Home networking


As many of you may know I am a control freak.  I make my living, maintaining and programming controls.  Like the ones that keep your office too hot or too cold.  So being that I currently work for a reasonably unknown Community Collage they want me to be able to connect to my control server from home.  You see if things go all wonky on a weekend I can fix it with out incurring the dreaded and always frowned upon overtime.  That won’t do, won’t do at all.


The first step was for the school to buy me a laptop computer.  That took about 6 month, I am not sure why but I figure it had something to do with budgets.  I try not to ask too many questions about why I am just grateful to have a job with so many problems to fix.


The next step is getting the laptop to communicate over the network at work, and the wireless network, and my controls network.  All well and good, that only took a few days. 

The last step was my own and I can’t blame it on work. I had to connect my new work laptop at home.  I needed to create a home network to plug into.

We allready had high speed internet with a famous cable company.

The next step is getting a router.  I decided to get a Linksys router with firewall, VPN and 4 ports.  I followed the instructions to the letter.

Here is a small sample of what I tried:Make all connectionsFollow instruction on startupInstall drivers, and start up diskFollow instructions on screenGet to the part where it asks for a password

Follow an endless loop of asking for a password, checking internet connection, asking for password, checking for internet connection for about three times.

Open a web brouser and enter the IP adress for the router

Enter all kinds of information.

Restart the router and find that it didn’t like the connection.

Try again and repeate until all the options are used.

Try to use the windows network wizard to create a network.Restart computer.Connected to internet!  YeaTried to connect laptop to router.Lost connection to internet.Lost connection to router.Re-checked everything.  Now it says that I have limited or no network connections.  I press the (I want more information key) It says that there may be issues and to contact my network administrator for help.I can’t do that because my network administrator is me, and he hasn’t got a clue. So I got frustrated, turned everything off and quit for the night. 


The next day I get online at work and search for how to hook up a network.

I print out all kinds of helpful articles from Microsoft and other sources.

I look up my ISP and print out their articles on how to hook up a router to their cable modem.

I go home with all the printouts and a fresh new attitude.

I found that I already tried everything that was in the instructions.

So I did them over again.

With the help of the articles I learn to use some DOS commands like IPconfig and IPconfig/all to get information on what is wrong with my network.  It all points to the fact that the nice new router is not speaking to my cable modem, or my PC isn’t talking to the Router, or my windows firewall is not allowing my PC to talk to the Router, or something like that. 

I get frustrated and quit for the night.


The next day I got bold and went to Circus City and bought a new Linksys super fast Ethernet card for my PC.  I figured that way I would have a disk with drivers for the network card, and it might play nice with the router because they are both the same brand name. 

After I got home and installed the network card I found that it didn’t work and I was back to where I started.

Finally I did the unthinkable. 

The absolute last thing that I would have thought to do.

I called my ISP help desk.  I was only on hold for five minutes

I took that as a good sign.

They told me that they can’t help me, and to call the company that sold me the router. 

So I called the 800 number that came with the router.


While on hold a recording said that I could go online and look up my problem on the internet at their fine website. 

It reminds me of the great scene in the movie “The day the Earth stood still” where in a demonstration of power Kaatu turned off all the power on earth for one hour.  there is a scene where a boss tells his secretary to call the electrical company and get the power back on, the frightened woman tells her boss “But the phones are not working” 

Finally I get someone on the phone.

You guessed it…. 


I would like to say something about the help desks in
Being an ex HP employee I know something about helpdesks,
India and Outsourcing.  You can bitch all you want about outsourcing to
India but the IT helpdesks are actually quite good.  They are well informed and know what they are talking about.  The accent barrier is something that needs to be overcome, but like I said, I used to work for HP, so I am used to it.

The IT tech from Linksys was very nice, and knew exactly how to fix my issue.  He immediately had me re-set everything, like before.  Then go into the settings of the router, just like I did before.  Then he asked me do something different. A tab I would not have pressed even out of curiosity.    He had me open the tab labeled (MAC Emulator).  Then he had me press one button.  Restart my PC and what do you know, everything worked.

I thanked him profusely and got off the phone.  I then hooked up my work laptop and was immediately connected to the internet.  I could do exactly what the router said I would be able to do three days ago. 

I went back to the instructions to find out where I went wrong.  I tried to find anything about a MAC Emulator.  Nothing in the entire manual addressed this point, except when looking up how to connect a MAC computer. 

I did however find the helpful suggestion that if I had a cable modem to contact my ISP for instructions.


However I blame myself, if I wasn’t such a control freak I would have called
India the day I bought the router.

But I learned a lot about networking home PCs.


2 thoughts on “Notwork

  1. caveblogem says:

    The Mac Emulator thing is a little puzzling. It could have come from with mac emulation as the default, I guess, although that’s pretty unlikely.

    It reminds me of a thing I went through with a database at my job that is now a legacy system we can no longer access. To get a report to run you had to go to this one window and basically turn off a button that was on by default. The button said something like “do not print.”

    And that reminds me of one of my favorite Dilbert cartoons. Dilbert is standing in front of a copy machine and it crumples up his paper and spits it at him with a noise like “ftip, crinkle, spoit.” A woman walks by and says “if you want copies, you have to set “ftip, crinkle, spoit to ‘no.'” Dilbert asks “this thing makes copies, too?”

  2. spudgun says:

    sorry Dale, ya lost me as “Make all connectionsFollow instruction”.


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