Flaky Networking

The Internet connection at home recovered a bit in early August, and then got flaky again, being down far more often than it is up.  My wife and son keep odd hours and use the connection when it’s working; I have a cellular modem that I use for business, and avoid idle Web surfing.  It’s a bad habit; almost as bad as watching the tube.

All of our computers are networked, with a wireless network and a shared printer in the living room.  Last night, the Internet connection was down, but I needed to print something.  But when I tried to connect to the network in order to print. the Wi-Fi card in my laptop wouldn’t work.  Not only would it not connect with my home network, I couldn’t see any of the wireless networks in the neighboring apartments.  Indeed, it was as if the wireless card wasn’t even there.

This is not good news: I’m going on vacation this week, out of reliable cell phone range, and need working Wi-Fi.  I tried taking the card out of the computer and reseating it: no dice.

Eventually I gave up and hooked up my computer with the cable that is still under my desk from before I had Wi-Fi, but I was in a really bad mood: I don’t like to fail.

This morning, having contemplated the situation overnight, I was suspecting that Windows had changed something during the last update, yesterday morning.  But there’s a way out: every time it does an update, it records the previous state of the system so that one can roll back the change.  Great!

Except that when I tried it, the rollback failed due to some ‘unspecified error.’  (Yes, the error message actually said ‘unspecified error.’)  Forgive me, but what is the point of saving a restore point if you can’t actually restore to it?

I headed in to work today (my wife is a choirmistress, and she works Sundays), and tried booting my laptop off a Linux CD.  Linux asserted that there was no wireless networking card on the machine, so I sighed, accepted that it was really thoroughly dead, and decided to buy a new one at lunchtime.  I loaded the drivers and it seemed to work, but I don’t use Wi-Fi in the office.

This evening, I prepared to give my new Wi-Fi card an operational test, but found that the internal Wi-Fi was back up.  Indeed, that’s how I was able to prepare this post.

I guess anything can be brought back to service if you swear at it enough.

Does anyone want a new Wi-Fi card?  I’m selling one, really cheap….

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