I have had a number of clients recently with problems connecting to the Internet. This is the sort of thing that drives IT professionals mad because there’s so much involved.

 

  1. The Internet service provider’s connection to the exchange.
  2. The physical connection from the exchange. Commonly it is copper wire although fibre is becoming more common.
  3. The internal wiring within the property. This is most likely to be telephone wire.
  4. The router. Depending on your Internet provider this will be called a bewildering number of different names. BT calls it a HomeHub.
  5. Then comes the connection to your computer, tablet, phone, TV, fridge, etc. Either wireless, wired or via a Powerline pair.
  6. Finally we get to the gadgets themselves.

Thing is a fault in any one of the above can stop your Internet connection. When you add an issue with one or more of the other variables, you might understand why, when someone rings me up asking me if I can fix there Internet connection, my first response is to ask questions rather than say yes straight away. The chances however are very good that I will be able to sort it out for them.

My expectation is that most people prefer to know what sort of money they are likely to be spending. Trouble is that depending on what has gone wonky, some things will take longer than others and therefore inevitably cost more.

And there’s the rub. All time is not equal. When clients hire me they are not paying for my time, they are paying for around thirty years of experience with computers going back to before there was an Internet (imagine!). No one can say they have seen all there is to see and know all there is to know, particularly about the Internet, so in the interests of sanity, I won’t claim that!

What I will say, and I won’t charge you for this, is never assume something you are seeing is the same as something you have seen before. It may look the same and it may have the same results, but that doesn’t mean the cause is the same. Take the example above. What you see is your browser reporting that the page you want is not available. Care to guess which of the issues it is or would you like a little help with that?