This is the conclusion of the saga I started back last month with my TP-Link router…
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m no newbie when it comes to computers, computer systems and the like. I remember (vividly) a time when connecting to a computer network took way more than just flipping a switch. Plug-and-play just didn’t exist in the 1980s. Hell, personal computers were in their infancy at the time I was in high school. A TRaSh-80 was something you got at a Radio Shack. Needless to say, I thought I was equal to the task of figuring this out. Apparently, nothing could be further from the truth.
After having worked on different solutions, for many days I was rewarded with failure after failure. Giving up after the fifth or sixth go-round of shutting off the new router, then the modem, then powering one on and then the other (and vice-versa) I posted a cry for help on the router manufacturer’s help forum. There ensued a spirited conversation with a couple of tech-heads, but the solution remained elusive. Although in the end, at least one hit on the right idea, even if it was sort of backwards when he suggested it.
I ordered a replacement from Amazon, thinking the router I had was defective. Amazon was very obliging and sent me one in a couple of days. Being wary of failure, I put off trying it out for about three weeks. I’m an ace procrastinator when I have the opportunity. I definitely put that to good use, even though I should not have. This week I’ve been on vacation and many opportunities to work on this presented themselves. But like some other things I’ve been meaning to do, it was put off time and again.
Until yesterday morning. It just so happened that my wife had a dentist appointment in the afternoon, and I’d successfully discovered a manual for the fiber modem that I have. Of course it’s not so easy as you’d think since it’s written in Portuguese. Still, it had pictures, so with my basic understanding of a bit of Italian and Spanish, I pieced together how to disconnect the fiber line from the modem, having hit upon the idea it might be keeping power to the modem even after having disconnected the power cord. After a little pulling and squeezing, I was finally able to remove the cable without breaking it. The manual for the modem said to wait at least five minutes for the modem to ‘forget’ the MAC address of the old router. Just to be sure, I waited eight minutes. Put everything back together, powered things up and crossed my fingers. Green light! Success! I fixed…oh damn. It went back to Orange. And stayed there. Checking the web browser, setting up the router for the umpteenth time, I determined it still wasn’t connecting to the internet.
The time had come. Cracked open the new router, saved the packing material and put the other one into the new box for shipping back to Amazon. Connected it to the modem, turned it on and….bupkus. It didn’t connect. Again. But even with this failure I discovered it wasn’t the router, it was something else. Apparently at my ISP there was a breakdown in communication. So I called their helpline and talked to one of the customer service reps. I was all prepared to explain everything that I did when she mentioned that she needed to open an IT support ticket. For what purpose I inquired. So one of their techs could erase the MAC address of the old router from their system, thereby allowing the new router to communicate with them. I asked how long it was going to take. Just a few minutes she replied, but they had to call me back. So I was going to be offline for awhile. Unless I wished to reconnect the old router while I waited. Thinking that was going to be more trouble than it was worth, I told my wife we were going to be offline for the time being, if she needed to connect to the ‘Net I could create a hot-spot on my phone and she could connect to that. She said she was ‘good’ she could wait.
Less than 30 minutes later the phone rang. George was on the line, ready to help. I explained in basic detail what the problem was, even admitting that I’d dismantled the modem I had been provided four years ago, having been extra careful not to damage it. I even lamented over the fact that the fiber modems they provide for their customers are nearly impossible to troubleshoot, as they don’t have easily accessible operating manuals. Unless you’re ok reading Portuguese. He apparently was unaware of it, but as I had apparently reassembled the modem correctly, he was able to see that it was online, but the router wasn’t powered up as he wasn’t seeing it operating from his end. I have to be honest, when he said that it was a little creepy, that even though he was a good 12-15 miles away, he was able to see whether or not the modem was connected on my end, and the router wasn’t transmitting. When you think about it of course it makes sense, they’d have to be able to see the hardware from their end in order to be able to better troubleshoot.
George asked for the MAC address of the old router. I read it off to him, he confirmed that was the one that was listed in his system. He asked for the new router’s address. I provided that as well, he swapped out the addresses in his terminal and asked me to reconnect the router to the modem and power it up. Voila! The light turned green and stayed that way. I went to the web browser, set up the router through it and it connected to the Internet as if it had been doing it all the while. Damn. I thanked George, he asked if there was anything else he could help with. I said no, getting the router connected was my concern and that was now accomplished. He wished me a good day, said if there was any further issues to give them a call and terminated the connection.
All for the want of a horseshoe nail. Or a phone call.
My only lament is I sent back to Amazon a perfectly good router that wasn’t broken. And that I spent a month troubleshooting and procrastinating when that phone call could have easily been made. Damn it.