20 October 2009

Welcome to Laura's new internet which we now call Laura's Internet in a Box.

I really like the internet. Except for when I am screaming "I HATE THE INTERNET I HATE THE INTERNET!" and stomping loudly around. In clogs. Maybe even wet, muddy clogs.

When my internet broke, a long, long time ago I like to call Last Week When the Internet Broke, I became very sad, but resigned to the fact that it is hard to fix the internet when you are at work at a ranch 45 minutes away from the internet, where there is no internet. In times like this, the internet lives at the coffee shop 3 blocks from my house that is open first thing in the morning but closed by the time I get home from work.

All week, I anxiously awaited my next day off, when it was going to be the Day We Fixed the Internet. I started this day by calling Don, the guy that works at the internet place. It is a lucky day when you get to actually speak to Don.

Here's Don. Actually, maybe it isn't Don but as far as we know, it COULD be Don.

We talked about plugs and cords and blinking lights and such for a long time. I plugged and uplugged and then Don said I was going to have to go outside and find the thingy with the plugs out there.

I'm all, "Don! It's raining at my house! Is it raining over there at the internet?"

Don just chuckled. Don was kind of a chuckler. He said that maybe when it stops raining, I could go back to fixing the internet, and for me to just let him know how that goes.

Ha HA! Them is fighting words, Don. Because the internet needed to get fixed TODAY. Rain or no Rain.

So thanks to the miracle of the umbrella and a screwdriver named Phillip, I decided I needed to take the fixing of the internet into my own hands. Maybe this had something to do with Don saying I had to take this portion of fixing the internet into my own hands or else The Phone Company would have to get involved. You know what that means. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being you are asked to prepare an Excel spreadsheet and 10 involving dog barf, I would rather deal with multiple dogs barfing on Excel spreadsheets than deal with the phone company. Don also said something something about the wires and I poked them a couple times with a screwdriver until I remembered what Karl Ewald told me about poking wires with screwdrivers that are plugged in and so then we just left those wires alone.

So as part of my due diligence of careful testing of many internet theories, including extension cords and the spare modem and some more plugs and power on power off power on power off and about a million trips in and out the house and the muddy clogs, I had this idea to try putting the whole internet in a sturdy, waterproof, outdoor container and just try putting the internet out there by the magic outside phone box.

Well, there were a lot of steps involved in reaching this level of engineering genius, and you're not seeing the final version that involved the step called An Even Larger Plastic Bag, but eventually, I had an internet, as long as it lived outside in the rain, in a box. This was very exciting. Are you reading this, Don?

The whole box thing seemed sad and damp, but then I remembered a secret trick I invented back in the old days of perhaps living in places that didn't exactly have a phone. The super long phone plug trick! Having a super long phone plug can be very useful if you need to, ahem, borrow phone service sometimes. Mine is about 1/2 mile long and I still keep the super long phone cord buried in the garage for issues such as this. Emphasis on the buried.

So the moral of this story is, I have fixed the internet! Sort of. I still have to talk to Don about this. The whole cardboard box thing and really long phone cord and plastic bags might not be exactly what he had in mind. Not very chuckle worthy. It actually works super good in the box although the whole dampness thing and racoon potential and if I need the umbrella later on make it perhaps, not a permanent solution. This is just something that for today, I'll figure out tomorow. Or later. At least I have an internet!


Kevin said...

did you used to have separate wires coming into the house for dsl vs phone?

or was the dsl sent over the inside-house phone wires, with filters inside?

team small dog said...

Hmm, these are the kinds of things Don likes to talk about too!

The answer is, it is hard to figure out. There are so many wires, and so many phone numbers. And there is a house and there is a little mini house in the yard and the dsl went there and not the house. And a bunch of lines converge under the deck.

The best answer that I have figured out is I was totally living in the pre-millenial '90's and had 2 phone lines because of this old fashioned picture sending machine called fax. Fax lives in the garage now and doesn't need it's own phone number and the dsl is going to move to a plain phone cord coming out of the outside the house box and live in my kitchen now.

That seemed more millenial, and money saving, to have the modem and the router live next on the kitchen counter. Maybe it will move someday to a different room but this will require A Phone Company Guy coming in the house. So I'm just going with kitchen counter internet, maybe as soon as next week.

Kevin said...

The picture "fixing tip #4"

On the left is the demarc box.
On the right is an apparent DSL splitter box. If you open the box on the right, it should have separate voice and data connections. If you have DSL and phone on the same phone number, you'd hook the phone to voice, and the DSL to data.

But: your demarc box has space for up to 6 phone lines. It looks like you might have 3 phone numbers, judging from the 423-xxxx numbers written on each slot.

your long cord looks like you plugged it into the 2nd line. This must be where the box labelled "DSL" used to be plugged in to? (did you disconnect the DSL splitter box? or is that left over from some other time?)

Now it's possible that there's a voice/data splitter in the demarc box. But it would take two slots.

If you plugged it straight into a phone line without a splitter, then your DSL will work if you don't have any phones on the line (or anything else).
If you have phones on the line, you'd need filters by the phones. Since you didn't mention filters, and you have obvious splitter outside (at least one), it's fair to assume the setup was with splitters.

