Wireless Networking: The Chaos Begins

My wireless hub – a Netgear MR814 Cable/DSL Wireless Router – arrived on Thursday, and I finally got a chance to play around with it today.

So far, things are not going well.

First, my internet connection has been acting wacky the last 24 hours or so. Maybe it had something to do with the massive denial-of-service attacks going on, maybe it’s a problem on my end – I just don’t know. I could connect to Verizon’s server, but couldn’t bring up a single Web page.

So I figured I had nothing to lose by trying out the new wireless hub. Set-up was a breeze via my Windows Me machine (yeah, Me – haven’t had time to revert to 98 SE), but while the router could connect to the server, once again I wasn’t able to actually surf.

And then, miraculously, at around 10 p.m. tonight, I was able to connect and surf. But then I ran downstairs to be social with my family, and when I came back, lo and behold, I was once again netless.

That problem, I think, is related to the router: it has a preset amount of time after which it drops the internet connection. That would be fine if it would automatically re-connect when I tried to snag a Web page, but it doesn’t. Or at least, I haven’t figured out how to make it do that. Instead I need to log into the router and force it to re-connect. And even then, it’s a spotty thing – sometimes it connects, sometimes it doesn’t.

Is it the router? Verizon? I have no clue.

With the internet connection haphazard at best, I figured I’d try out the wireless. I’d brought home my work laptop, which has a wireless card, so I got it out to see what it picked up.

And the answer was (and still is … nothing. Not a peep. Not a single solitary wave of radio energy.

Needless to say, this was disheartening. Is the wireless hub not broadcasting? Is it the laptop? I don’t know. The router doesn’t seem to have a diagnostic for testing that, although the little “wireless” light is on. I figure I’m going to have to try and pick up the wireless network at work on Monday (something I haven’t tried before) and see what happens there. It could very well be a university configuration thing. I won’t know for sure until the Airport card for my iBook arrives sometime next week.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised by any of this – well, I am surprised that my Verizon connection was wonky even before I tried out the router. And I’m also more than a little surprised that the router isn’t automatically connecting the to the net as I need it. I’m going to have to call Netgear on Monday to see what’s up.

Until then I’ll have to keep on muddling through … and heck, I may even read the documentation…

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