Internet Connectivity Update

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In this post, I discussed my emergency backup system for when my house or apartment Internet connectivity goes down. In that report, I mentioned that my WiFi connection in the apartment was getting reasonably flaky.

We’re in the apartment all week this week, so I was bracing for the experience. As I mentioned before, the WiFi router wasn’t far from our laptops, roughly 21 feet. There is a bathroom in between the two rooms, so there are two walls for the signal to travel through. Still, most of the time, it works well.

When the link is up, tests show an average download speed of roughly 3.6Mbps. Upload speeds of roughly 364Kbps.

On Monday and Tuesday, we had a few drop outs, but they were relatively short lived. Yesterday morning, we lost connectivity, and it didn’t come back within five minutes. I could have put the emergency plan into action, but I decided to try something else.

I have tons of extra (mostly ancient) networking equipment. In both the house and apartment, I have a pair of old Netgear XE602 Powerline Adapters. The pair in the house never get used, because the one place I could have used them yielded a near-zero signal. In the apartment, I have used them on rare occasion, but they worked reasonably well.

So, yesterday morning, I grabbed the pair, plugged one end in next to the main router (in the remote room) and brought the WiFi router into the bedroom, and connected it to the other XE 602. We immediately had a connection. It’s possible that the reboot of the WiFi router (even remotely) would have corrected the problem.

More important, when I did the speed test, I got 5.2Mbps down and 494Kbps up. After a while, even though I didn’t have a problem, I switched to a wired connected (since the WiFi router was close enough to my machine to just plug in directly). Lois remained wireless the rest of the day.

We never lost connectivity, but at least two times, there were instantaneous blips that would be unnoticed by humans (normally), but occasionally cause my SSH client to drop the connection to the server. I think it’s the Powerline devices (they are no longer sold new, and perhaps newer generations ones wouldn’t exhibit these problems). No worries though, this is way better than what we were experiencing.

For now, I’ll leave it set up this way. We have company coming in tonight, and staying the weekend. I don’t know if they will bring their laptops, but if they do, I may need to relocate the WiFi back outside, to give them a workable connection. We’ll see…