All I know about networking, I learned at home. From humble modem-based beginnings I have now got a nice range of little boxes scattered around the house, each with it’s own set of blinking, flickering or steady-state LED’s.
Networking still seems to be a hit-or-miss business — the cure for any kind of problem iss always to randomly reboot equipment, starting at the cable modem and working along to each connected device, until everything works again. If this technique fails then try fiddling with settings on the router. So it’s always a bit of a thrill when you add something new to the network and get it working. Such was the case with my NSLU2, the purchase of which was inspired by having a spare 120Gb USB drive hanging around (and which has performed flawlessly ever since). By the way, I was pretty glad to see that Cisco bought Linksys — I can almost plausibly claim that my house is “a Cisco shop” now and sound a little more professional than being Linksys ;)
The ultimate challenge was accepted last week when I attempted to integrate my new TiVo box into the network using a Linksys WUSB11 antenna which was not on the compatibility list. Sure enough I found that the TiVo required a restart before it would connect to the internet. I also found an upgrade to my Linksys BEFW11S4 wireless router that fixed a problem of communicating between the wired and the wireless sides of the network.
The end result is that the TiVo no longer needs the phone line, and I can download programs from its 80Gb internal hardrive to the 400Gb Hitachi drive in my desktop. I can also use the TiVo to view photos and play music stored on the drive attached to the NSLU2 through my PC … nice! I remember mentally pooh-poohing the idea of 802.11g when it first came out, but now I’m thinking “upgrade!” because waiting for 38 minutes to transfer a 30 minute episode of Cook’s Tour just seems somehow primitive. On the other hand, TiVo don’t list any LinkSys 802.11g adapters as “recommended” so that plan will be on the back burner for a while.
By the way, I also see that the router that I think I paid close to $100 for a few years ago is now selling for $19.99 on Amazon (after the hated mail-in rebate, of course) while the WSB24 Wireless Signal Booster costs $60 — what’s up with that?