A ..scary.. brick and mortar experience


A week ago the internet connection at home started acting up. Goes down, then available for a couple hours, then down again.

A big problem!

We’re all so used to have internet that all at once we started being a bit … anxious is not the right word. A bit stressed.

My wife works from home 2 days a week, and she’s heavily dependent for her job on being connected. So she started using her iPhone as a hotspot. Works but not ideal.

I started being uncomfortable as all the bills, home banking, investments (all these things I’m responsible for… ;-) ) are all electronic, so I started feeling a little late for everything. I also began using my own iPhone as a hotspot. Not ideal – slow, some things somehow don’t work. Granted, I could do some of the stuff from the internet connection at work, but it’s kind of in between meetings and things, no time to concentrate.

The boys (and girlfriends) –  when they are around – started clamoring about all their contacts waiting for them on Facebook, that couldn’t wait, so they all went to friends and cafés where they could connect.

A big problem, I tell you!

So I asked one of my sons, who is in between jobs and thus has some free time, to call our internet provider – Scarlet in Belgium. He tried over two days many times, at all periods of a working day, without success. Call the hotline, wait with music for 20 minutes, then the line disconnects.

Impossible to get in touch with these guys. #Scarlet #Fail

So I was sitting and thinking what to do. One of these solitude moments ;-)

And I figured: maybe it is some hardware, wiring, problem… I’ve never paid attention to where the phone wires were – as a matter of fact I don’t even recall ever seeing phone wires in the 25 years we live in this house.

So I took a flashlight and went down in the cellar. Indeed very quickly I found a whole mess of wires on a wall, to which I had never paid any real attention at all before. There is one wire coming from the street into the cellar. It connects to a hub where clearly many people had a go: the phone guys, the alarm system guys, the digital TV box guys and god knows who else. It looks like a wild cat!

But I figured the key thing is this phone wire coming from outside. A big, thick, many times painted over, nailed to the brick wall, wire.

I poked it a bit, took it in my hand, pulled a little …. and there it goes: breaks free! The solution is near!

The house we live is from 19th century, so god knows how old is this wire. For sure more than the 25 years we live in the house. Very brittle, kind of falling apart from age. I took my swiss knife, cut out a 10cm piece of it. Still very brittle. I cut 10cm more. Looked better. Connected the wires to the right spots in the big mess of wires.

Ran up the stairs to the office where the Time Capsule router is.

And miracle: the green eye of the Time Capsule is on! And has been now on for 2 days. Clearly, problem solved.

I ran an internet speed test: I have 20Mbps download speed. We connect the 5-6 computers in the house on this wire. We download all sorts of music and movies all the time from iTunes. And Skype. And digital TV. And Internet radio. On and on and on.

Think about it. All of this on this piece of brittle copper wire coming off the street into my cellar. From another age and generation.

And this wire choose a particular day to start acting up. Isn’t it amazing?

Creative Commons License
This work by Kosta Peric is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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