Saturday, September 10, 2016

Connected and not

Our Internet connection was restored Monday afternoon, six days—pretty much to the very moment—after it was broken. But while we’re connected again, I’ve been swamped with work this week. So, I’m connected, but not.

As I could have predicted, we weren’t told the Internet connection was restored—it just started working again. In fact, I only realised it because my iPad, which is connected to our wifi network, dinged an alert of some sort. Our internal network never stopped working, just the connection to the Internet, so when that was restored we were automatically re-connected.

The first day after the outage, I used my phone for email, and even figured out how to send a file to my computer using Apple’s “AirDrop”, something I’d never had to use before. Then, I started to use my phone as a “personal hotspot”, which allowed my computer to connect to the Internet through my phone and using my cellphone data. I only checked email and did very essential web stuff (like Internet banking) with this setup.

After a day or so, Nigel set up temporary access using a wireless modem sort of thing intended for use with laptops, using pre-paid cellular data. I used it mostly for email and essential web stuff (like my previous blog post, of course), but otherwise tried to avoid using it very much.

We think we’re going to switch Internet Service Providers to one that uses a 4G cellular connection. It’s faster than our wired access, but the main thing is that it’s far less dependent on Chorus, the company that has a monopoly on the copper lines, the wiring cabinets in the streets, and the telephone exchanges. In fact, I don’t know that it uses anything related to Chrous at all, which is ideal.

Chorus is a terrible company. The New Zealand Herald published the results of an investigation into problems with Chorus, describing ongoing problems with the company not maintaining the lines network it’s responsible for. It’s not uncommon, the paper reported, for people to wait weeks or months for Chorus to fix problems. Indeed, when I mentioned this on Facebook, several people told me they’d also had to wait weeks for Chorus to fix they problems they had. I guess we were really lucky we had to wait “only” six days.

Chorus denies that it deliberately underinvests in maintenance and basic infrastructure, and instead blames a shortage of technicians. I have no doubt that probably plays a role, but given the scale of the maintenance and infrastructure problems, it seems kind of obvious that there are bigger problems than mere shortage of workers.

In any case, I’ll soon be returning to regular blogging (thanks for asking, Roger). But first, I have a work project to finish before I can be both connected and connected.

Modern life, eh?

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