Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
  Getting more reliable access
It looks like I may be able to get DSL soon which is really cool. I have high speed access, but its wireless and so is prone to problems. Like right now I'm trying to listen to streaming radio (Classic Techno) but every two minutes it stops and then has to rebuffer the stream. Besides interrupting the music, it also moves keyboard focus which is really annoying. Other times it the link will block up for about four minutes (usually right after I've come back from a break and just started using the net again). And then there are the major outages where a box get stuck once or twice a month and either gets reset after an hour by some watchdog circuit, or is down until I can get John on the cell phone and get him to drive the snow cat back up the mountain to the towers and fix whatever went wrong. Its just not something you can count on, which gets to be a problem when your trying to do an IM, a remote debug, or VoIP.

Finally Qwest has upgraded the fiber drop that services this are of town (our lines don't go back to a central switch, they're terminated in the field in a big fiber demux). It turns out I should be able to get service immediately. However, I know it won't just be a matter of turning it on for the phone company, because despite them giving me three pair service wire for direct burial (the line that runs from the street to the house), they only ran one pair down the pole, so they're going to have to roll a truck out our dirt road and run another pair (or two) of wires down the poll.

Of course once they get the lines to my outside junction box, I'm all set. I've got eight pairs of CAT-5 running from the outside service junction back to the basement punchdown block where I have all the ethernet and phone lines in the house running to. Someday its going to be this organized thing, but for now all the cables pour out of the conduit, spilling all over the floor and shelves. I've taken a very skattershot approach to terminating them as well. I've only put ends on the wires I've needed so far, so about 60% of the house is wired and the rest is still just raw cable. Its one of those projects I still have to "git to".

If I do get service, I'll probably stick with the radio connection as well. Maybe scale back on rate level. Because 1) I know that DSL isn't going to be perfectly reliable and 2) the backchannel rate on radio is symmetric (so right now I have both 640k uplink and downlink). Between the two, I should be in pretty good shape.

A Local Loop Tour

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