Friday, September 4, 2015

Small Adventure 44


We've got 2 computers in the apartment, and occasionally I need to run an ethernet cable to the bedroom, so essentially I need 3 LAN ports. To make things easier, and because I don't want to deal with passwords for locking out the entire apartment building from my modem, I've been using a regular 4-port Logitek router switch. Very occasionally, over the last 4 years, we'd lose internet connection. The first time this happened, we called the landlord (because the building offers internet connection as part of rent) to get the number for the service provider and then called them to find out what was going on. The provider called back a little later to say that they couldn't identify the problem and we should just wait a while and try again. After about an hour of refreshing the computer browsers, the connection came back. Shortly after that, the landlord put up a sign next to the elevator saying that when new renters set up their internet accounts to NOT specify fixed IP addresses, because that can lock out the rest of the building. But, about once every 6 to 12 months, the problem repeats. Usually, we get the net connection again within half an hour.

Until last week. I had to go out shopping in the middle of the afternoon, and both computers were in sleep mode. When I returned to the apartment and woke the computers back up, there was no net connection. I waited a while, then just on the off chance, I disconnected the cable to the switch from the wall and pull out the power supply. I plugged everything back in, and the connection came back. The following day, turning the computers on didn't present a problem, but putting them into sleep mode and waking them back up caused the net connection to disappear.  Rebooting the switch fixed the problem again. So now, I'm getting suspicious. The next day, I wake up, turn on the computers, and there's no net connection. I pull the cables, power down the switch, reset everything, and still no connection, but there is a strange flashing pattern on the front panel LEDs. I press the switch reset button, and still nothing. I start assuming that the flashing pattern represents some kind of error code, and that the switch is probably fried.

I'd had classes in the afternoon, and the first one was to start 90 minutes from that point. So, I headed out of the apartment and walked up to the main train station, and then behind that to get to Bic Camera. They'd rearranged their entire electronics section to make more room for a smartphone sales area, so I spend a few minutes hunting for the modems. There's an amazing number of wireless modems, but again, the apartment is too small to justify getting one (none of the computers would be more than 20 feet from the main wall connection). There are still several models of ethernet router switch, too, but I don't need the 8-port ones with loop detection and automatic port power down if a cable isn't connected. I settle on a little Elecom 5-port (one in-port and 4 out-ports) for under 2,000 yen with tax ($18 USD). I get back home, swap out the switch, and confirm that I've got net connection again. Problem solved.

As a final note, Kagoshima has a small electronics recycling program, where yellow bins are placed at various locations around the city. If something fits into the slot, you can dispose of it this way for free. The old router and power supply fit with no trouble, so that's one more thing I don't have to worry about any more (the bins also have a separate slot for tossing old batteries).

So, one camera down and then replaced, the second one possibly ok. One router switch down and replaced. The print head on the Brother printer went wonky 2 months ago and the printer had to be sent out for repairs. And now, the battery icon on my discontinued model Fujitsu Lifebook laptop is saying that that's about ready to die. (Whispering: And the computer booted up this morning with no internet connection. I had to unplug the power to the new router and plug it in again.) Sigh...

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