I had to buy a new cable modem this week, after getting six years out of the old one. I suppose I shouldn't complain, because over that time I probably saved $150 versus renting the cable company's modem. It's just that spending anything at all feels lame because there isn't really any gadget that you could buy that's less interesting.
So what happened? The going theory is a lightning hit. When we got back from our vacation, the "receive" light on the modem was green instead of blue, meaning that it was only receiving on one channel. It can normally do up to 8, which is why it could (in theory) download as fast as 304 Mbits, but was stuck at 38 or less (we pay for 50). It was also dropping connection any time we really started pulling data down, as in streaming video. That made work hard, because it's not uncommon for Simon to be watching something, maybe Diana watching something else on her iPad in her sewing studio, and me working with an IP phone, VM connections, desktop sharing and regular Interneting. It was a real drag.
So after a service call yesterday morning, I bought a new modem from BestBuy (on sale, cheap as Amazon), but it didn't work. Second guy came out late, and the new modem was putting out too strong of a signal, so it was likely defective. Shit. Then, this morning, I went and exchanged it for another, and sucked it up to buy a more expensive one that could go up to 300 Mbits if I wanted to pay for it. Sure enough, they lit it up, and I was back to my 50-ish down, 5 up. The little plastic object has since been banished to a place under my desk, where I will never think about it again until it breaks.
Unfortunately, I still have one other issue, in that my Airport Express won't see the backup drive that I have connected to it. That's a drag, because that's where we backup our stuff from the desktop and laptops. I imagine it could also be lightning related, and annoying because the routers are not as cheap, and I lost one about 18 months ago to lightning. Come to think of it, I should double check the grounding on the outside of the house.
Still, boring purchase. On the bright side, I'm not spending a lot on the business lately (pretty much anything related to connectivity is a business expense because of the sites), so it's not a big hit. It just doesn't do anything, except enable everything.