No internet at home; almost didn’t notice

Due to some combinational effects of a billpay snafu and me not paying attention, the phone and internet is out at my house. I almost didn’t notice.

Let me reiterate: I have no internet at the house and it barely registers as a problem.

This is actually the second time this has happened in the last decade. Last time was a disaster. Internet was essential to a lot of what I do. It still is, actually.

I live in an area where I have two choices. I can give money to Comcast (over my comcastically dead body) or I can give money to Qwest, which is what I do, though actually it’s slightly more complicated than that because I get service through a 3rd party DSL provider that leases lines through Qwest. Clear internet is in the area, but I’m far enough from the west hills that I can sort of get the portable WiFi hotspot to work in the house if I hold it right. They won’t even attempt to sell me home service. So I’m stuck with DSL. The ‘burbs have fiber to the curb, but here in Portland-proper, it’s copper or wireless.

The DSL is blindingly fast…for 1994. It’s T1 speed! Remember when 1.5 megabits was top of the line, unobtainable by mere mortals? Yeah, it actually turns out that my iPhone on AT&T is often faster, so I rarely connect it to the network at home. The Kindle has its own 3G wireless. Wireless internet is just ubiquitous — and actually a little better than my DSL.

The main reason I noticed is that I picked up the voice landline and had no dialtone. I actually keep a landline and give that number out to a few companies because I don’t want to be bothered on my cellphone by large, faceless corporations. If they leave a message on the home phone, I typically use that same phone to call them back. A lot of automated phone systems work better if you call them from your billing number. So I picked up the phone to call Qwest on an unrelated matter — I got a message about a change in their DSL service (but oddly enough, no message about a billing problem) — and had no dialtone.

I’ve since sorted out the account number problem with my billpay service and will get service restored, but I find it kind of funny and kind of cool that I can still effortlessly post this from my non-connected house. The internet is all around us in enough redundant networks and devices that it’s no big deal if one is down. After all, that’s what the military originally designed the internet to do — automatically route around network problems.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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