Monday, January 22, 2007

Important Safety Tip: Enable Ping with Comcast

Installing a broadband internet connection and a WiFi router is the the kind of no-brainer that every techie loves. It's simple, it's easy, it's the greatest thing since OO, and it makes us look like frackin' geniuses to our significant others.

It took the Overclock household a while to get to this point: the palatial Overclock estate is far enough out in the boonies that Qwest didn't offer DSL, and our development is old enough that the Comcast cable plant wasn't quite up to snuff. But a couple of years ago Comcast upgraded their facilities, which motivated your correspondent to trundle down to the local COMP USA (pronounced, I am told by my friend Tom O'Dell, "com-pu-sa") for some LinkSys gear. Since my SO and I already had notebooks with WiFi radios, in a couple of hours Mrs. Overclock (a.k.a. Dr. Overclock, Medicine Woman) was looking at me in a way you could only appreciate if like us you have been married for over twenty years.

(About a year later she trumped me by buying a TiVo. Without TiVo, life as we know it could not exist. But that's another story.)

For about a year we lived with the internet connection going down about once a month. Just rebooting the router fixed it. The frequency was just below the irritation threshold required for me to take the time to actually figure out what was going on.

But apparently my subconscious was not willing to let it rest. It suddenly occurred to me: I wonder if Comcast is expiring the DHCP lease if the endpoint does not respond to ping? Being the paranoid sort, I had disabled ping in the router configuration, figuring that some camouflage in the dimly lit back allies of the information superhighway might be a good idea.

The DHCP status page on the router didn't seem to indicate a problem, but I took a chance and enabled ping anyway. Our Comcast connection has worked flawlessly for months since then.

WiFi and TiVo. LiFe is GoOd.

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