Just like a plumber who can't fix his own toilet....

Yes, we are very fortunate at Sun to get to work from home. Today I came across the first negative item about it.

When you work in an office all of the IT systems are maintained by the IT. When you work from home, you are the IT group. For the last few days my network bandwidth has been getting progressively worse. It started with my daughter not being able to watch her Hanna Montana videos. Then I started to notice web pages were taking a long time to load, and finally I could not even get attachments with emails.

Step 1 I unpowered everything and restarted it. I knew the problem had to be in the network, because it was effecting all computers on the network. I was testing my speed with speedtest.net. I have Comcast broadband with SpeedBoost or some other marketing term. It is guaranteed 6MB down 768K up. The boost part is that if no one else is using the bandwidth they will let you use it. I normally see my tests in the high teens to low 20 MB down and north of 1MB up. my tests were returning a couple of hundred KB down.

I called Comcast and the gentleman ran some diagnostics from his end and said they did not see a problem. He asked my to plug my computer directly into my cable modem. Bam my bandwidth was back. Obviously not a Comcast problem.

On to the next step. Vonage. I proceeded to plug my notebook directly into the back of my Vonage Router. No bandwidth. I called Vonage. Surprisingly they put me right through to a tier 2 helpdesk guy. He said that he had seen the problem before that we needed to check the firmware of the device. Now while it is a Linksys, once it has the Vonage brand on it you can no longer upgraded the firmware. It has to come from Vonage. It is supposed to happening automatically, but mine had not happened for a while. I was 4 revs down. He had no explanation. He had me reset the router back to the default, and then they where able to push the firmware to it. A few reboots and I had new firmware, my settings back, and my bandwidth was flowing again through the router. I have NO idea why old firmware would all of a sudden prevent TCP/IP packets from flowing correctly but it was.

Now for the weird part. I disconnected my computer from the Vonage device and put it back into my switch and my bandwidth was gone. Back into the Vonage and I had it back. I rebooted the switch but no luck. The switch has no management interface and no way to upgrade it. It is 5 years old so I guess on one hand I got my use out of it.

Off to MicroCenter to purchase a new switch. With it in place everything is working normal again. I will probably never know what caused both my switch and my Vonage device to stop working the same day. The good news is that everything is working great, now. The bad news is that I was the IT department today, and did not have a productive day for my real day job.

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