Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World

28-Aug-2002

Bad network…BAD network! No treat for you!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 4:03 pm

Electrical storms, Ethernet connections, and network cards don’t mix.

“Huh?”, you ask, oblivious to the “A network cable has been disconnected” messages which have been flashing across my screen for most of the past week, taunting me as only an inaccurate error message can.

OK, I’ll tell the story from the beginning.

Monday evening, I returned to my dorm room to find that the Ethernet port I normally used had somehow lost its connection to the network. A common occurrence, I thought, not at all unusual; I’ll just wait till tomorrow and let Technical Support fix it. And so I did.

By lunchtime on Tuesday, however, there was still no connection to be found. At that point, however, I remembered that there was another Ethernet port in my dorm, and decided to plug my network cable into that port instead. The result? Connected…for about a minute. Then the connection inexplicably dropped, causing the computer to display the above-mentioned error; seconds later, the connection was restored…for about another minute. Lather, rinse, repeat. Aha, a problem with the network port!, I thought. After all, if something happened to disconnect one of the ports in my room from the hub, then there was a good chance that the other port had been affected as well.

So I waited for Technical Support to come around, dropping by the computer labs in the music and computer science buildings to feed my Internet addiction while the support office was closed. Unfortunately, as the techs pointed out to me this morning, the situation was worse than I had feared; my network card, it turned out, had apparently gotten “fried” by the same surge which caused the first port to lose its connection to the network.

Anyway, though, I’ve bought a relatively inexpensive PC card through which I’m (quite successfully!) connecting to the network now, and I plan to bring my laptop to the Gateway store so they can take a look at the internal network port which was affected. And I’ll be sure to unplug my computer from the network from now on when I’ll be gone for an extended period of time– especially when there’s a good chance of electrical storms, naturally.

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