Battling the jungle for connectivity

Posted: April 22, 2010 in Technology

My little story about trying to stay connected in the jungle that I posted before isn’t finished yet. As I said, I’m still waiting for 3G and ADSL to both become available in my area. I need them both because neither is reliable enough to count on as my only internet connection. The last couple of weeks have been a perfect example.

Previously I was using the satellite internet system IPStar as my main internet connection. Dial up using my land line was my first level backup. Dial up using my antique Motorola cell phone was my second level backup. That isn’t EDGE or even GPRS. It’s a modem program that runs on my PC and connects via USB 1.0 to my cell phone. It’s very limited but it works in a pinch.

So a couple of weeks ago my IPStar modem quit working. Apparently the LAN port died. When I went to my first level backup I found that the phone line was dead. Great. And then thinking about my second level backup, well the driver doesn’t install on Windows 7, so I would need to use my very old and in bad shape lap top. That’s when I went out and bought an air card, which has become my main interim internet connection (more later about that).

Now the story with my land line is sort of important because in the near future I should be able to get ADSL service and that phone line is critical. After a few calls to the very unresponsive TOT call center we contacted the local lineman and he check into it. Turns out the line had be chewed through by a squirrel. Lots of them around here and they like to run along the power lines so they can travel from tree to tree without becoming vulnerable to predators on the ground. Apparently they also like to chew on the wires. So after more than a week of no land line he got it fixed.

Two days later no dial tone again. We called the TOT office and learned that a truck had struck a pole on the highway and taken out a major trunk running to this area. So my land line was down again, for another week.

A week later, no dial tone again. I followed my wire from my house to where it connects to the main and I see that right at the junction box it is broken and laying on the ground. I bet the squirrel go it again. So as of right now I have my air card and no backup. And I’m thinking that having ADSL service isn’t going to do me much good because my land line will be down so often. This month was about 75% downtime.

My hope is that I get ADSL as primary and that I can get a reasonable uptime, with 3G as backup. ADSL is a prepaid monthly plan. The 3G air card is a pay as you go plan so it is a good backup solution.

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