What to do when your home wifi stops working and your broadband provider can’t fix it

People tend to take their home wifi for granted, like their electricity supply: it’s just supposed to be on. But unlike your power, if your wifi stops working, too often it’s up to YOU to diagnose and fix it.

I work at home and depend on broadband internet to make my living. This week I lost about two full working days because my broadband went out. My internet service provider (ISP), Comcast, was unable to get it working or even steer me in a useful direction, despite keeping me on the phone for hours and running lots of tests of the connection between their equipment and my equipment.

Were I not lucky enough to know a programmer with lots of networking experience who could spend time helping me investigate other possible points of failure, I’d be out of luck for home wifi right now — which would severely hinder my business and life.

Here’s what happened with my home wifi, and how I fixed it. Also here’s why ISPs need to do a much better job of helping residential customers diagnose possible network problems that lie beyond the narrow scope of the wires and modems they sell…

Continue reading

No Wifi? No Excuse!

Here’s why I’m going to get myself some “internet insurance.” I never want to deal with this situation again.

And BTW, Nokia (you’re still listening, right?) this NewsTools 2008 conference I’m out is a big reason why I bought my N95 last month — remember, the one that bricked after your firmware update and that you wouldn’t replace immediately for free? The one I don’t have with me right now? Grumble….

Why you should disable “sharing” on your laptop

I’m sitting at the Las Vegas airport, hoping to get an earlier flight home on standby. They’ve got free and reasonably fast open wifi here, which is helpful.

But apparently some folks here aren’t too conscious about wifi security — they’ve left their laptops open to “sharing” (access by other computers on the network. I’m not kidding. Here’s what I’m seeing in my finder currently:

sharing left on

Not good, folks. Remember to check your system preferences and disable sharing before getting on any network (especially public wifi) where you’re not sure who’s there.