Broadband machine, which meant that the signal to my office kept dropping off, and that to Mrs Crox’s office in the East Wing was too faint to be viable. Luckily I just happened to have fifteen metres of ethernet cable secreted about my person, just enough to get from the West Drawing Room to the East Wing, so I could patch Mrs Crox’s machine into teh interwebz.
Once we’d restored some sort of connectivity, I checked that the phone line going in to the BT Broadband router was OK (it was), and then I called BT’s broadband people. After a while I got put through to a very nice and thoroughly clued-up chap called Faroz, and between the two of us we worked out that the router itself had died.
Or had it?
As he smoothly gave instructions to despatch me a new router for next-day delivery, Faroz said that when the parcel came, I should, first, extract the power supply for the new router, and see if, when applied to the old router, it would come back to life.
Next day, yea, even before our lunch break, the new router arrived just as Faroz said it would, and I did as Faroz had instructed. Leaving the new router in its box, I replaced the old power supply (pictured above) with the new one (just the same, but cleaner). The trusty old router cycled back into life, and now sports a healthy array of green lights, telling me that broadband connectivity had been re-established.
This is brilliant, because not only do I have a spare router, I don’t have to fiddle around reconfiguring my network such that the many Ordinateurs Des Girrafes talk to a brand-new one. Instead, the computers instantly welcomed the old router back like an old friend. The thing is, I’d never have thought of this switch-the-power-supply trick if Faroz hadn’t told me.
From this story, my children, one can derive two morals.
First, that one’s network functions by virtue of the smooth running of a large number of quite simple components, any one of which can go wrong and cause hours of anxiety and delay, especially in one’s efforts to trace what could be any number of faults. This time it was a simple power supply to the router. Two years ago, it was a tiny plastic connector in the BT junction box down the street, the perishing of which screwed up our connectivity for most of that August, until the engineers had managed to track it down. That’s when I realized that critical systems need to have some built-in redundancy, and ordered a BT Business Broadband service to run on a separate phone line, different from the one used by our Netgear router, which was our main machine at the time.
Second, that when your livelihood depends on connectivity, you should never go for cheap broadband deals. I pay £££ for my BT Broadband, and my experience shows that it’s worth every penny. Faroz at BT gave me expert help and service, and new kit was sent without my having to twitch so much as an eyebrow. So, thanks, BT.
Here Endeth the Lesson.