Last night I used netstumbler to scan for wireless access points in my neighborhood. I found about 6 right away, and then another 5 after moving my wifi usb key closer to the window.
The original reason for my scan was to find out which channels were being used in the area. Not surprising 6, 9 and 11 were the popular options. Also, I was surprised to find that most of them had encryption turned on.
I switched my AP to channel 3, and was pleased to get an extra megabyte/s in throughput, putting me right around 2.2MB/s. I'm curious what performance will be like once we get the other computers upgraded from B to G.
I came home from work on Tuesday to find our internet connection was down once again. This has been happening with disappointing frequency since we moved into the new house. It always comes back after a few hours, so I busy myself with other things for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday morning, no internet.
Wednesday evening, still no internet.
This is ridiculous, so I decide to call comcast. Mostly to rant, because my previous conversations with their tech support have been oh so helpful. Comcast dude tells me that there's currently an outage in my area and that it should be resolved within 24-48 hours of the initial outage. He credits the account for 3 days of service, so I'm placated for the moment.
Jump ahead two days.
I get home from work on Friday, and we still don't have a working connection. The damn modem continues to taunt me with it's blinking lights. I call comcast again, and this time I'm told that there currently is no outage in my area and, here's the kicker, their logs don't indicate any outages at all this week.
Buh... say what?
After declining his offer to send a technician out to check our lines, I decide to do a little testing of my own. I count no less than 3 splitters between the main feed to our house and the line running inside to the modem. Cripes... who the hell wired this place?? Mounted in the center of the wiring box sits a small grey signal booster. I rig up various configurations, moving cables, removing splitters, trying to find some combination that will bring the internet back into my home. Finally, I simply remove the signal booster from the path, and magically service returned! I reconnect everything back to the original configuration, sans booster, and check again to make sure I wasn't imagining it.
It was no delusion, just sweet sweet success!
So let this be a lesson kids, cable modems hate signal boosters. And if the technician installing your cable internet tells you that a signal booster "doesn't really hurt anything", you call him a liar, kick him in the nuts, and rip the damn thing out.
You will be much, much happier. Trust me.