But How Many Americans Have *Working* Broadband Access?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 28, 2005

“Two Out of Every Five Americans Have Broadband Access at Home,” says a new study to be released Wednesday by Nielsen//NetRatings. “90% of those Americans have bought a second wireless router after having smashed the first one with a hammer.”
hammer.jpg

Just kidding on that last sentence. Can you tell I’ve been having problems with my wireless network? For no reason I can yet divine, my connection is suddenly going up and down more than the Nasdaq. (Mostly down lately.) Since I don’t have several hours to spend on the phone with a Linksys tech “support” guy reading from a script that I’ve already printed out from the company’s Web site, I keep monkeying around with router settings, installing new firmware, and the like, while people on DSLReports.com tell me to disable MTU settings. And wouldn’t you know that Windows’ System Restore, which I used to carefully set restore points before each change, has decided you can never go home again?

At this point, I’m ready to chuck my whole computer setup out onto the Bayshore Freeway and start over. I wonder how long millions of folks even less tech-savvy than I will put up with this.

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Reader Comments

Greg

September 28, 2005 03:52 AM

You are so cool.
I don't know anyone who can access Bayshore Freeway cannot hook up a linksys wireless router. You are brave to post this note.

Stefanaccio

September 28, 2005 06:28 AM

Same here. Plugging and unplugging the router has become the "chore du jour" in my house although "chore d'heures" would be a better phrase. Good training for my 16-year-old computer geek son.
Casale http://www.angelfire.com/film/casale

Lee

September 28, 2005 10:25 AM

Get a Mac! ;-)

Robert Hof

September 28, 2005 12:41 PM

Lee: I'm sure thinking about getting a Mac! But are wireless networks really easier and more reliable on a Mac? Especially since I still will have to use my Windows notebook from work on it?

Rob Hof

September 28, 2005 12:43 PM

Greg: Cool? More like hot under the collar. It's not that I don't know how to hook up the router--it had been working fine for two years!--I just don't know how to fix the sudden problem. So many settings, so little time....

PXLated

September 28, 2005 12:51 PM

He says smugly...
Have "never" had a WiFi wireless problem with my Mac/Airport setup. And I've had Airport since the first week they sold them. Even at coffee shops or clients, it just senses and connects, no fuss, no muss.

Greg

September 28, 2005 02:58 PM

Mac is not the recipe. Wireless router now is really a commodity, news from AZ yesterday that a school setup a campus-wise WiFi network for $200. They bought from Fry's for $20 ea.

Rob, I bet 99% of the network is working otherwise they will fix it, or chuck it - why pay monthly for non-working DSL or cable service? I know people might have issues setting up security (WEP, EAP) with their router to protect the access but not with connectivity.

If your problem is a sudden one, do you have a virus?

Rob Hof

September 28, 2005 04:29 PM

Thanks, Greg. Yes, it would probably be over the top to actually chuck my setup. I don't think it's a virus, since I've been careful with antivirus software (which doesn't show any) and firewall. I suspect that some settings somehow got changed in the router and/or my modem or IP settings. I know the firmware upgrade did change some security settings, at least, which I've tried to change back--obviously, unsuccessfully so far.

dg

September 28, 2005 10:22 PM

I use an Airport, and in a single home, it was fine, pretty much always worked. But now, living in a building with many other networks around, it wigs almost daily even with switching channels and using other tricks to avoid conflicting signals.

Is it possible you've got a neighbor using a first generation cell phone right outside your door or something?

I've used the Airport hooked into a linksys router previously and found it to be awfully reliable.

John

September 28, 2005 10:26 PM

I keep losing wireless connectivity for periods of anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Replaced router, replaced wireless card, switched from cable to DSL - same problem continues. Started about the time a neighboring apartment got satellite tv. Any ideas for fixes? (already thought of the wire cutters fix...)

Rob Hof

September 28, 2005 11:14 PM

Hey there dg--hm, interesting idea about the cell phone. Don't think anyone is near enough to my house, and I don't have any new neighbors, but I think I might try moving the router around to see if anything changes. Thanks.

Wes

September 30, 2005 02:43 PM

Rob:

You're not alone. I purchased a Linksys WRT54g router 2 years ago and have never had a problem with it. Connection is always strong and never drops between it and my Dell laptop.

HOWEVER, I recommended Linksys to a buddy who bought a newer version of the same router and his drops all the time as well. The signal is really strong and then all of the sudden - no signal.

You might just try getting a different router - Netgear makes some pretty cheap ones now. The $50 price might be worth it to avoid frustration.

Mike

October 5, 2005 04:21 PM

XP SP2 likes to rename itself, particularly to the IP address of the router it is using... Try checking for IP confilicts. Your ethernet will show one IP address, the router will rename itself to a common class C address (192.168.0.1 is a common one...), and then XP will rename itself the same thing... just because you thought it was playing nice...

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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