June 07, 2007

Comcast Cable Internet's On the Blink

Typically, when we lose Internet access at home, my first inkling is to start the finger pointing toward our Airport Extreme base station from Apple. Despite a recent upgrade, it seems we lose all connectivity for about 20-30 minutes of each evening, often at the most inopportune times. But, in a flashback reminiscent of the 2000-2002 timeframe, when this happened all the time, tonight, in our corner of Sunnyvale, it's our cable modem that's literally on the blink, denying us connectivity.

All I have to say is thank goodness for nearby neighbors with unsecured wireless basestations that don't have a password. When our home network goes down, I just go to the Airport menubar and choose one of the available networks and keep going.

But truth be told, any time one of the key cogs to the Internet gets wiped out, it has me thinking how vulnerable our information delivery systems are. Prior to the Internet's pervasive presence, we could expect TV to always be available, or in the case of power outage, it was always a smart idea to have a battery-powered radio handy, to keep updated through an emergency. Now, we have made the Internet a key player in our communication, entertainment, news and commerce. Disrupting Web access for communities, regions or on a larger scale would have dramatic effect. Forget the obvious issues of forcing geeks to go outside of their cubicles without sunblock. It actually could stall the way we operate.

I'm not saying a mere blip in Comcast's uptime is the end of the world. I obviously found a work-around. But today's virtual highways are just as important as the real ones and disruptions or snarls could slow us down in a big way.

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