When cable modems go bad

One of the in my spare time activities of life as a techie is providing network administration support to the family. Lately the in-laws have had some challenges getting online. When I asked them to visit they would get different results each time. Their TiVo folks had said they had a problem with their IP address and that was why the TiVo wasn't working. Things got more interesting when I started looking up the ip addresses. The IP addresses reported belonged to companies on the other side of the globe. From Cambodia to Poland the information didn't make sense.

Interestingly although Remote Desktop wouldn't provide access (because of the bad IP address) screen sharing in iChat did work. Upon logging in and firing up AirPort Utility I expected to see that the AirPort knew it had a different address. But alas the AirPort resolutely stated the IP address in Poland.

EDGEing out satellite

My list of challenges with DirecWay internet service is well known to regular readers. Over the last several years I've had occasion to do the drive to the office on several extra occasions simply because it is not practical to do the work I do over a DirecWay connection. The speed is acceptable but the latency issues of satellite combined with DirecWay's broken proxy servers preventing XML-RPC calls make work impossible.

Not long ago a colleague asked about cellular-wireless connections. Having had decidedly mixed results using the Treo in this capacity I recommended against it. "It is more hassle than it is worth," I told my colleague.

When I began looking again at what was available I saw the Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U has Mac drivers out there. An express card was a consideration but that would work with only one laptop where the AirCard can go into any of the computers I have or use.

Visiting the AT&T store I confirmed that my part of the world has only EDGE networking and not the speedier 3G wireless. Having heard over and over about how the iPhone is "crippled" by EDGE I was leery and left the store disappointed. In the car a change of heart sent me back in to confirm that I have 30 days to return the card and I put down the cash. Suffice it to say that the first 15 minutes with the card, on the EDGE network, proved that it won't be going anywhere.

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