The unnecessary pain of…

… setting up a home network.

I finally got down to setting up my old wireless router for a friend yesterday. Its a D-Link DI-624+. Now this should have be a relatively painless activity since I had set it up successfully before myself after 1-2 days of Internet-less pain. It was more about the DSL modem settings rather than the router! Now my friend uses a cable modem from SCV MaxOnline, a black box so to speak. Good, one less thing to worry about. Basically the setup is as follows:

1. The cable service provider assigns the external IP address to the modem;
2. The modem hooks up with the router;
3. The router assigns internal IP addresses to its clients (desktops, laptops).

I reset the router to the default settings (DHCP) and it was fine with the IBM Centrino laptop. Wired of course. Then we setup data encryption and wireless connectivity. Voila! Wired and wireless is fine. IBM laptops have their own network configuration software, and it was comprehensive enough that I could get wireless connectivity up and running within 5 minutes.

Time elapsed: 25 mins, inclusive of cleaning the top shelves for a place to put the modem and router and the fact that I had no mouse!

Now we go over to this Acer laptop in another room. Centrino as well. it should be a piece of cake because I just need to key in the wlan ssid and the network key. I use the Windows one, since Acer doesn’t provide the IBM equivalent of the network configuration software. But for some reason the internal IP for the Acer is incorrect, even though I’d made sure that the settings are the same. It doesn’t help that the laptop seems to having some virus/adware issues and slow as hell. I try various combinations to no avail.

Time elapsed: 1 hour 30 mins(?!?), inclusive of booting and rebooting the laptop into Windows.

I finally decide to shift the modem and router into the Acer room, wireless be damned. Billy Bombers was calling out to me. Within 2 seconds, the network card gets a correct IP address and Internet access is fine now.

Time elapsed: 1 hour 35 mins.

So… what was the issue? I used a workaround, but its simply not satisfying. It just might be the router? I should go upgrade the firmware the next time I’m down. Maybe that will help.

*update*

The local D-Link website navigates like:

Tech Support -> Drivers & Updates -> Wireless -> DI-624+

I would expect firmware updates and the link to be hosted here, but its just a product page with some setup information. Perfect.

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Joel Spolsky’s advice on writing skills is great. Besides, speaking and writing come hand-in-hand, no matter the industry. Now I’m grateful for the psychology/social psychology essay practice that I had, even if its all angst and pain then! This is the blog by Wayne Khan, a web developer in Singapore. I’ll write about software development and my experiences as they come along.

After the mandatory conscription that local boys go through, I have been working for a small company called DV9 as a web developer, occasional Linux systems administrator and *groans* telephone helpdesk. That was December 2005. Then, I had a weak grasp of PHP4, knew next to nothing about Linux, except maybe “ls -l”. I (painfully) picked up Perl along the way as well, having had to maintain some legacy apps. Gotta move to PHP5, and then Ruby/Ruby on Rails. Cool new stuff to learn. :)

Everybody is talking about Web 2.0 nowadays, AJAX everything, you know. In fact just surf around and look for sites with “beta” somewhere in its name. Its probably AJAX-ified in some manner. But then the end-users don’t really care — they might not even figure. But here in Singapore, it’s been rather slow but with spiffy browsers like Firefox/Opera, these so-called “rich internet applications” are here to stay. xajax is really cool. I’m no fan of JavaScript, so its great to have xajax be the intermediary between PHP and the web browser.

Besides work, I’ll be graduate with the obligatory computer science degree at UniSIM in May 2007. I major in computer science and have completed the minor part in psychology. Fingers crossed about the summa cum laude. Thinking about the masters degree, if and only if it’s practical. No more of that nonsense like UML and Yet-Another-Hello-World-Application-That-Does-Nothing-Useful.