What Happens When the Internet Goes Out

Maribeth WardTech Tips0 Comments

It’s inevitable.  At some point the internet goes down.  It occurs everyday to hundreds of people.  At our house it also means no television as we use Roku and Chromecast.  It happened in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday recently.  The movie we were watching disappeared and our screen shouted “not connected” at us.  We waited calmly for about an hour thinking it would pop back on.  It didn’t.

We placed the dreaded customer service call to the Internet company.  Usually when we lose the connection they walk us through resetting the router or modem.  We had already tried that and had no success.  After about a half hour wait, we got a service representative.  She looked at our account and offered various possibilities from billing issues to outside line problems.  She finally settled on it being two lines touching outside their company’s building which was just down the street from us.  It was affecting other people also, she said, so it might get taken care of quickly. She even informed us the problem was in a loop about 5700 feet from their service center.

However, she set a time for a home visit from the technician for Monday morning “just in case we needed it.”  Now we just had to live through a Saturday night and Sunday without Sling, Hulu or Netflix.  We opted to break out the old DVD’s (of which we have hundreds as my husband is an avid movie buff).

He likes westerns and war movies. I like comedies and romance. After arguing for about an hour over what to watch we agreed on “Saving Mr. Banks.”  An excellent choice. But, it went downhill from there. I dug through a bookcase and came up with a favorite hardcover book that I’ve read a dozen times and took it to another room. In the background I could hear John Wayne shouting commands to his unit and later to his horse.

Sunday we went to Bloomington and spent the rest of the day in Nashville with a stop at the Greenwood Mall.  Home by 7 p.m.  Still no internet.  Still no television. No Kindle to read books as mine requires a connection unless I’ve already downloaded them.

Monday morning finally rolled around.  I stayed home waiting for a technician, missing a meeting at work and finally going in late. The repair folks hadn’t shown up in the window of time promised.  I tried to call and find out where they were but the account is in my husband’s name so they won’t talk to me. I called the hubby, who left work to come home to wait.  He finally got through only to be told the ticket was set for Tuesday not Monday.  And, we were told we didn’t need to be home as it was an outside issue.

My faith in our internet provider was fading.

At least neither of us would have to sit around without internet or television waiting for a repairman on Tuesday.  We both went to work.  I came home at 2 p.m. to find a big red note on the front door.  “We came by for a repair and no one was home.  Please call us at x number.”  I was bent.

I text the information to my husband.  We are now three days without internet.

An hour or so later the tech returns the call to my husband and says he will try to get there before the end of the day.

My faith in the internet provider was dropping fast.

The tech did get there and eventually determined the problem was our router.  Of course, he had no replacement as they were on backorder.  He did have another idea and that was to piggyback a modem to the router we already had.  His tests showed we had internet but it wasn’t connecting.

He set it all up.  Even changed our password to something easier to remember.  It didn’t work.  He called for backup help.  They couldn’t figure it out either.  Eventually, he told me the other technician would have to come back the next day and bring a new router.  He also mentioned that the customer service desk gave us wrong information.  “There is no way they can see if a problem is two lines touching,” he said.

In the process of talking to me that morning, he also said that when the service rep told us the problem was in 5700 feet out from their building, she was looking at our house and didn’t know it.  “Your house is 5700 feet from our building,” he added. “They don’t know what they are doing,” he added.

My confidence in our internet provider was growing dimmer.

Wednesday morning arrived cold and snowy and the new technician came a little after 8 am. He switched out the router and changed the password.  It didn’t work.  He changed the password back.  It didn’t work.  He checked all the wires. He checked the boxes in the basement and outside.  It didn’t work. We had internet when plugged in but no wireless.

He called his boss.  Guess what he told our tech? The company doesn’t support wireless routers, only those that plug into the ethernet.  Our tech was growing more frustrated.  “This,” he said, “was news to him.”

He kept getting another wireless network showing up that wasn’t the one in our house.  He asked me what it was.  Did we have another setup or something else plugged in.  Nope. Was it our old provider? Nope. Did we still have a box for them? We did not.

We might have to call the old provider and tell them to shut it off,” he said.

“What do we tell them to shut off, if we don’t have any equipment for them,” I asked.  He shrugged.

Our internet was working before with it there I explained. It’s shown up on our network for a couple of years.  It had to be a neighbor’s network which meant I couldn’t do anything about it. The connection to it was stronger than the connection to our network. This had to be the issue insisted the tech.

My faith in our internet provider was practically gone.

The worse case scenario said the tech was that we could run a line from our television (across the room) and hardwire it to the ethernet.  I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for this since we had been using wireless and been just fine in the past.  Not to mention I didn’t want a wire running across my living room floor from the computer to the television. Plus we have another television in a bedroom at the back of the house.  Was I supposed to run a wire all the way through my house?

The technician sighed and tried changing the password a couple of times, eventually putting it back to it’s original 15 random numbers and letters.  Suddenly we were connecting.  First, my smartphone came back online.  Next the computer was working and then the Kindle.  But, the television was sadly still blue.

Another password change and refresh and it suddenly flashed on.  We had to reset the Roku with a new “old” password but it was on.  I was afraid to turn it off.  Days later, I’m still afraid to turn it off.

The technician admitted he had no idea what he had done to make it work other than change the password back to it’s original 15 random numbers and letters.

Next, he told me he was on vacation next week (and Greencastle only has two technicians) and hopefully we wouldn’t have another issue until after Christmas.

My faith in our internet company faded completely.

The tech left an hour and half after arriving at our house.  He went out the door wishing me a Merry Christmas.  I looked at the stack of DVD’s my husband and I still had laying out and sighed.  War movies and westerns.

Then I realized we had only set up the television in the living room.  The bedroom, my sanctuary from westerns and war movies had to be reset with the 15 random numbers and letters.  Did I mention I am numbers dyslexic.

Good thing I still have that big old bookcase of hardback books.  It could be a long Christmas vacation if the internet goes out again.

 

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