Monday, January 09, 2012

Curmudgeon stealing signal while waiting for the Almighty Telephone Company

In this post on Thursday I ranted and raved about my Internet being out... then mysteriously coming back on. There was no change in the physical connections in the meantime (I connect, or I'm supposed to connect, to the outside world via wires).

You can guess what happened Friday from the absence of a post here, and you'd be right: I had no Internet again. This time, however, in my frustration, I did call the Almighty Telephone Company for assistance. I went on the Passage to India. I clicked what I was supposed to click. I read the information on the screen to the man on the other end of the wire. I didn't ask if he was in Mumbai. I often do -- I usually like to learn about the world -- but I just wasn't in the mood Friday.

I went into the equipment room while he tested our modem. The green lights were replaced momentarily with red ones. He could communicate with it. (Happy day!) But the IP addresses showing up on my computer were not the ones they were supposed to be. I disconnected from the firewall, at the request of my Almighty Telephone Company service representative, and plugged the wire from my office directly into the cable modem.

Still, no communication.

Finally, the lightbulb went on. I am not reaching the Internet at all via the wires I pay for. I am stealing a neighbor's signal. I have no idea whose signal I'm using; his -- and I'm using the male pronoun here for convenience and not because I have any idea whether I'm being gender-appropriate -- wireless network does not bear the name of any company in the building. I checked. And if I had a wireless network in my office, I wouldn't want it to bear my company name either, as at least some sort of security measure. Of course, happily for me, my neighbor's wireless security isn't as good as it might be. Once I figured out what was going on, I proved it: Sure enough, when I disabled wireless access, I no longer had the globe representing the Internet on my "Network and Sharing Center" screen.

I think what happened was this: My neighbor -- whichever one it is -- probably took some time off during the holidays and worked some irregular hours. He didn't have his wireless Internet on when he was wasn't in the office. On those occasions "my" service was irregular or nonexistent. I thought it was my equipment. But my equipment -- the stuff I'm paying for -- is apparently irrelevant to my service.

This makes me feel real secure about the confidentiality of my data, too, let me assure you.

My service representative told me he could dispatch a repair person who would arrive between 4:00 and 8:00pm. On a Friday. I said no.

He said he could send someone between 8:00 and 12:00 this morning. I said OK -- as long as this one shows up. The last time I had a repair person promised for Monday, he showed up on Wednesday.

So, I'm waiting here -- impatiently -- at the Undisclosed Location -- for the repairman. Stealing signal in the meantime.

This is completely unacceptable.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well buggers to those internet people!

smiles, bee