So the questions for the future are:
1) Did you have a separate phone line (number) for the DSL, and no phones on it? If so, you're all set

2) If you're sharing the DSL line with a phone, and you just plugged in like your picture, either the demarc box has a splitter (and you plugged into the data side)...or you disconnected whatever line was going to phones in the house. That's good.

Did you move phones around the house before the failure? You may have plugged a phone into a DSL line, with no filter.

More likely: the rain hit some bad connections.

Your safest best is to just do what you did: run a new phone wire from the modem in the house.. from the outside splitter (the DSL box)..or the demarc box if it has a splitter, or if the phone line is dedicated to DSL.

A two slot splitter module in the demarc box looks like this:

a picture of different vendor's boxes, but you'll get the idea
(left is the demarc box, right is the splitter. like your box labelled "DSL")


team small dog said...

Uh oh.

The answers are yes-the old one was my old fax line and then was just for dsl because faxes are so old school and I had no fax machine anymore. But the new one will be on the line for talking on in the house, and then the fax number will go away forever.

And now I am very scared for when they make the new DSL go onto the other phone line which Don said would just work but then maybe he did say something about splitter now that I think of it. Or filter. Or splitter and filter.

My hope is that I can just get the modem and stuff out of the box and set it on the kitchen counter and just put in the plug where the phone is now and it will work and they will know how to share without my doing anything.

Except now I am very, very scared that this is going to involve more fun days of fixing the internet. Stay tuned! I will probably be wistfully remembering the good old days of the internet in a box that actually worked.

Kevin said...

no, I don't think you need to worry. It can all go on one phone line.

You don't want the filters on the phone stuff inside. That's not the best solution.

You have the splitter outside already. You want to use that.

You just want a dedicated wire on the dsl (data) from the splitter to whatever you have inside for internet (router).

then all your phone stuff on the other part of the splitter. (the voice connection)

Getting a wire from the splitter to your router shouldn't be hard. You may already have a wire there you can use.

(doesn't everyone have the little electronic gadgets for putting signals on phone wires so you can trace what's what? Mine is next to my clicker in the drawer :)

If there is absolutely nothing else on the physical wire going into your new dsl router, then yeah, the dsl will work.

If there's a phone on the same physical wire, then it won't work without filters or splitters.

It ain't the same as the 56k baud modems on phone lines.

quick overview

team small dog said...

I looked in out drawer and we have some clickers and birthday candles and flashlights and things to charge cel phones long gone and I even found $20! But no magic tracing machine.

I have learned very much here about splitters and how I will soon be using it to make the dsl and the voice phone live together in the kitchen. Thank you Kevin! This will be an exciting new adventure for my next day off.

vici whisner said...

My eyes have rolled in the back of my head and I am mummbling about splitters, DSL, demarking something, and filters. I never knew it was all so complicated.

When mine goes out, I just unplug it, and plug it back in. If that doesn't work I call the cable company. Only once has it been more complicated than that.

I sure hope it all works out Laura. We like it when you have internet.

team small dog said...

That is exactly how I used to fix the internet too. This has been a whole new thing in internet fixing. Next week we are going to have it broken even more in the name of fixing it, which Kevin has nicely prepared me for with my splitter and filter tutorial. It is going to involve actual moving of wires around by me! Sure to be a huge day of grins, giggles and chuckles. Much chuckling predicted! I sure hope it's raining, too.

Elf said...

Last Wed. when I called the AT&T about my internet connection waxing and waning (e.g. demarcing and not demarcing, also referred to as converging and disconverging, also referred to as splitting--as in, sometimes my connection is here, and sometimes it has split, man), they said maybe someone can come out next tuesday. So I kind of expected that eventually they would tell me WHEN on tuesday. But I can't work with no reliable internet (try downloading a gig of data with a connection that drops every minute or two), so I have been commuting (gasp) to Mtn View every day. So yesterday Tuesday morning I called the AT&T (because I don't have a Don or a Kevin) to find out when they'd be here, and they (AT&T being plural) that I had signed up for a 12-hour window and it would be nice if someone would be here but most of the time they can fix it outside the house and they guaranteed to have it resolved by 8:00 that night. So I commuted to Mtn View again instead. When I got home well after 8:00 at night, I appear to have a new, steady relationship with my internet, and an urgent phone message from the repair guy on my home line, and an urgent message from the repair guy on my office line, and the repair guy's business card stuck in my door telling me urgently to call him ASAP underlined. I guess I should call him to tell him that apparently he fixed it outside the house and I appreciate that. And all I had to do was to tear my hair out for almost a week and gouge out my eyes with the dull end of my mouse while trying to download huge files or even post to facebook. But at least there were no umbrellas or plastic bags involved. At least not for me. Not sure about the AT&T guy.

Why am I saying all this here on YOUR blog instead of on Taj MuttHall? Oh, yeah, because this isn't technically dog related. But now that I've said it, maybe i'll make it dog related and TMH it.

Thanks for helping my next post write itself.