Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lex recently posted his experiences as Chief Intarwebs Fixerer here.

It comes as no surprise that I also hold this position in my household and was recently called upon in that capacity to explain why my other half's laptop kept losing its connection to the intarwebs. It was a puzzling problem. Periodically the wireless connection mysteriously stopped working, all the packets and frames flying off somewhere into the ether, never to return to this locale. This was clearly the fault of yours truly and why was I not already solving this problem, hmmm?

I've not got all that much experience with wireless networks (read zilch), enigmatic devices that they are and not far removed from witchcraft, if'n you ask me. Further complicating the issue is that every time I came into the room to examine the offending beasty with mine own eyes, it promptly gave an 'ops normal' call and recommenced its normal operation as if nothing had happened, causing me to doubt the authenticity of the user reports, as well as the sanity of aforementioned user. This in itself was the cause of much bitter recrimination. Our forecast calls for a flurry of insults, followed by lengthy frosty periods.

But anything for a quiet life, to keep the peace I got to work. Researching. Learning more and more about wireless networks, what makes them tick, and more importantly, what makes them tick not.

I should point out that the usual location of the laptop is separated from the wireless access point by no more that three metres - well within the specifications of IEEE 802.whatever, so surely range can't be a problem.

Or can it?

I moved the transmitter. I moved it no more that 1 metre. Up. On top of the table instead of under it, ugly thing that it is.

The laptop immediately perked up and the intarweb has been running without a hitch ever since.

Why did it start working again everytime I looked at it up close? I can only guess that my standing next to the antenna changed the characteristics of the radio signal such that it was able to get a connection again. The radiation waves probably bouncing off my gonads, the far wall, the mantelpiece, and finally the laptop receiver.

Don't thank me Ma'am, just doing my job.


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