Gosh, I'm so happy! But, oh, I'm so sad! Here's my story. Told with the ending first. Just so those of you not interested in our continuing saga of Internet access can stop reading after the next paragraph and still know how everything turns out. If you do stop reading now, though, you'll miss the pictures at the end. :-)
Conclusion: We have hi-speed Internet again! Yay!! Bye-bye dial-up, hello 1mb download speeds...whee!
Introduction: The neighbor up the hill from us is a former ham radio operator with a 70' tower on his hill. The local rural wi-fi company contacted him a few months ago asking if they could put one of their transmitters on his tower to enable rural wi-fi Internet access for the area. He said "yes" and many of the surrounding folk have been able to get access other than dial-up for the first time.
Chapter 1: Early last week, we had the wi-fi technician from this rural wi-fi company out to our house to "sniff" for the signal transmitting from our neighbor's tower. If the signal could be detected, our Internet access problem would be solved. If no signal was found, satellite with a 2 year contract (or dial-up) would probably be our only option.
We found out that the transmitter on our neighbor's tower transmits via 'line of sight', meaning our receiver has to literally "see" the transmitter, and, alas, due to the canopy of the huge Douglas Firs between our two properties, this wasn't occuring. At the end of the day, the wi-fi installer dude went away saying it couldn't be done. I said goodbye to him feeling more than a little dejected, but, believing fully in his inherent goodness, knew that he would continue thinking about it after he left and call again later with an alternate plan.
Chapter 2: Sure enough, last Wednesday we got a call from the wi-fi company saying that wi-fi installer dude (bless his heart) had come up with another idea and wanted to try installing a second transmitter much lower on our neighbor's tower, in an attempt to transmit below the canopy of the trees. Excellent plan. So, on Friday, wi-fi installer dude returned to install the second, lower transmitter and then came to our house to "sniff" for the signal again. Success - the signal was found, the speed is excellent, and it looked like all would be working perfectly upon installation.
Chapter 3: Right about this time, I had to leave for an appointment, and handed over the installation reins to my husband. He had come home early from work so he could be here to answer any questions the installer might have in my absence.
When I got home about five hours later, Jim was giddy with Internet connection satisfaction. It was up and running! Due to the fact that our home office is on the opposite side of the house, though, some adjustments had been made and they had opted not to try to run cable through, over, or under the entire house. This seemed reasonable. The two of them, Jim and the wi-fi installer dude, installed the receiver, ran cabling from it underneath the deck, up the wall, into the laundry room and attached it to a wireless router on top of the cabinets in the laundry room. Sheesh, this country living is complicated. The laundry room? But, ok...this doesn't impact doing laundry in the slightest, and we can't see the router, except at night in the dark, when you can see a small green glow up in the left corner by the ceiling.
But this is the part where things get a little dissapointing for me. I don't want to be unthankful or grouchy, but when I had left earlier that day, I had been told that the receiver, a fairly large, square piece of white plastic attached to a gray, metal post, would be installed on our roof. Off the ground. Possibly still within sight, but nevertheless, not anywhere we might trip over it or otherwise be impacted by it. Wrong! Here it is:
Of all the places that it had to be installed, on 7 1/2 acres mind you, it is on the side of the deck railing at hip level, well within sight of the entire landscaped side yard and garden. Not on the roof, not on a pole, not in any of the fields, not on the garage, noooo....right smack dab in the small part that we look out on daily, hourly, maybe more. We can't grow anything around or in front of it to hide it, as this would stop the whole 'line of sight' thingy. And it's brilliant white...like a beacon. It could only be more obvious if it blinked and emitted a loud beeping sound.
Afterword: And so, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." We needed Internet access and we got it, and mighty speedy at that. I am very thankful.
Jim has offered to paint it brown for me. Though, he warns, this could impact the speed. :-)
And now, here's a gratuitous close-up picture of broccoli for you - to make up for me blogging about feeling sorry for myself over something stupid: