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Life without Wi-Fi

Last week I had the distinct displeasure of getting a taste of what it would be like if there was no WiFi in the house. I also had to go through the most obscure fault finding regime I have ever done, with some confounding results, leading to desperate measures.

In the house we have 2 laptops, 2 Android phones, 1 Android tablet, 1 iPhone4S, and a colour scanner/printer, all attached to the WiFi.
There are 2 WiFi routers, one in the living room and one in my “office”, with one of them serving DHCP requests and acting as the cable modem/gateway to the Internet.
For 3 years everything has worked fine.

The first thing to change tox the infrastructure was the introduction of a “HP ProLiant MicroServer” running Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011. Needless to say there is no way that this could have any bearing on the status of the wireless connections, but was worth mentioning as I will do a review of it at a later date.

It all started when the Android devices stopped connecting to the unit in the Living Room. I checked the settings and nothing seemed to have changed.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 had had a recent firmware update, but that would not explain why the others would not connect.
A few days of playing with the settings had various results. The worst being nothing in the house could connect and the most frustrating that everything would connect, but the Android devices would not go out on to the Internet.
They all had a valid IP address, issued via DHCP, from the router downstream on the router in the Living Room. Not only could I not get out to the Internet, I could not ping either of the routers!! I could ping the device’s own interfaces.
By now, the GF was beginning to complain about the up and down of her Internet connection, and the effect it was having on the Facebook games she was trying to play ;-).
Finally, the router in the office was allowing everything to connect to it, but signal strength is very weak in the living room.

It was time for a serious plan B, and a bit of desperation, so I decided to buy a new router. Well, to me it was about the only logical thing left.
I settled for a “Belkin F7D1301uk SURF N150 Wireless Cable Router
We were now running three wireless routers whilst I tried to sort security settings that would allow all the devices to connect.
To cut a long story short I ended up with the Belkin in the office, as the only device in the house, providing the connection to all the devices.

I let that run for a few days, and then decided that whilst the signal in the Living Room was pretty good, I would really like a dedicated router in there.
So, I set about reconfiguring the Living Room one. I finally cracked it by enabling “WPS”.

I can honestly say there is nothing more frustrating than having a wireless tablet with no wireless to connect to.
It becomes a rather expensive book reader 🙂

Life is now good again, and I will never take the wireless for granted again.

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