Yeah, this was going to be a big day. And It was, but not the way I wished.
So, we have not had cable TV for over three years, and we get our entertainment by way of streaming video (and audio) over the Internet. Especially streaming video tends to put a strain on your home network, and Barbara Jean was complaining. But this was something we could fix. Best Buy to the rescue. See the above.
The image is from Amazon. We purchased the Linksys Velop home network, and it works like this. You plug one of the systems into your cable modem, or into your Google fiber optic outlet. The other unit will connect wirelessly to the first, and the idea is you place that unit in your house where you are getting poor connectivity.
Here is what we noticed after we got the system up and running. We do get better connectivity down stairs. Improvement is measurable by running an Internet speed test from near the remote unit.
Another thing we noticed quickly is several times a day Internet connectivity goes away completely for about a minute. Then everything comes up, and life goes on. This is annoying, and a Google search indicates others believe it is a firmware glitch that Linksys needs to address.
A few things:
- If your house is single story of the kind in Prue Bend, you do not need the second unit.
- The units are identical.
- Each unit has an Ethernet jack for connecting to your cable modem (Google fiber port), and it has a single jack to connect to all your other Ethernet wired devices. If you have multiple printers and home security devices not having Wi-Fi connectivity, you will need to purchase an Ethernet switch.
- Linksys has an app for your smart phone or pad. The app is a must for setting up the system. Once you get everything going, the app is most handy for managing the network.
- A look at the network by way of the app shows that stuff downstairs sometimes uses the upstairs router, and vice versa. Yes, that is strange.
I already had an Ethernet switch with five ports, and I was about to go with that. However, Barbara reminded me that without the extra Ethernet ports on our old router we were going to need a bigger switch. So we got one with eight ports. Be advised, one of the switch ports needs to connect to your router, so you will have only seven left over for your devices. Hint: you can get Ethernet switches with bunches of ports.
Do not get a hub. An Ethernet hub costs less than a switch, but it does not prevent packet collisions. When the switch receives packets simultaneously from two or more ports, it absorbs and stores them all and sends them out to where they are needed. Bottom line: no dropped packets, and faster throughput.
But back to the problem of dropping Internet connectivity. On Monday before my birthday I got up early and watched ABC News on TV while I ate breakfast. Then I logged off to do other things. Truth is, I took a nap.
Up from my nap, and we were disconnected. I waited for the connection to come back. It never did. I tried my usual stuff, recycling power to the modem and the network devices. No good. The light on top of the Velop router went red and stayed there. Barbara made the decision. Box up this piece of shit and ship it back. I needed to phone Linksys and make use of the supposed warranty. This I did around noon on Wednesday. They were very helpful. Linksys did not want to take back a system that still worked.
So for two hours and 55 minutes I walked through an extensive analysis of the system with the nice and very knowledgeable Linksys support lady. It got to the point she needed a wired Ethernet (not Wi-Fi) connection to the modem. For this I had to turn my chair around and access Barbara’s Dell Vostro, which does not employ Wi-Fi. Eventually I set up a dummy MAC address so she could run tests on Barbara’s computer.
Long story short, after two hours and 55 minutes we got the Velop network up and running again. I took the remote router down stairs so the support gal could run a connectivity test. She ran it. Everything looked fine. Then the light on the remote unit turned red. She agreed she could see this from her desk at Linksys.
The analysis, and we both agreed, is this. When I put the pieces back together again for the trouble shooting, I switched the two units. They are identical in appearance, differing only in a built-in password. The one that was now the remote was previously the main unit—the one that connected directly to the modem. When it went down it took Internet connectivity down. Not only did Wi-Fi go away, but Barbara’s Vostro, connected to the main unit by wire, lost connectivity, as well.
We parted ways. I mentioned I would run the Velop system for a few more days, and if the problem showed up again I should be getting an exchange or a refund. And this was the morning and the evening of my birthday.