professionalhenchman: (Faire)
[personal profile] professionalhenchman
Today has been a "Technology hates me" day. I took the opportunity presented by changing ISPs to go looking at wifi routers, and discovered that T-mobile has a "Wifi Personal CellSpot" router available for a $25 refundable deposit. It's a modified ASUS AC1900, (a ~$200 router) preset to give preference to wifi phone calls, and from all reports is a pretty sweet router. So I went down to the T-mobile store in Davis, and they even waived the deposit, so I've got a free router as long as I return it if we ever switch carriers.

So far, so good. Then things started to go downhill. I swung by Omsoft's offices on the way back with the modem/router combo they'd given me, intending to swap it for a plain DSL modem. Unfortunately, they turned out to not have modem-only units for the particular service we have. This was where my internal monologue went "uh-oh", as I *hate* trying to deal with two routers on the same network. Still, I know how to put one into bridge mode, or thought so, anyway. I'd have called ahead to get this info, but I was making my run right before they opened, and was there 15min before they were supposed to be open as is.

So I went home, and started setting up the new equipment. Here's where everything started to go pear-shaped. First, I tried to log into the modem/router, and discovered that neither the default password OR the one I'd put in my password manager would let me log in. So, reluctantly, I hit the hard reset button. And discovered that this thing was way more complicated than any modem/router I've dealt with before. After a fair bit of cursing at it, I put the project down to go take Tom (one of our cats) to meet Sarah and Josh at the park so she could take Tom to his checkup at the vet, and I could bring Josh home for a nap. We both got back at about the same time, and Sarah was kind enough to take over feeding Josh while I went to poke at the equipment again. After a bit, I realized that I was out of my depth, and called Omsoft. The tech who answered the phone was apologetic for not being able to offer phone support, and asked me to bring it over to be configured - this particular model is apparently quite new to them.

So, Sarah agreed to put Josh down to nap while I ran over to Omsoft with the whole pile of equipment. Rob got the modem configured, showed me what to do if I had to factory reset in again, and I left - being foolish enough to not suggest connecting the new router right there and making sure it worked. So of course, when I got home, it didn't work.

Here, there was a break as I swore at ASUS or T-mobile, whoever decided that the password entry field shouldn't allow copy/paste, so I couldn't use 1password easily to set up the new router, and it demanded a new password on first login (a good idea, actually). I need to go back tonight and change the expletive-laced one I used for setup purposes. I wonder how many people's passwords can be guessed by trying variations on "F*ck this F-ing machine!" Or something similar.

So, I started looking through manuals and trying to figure out which device was the problem. At some point, my laptop started trying to connect via wifi to the router, which seemed to be causing problems, so I turned off the wifi - and the system panicked, refusing to boot until I restored from a backup. Great.

While it was restoring, I dragged the desktop into the network closet, and called Omsoft again. Will quickly worked out that the modem wasn't working right for some reason. Since it was 15min before they closed for the day, he decided to try and talk me through checking the modem configuration. After a few rounds of "let me put you on hold while I check something", it became apparent that he was going over to a working one and figuring out how to get that configuration set on mine, even for things that shouldn't have made a difference. The last instruction was to plug the wifi router into a very specific one of the LAN ports, and that did the trick.

So, a simple project turned way more complicated than it should, but I was very glad to be dealing with a local ISP for the debacle, as I shudder to think how long this would have taken with AT&T trying to "help".
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professionalhenchman

February 2015

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