unstrangled at last

Toronto, 2018.02.23

After years of substandard home network performance, I've finally taken the plunge and built a proper network at home. I've deployed a modest Gigabit eight-port "smart" switch to offload switching from the cheap all-in-wonder modem/router from our ISP. On the far side of the cat-6 Ethernet line that runs the length of our apartment, I've added a second, even more modest five-port unmanaged switch. The reason for this was the major driver of this overhaul: I was finding it difficult to continue to use my client's VPN and maintain a phone conversation – we're on VOIP, and when working from home I was using it constantly. To solve the curious problem of the crazily inconsistent wi-fi across the front of the apartment, I deployed a powerline network adapter "starter kit". This utilizes the apartment's electrical wiring as a network. I've strung a second unmanaged switch on that, so Mari can do her currencies day-trading on the two laptops with greater ease and performance. And finally of course I've connected the TV to the managed switch via a second cat-6 cable.

If I'd had any idea how much this would have helped, I'd have done it years ago. Simply everything is working better. All of my suspicions about using the telco's modem/router as a switch have been proven true. And while I was skeptical of the powerline adapters, they've been a revelation! When the kids get older I'll buy a second pair and wire up their bedrooms.

But my next immediate move (once I've bought a few patch cables - how many of those have I thrown out over the years) will be to string up an old wi-fi router somewhere that has line of sight to the entire front end of the apartment. E.g. the corner where the Christmas tree goes.

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rand()m quote

(In which I leave the final word to someone else.)

One day you will take a fork in the road, and you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way and you can do something [...] for yourself. If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted and get good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you have to make a decision. To be or to do.

-John Boyd, US Air Force