When is a router no longer a router?

When, after roughly 10 years of service and for no apparent reason, it decides instead it likes brick form better. Such is what happened to my router on Monday, resulting in my being, well, hammered with emails and other asorted reading material that it took until tonight to finally get caught up on. I had been using one of the old D-Link routers, back in the day when wireless networking was still pretty much getting off the ground. Specificly, I was using this one–discontinued as of March 2008. I bought the thing in 2000 or 2001 or something, and used it to set up my parents’ first network–also my first experience with networking. And my first, and only–thank freaking God–experience with networking involving Windows ME.

The router, and my entire small network as a result, took a very unplanned nose dive at some point early Monday morning while I was still contemplating that whole being mobile thing. There were, from what I could tell, no warning signs or signs of sluggishness–just randomly snap, toast. Deader than Elvice. Of course, being the geek that I am, that had to encourage some troubleshooting. So when I got done with my running around for the day, I came back and devoted part of my evening to see if I can’t coax at least another 30 seconds of life out of the thing. At least long enough for me to finish the backing up of my laptop so I could finish dealing with another, unrelated technical issue–February is apparently the month for those. Of course, not happening. It was done, and there wasn’t any amount of poking and prodding short of prying the thing open and fiddling with the inner workings of it that was about to make it do anything other than sit there. Which, I might have been inclined to do, if I wasn’t lacking both the right type of screwdriver and the motivation to actually bother with it.

Now, ordinarily, such a situation–router suddenly goes sideways and absolutely no idea the cause, plus absolutely no money to immediately rectify the said situation–might have made me consider finding both motivation and screwdriver. You tend to do things like that when your geekyness is impeded by brokeness. But I was kind of forced to plan ahead about a year or two ago. Another issue cropped up, one that I’d originally thought might have been my router contemplating giving out right there–it was about 9 years old, so having it crap out on me at that point wouldn’t have surprised me. That time though it’d been the modem, which I’d only bought from my ISP, TekSavvy, about a month or two before that. fortunately, that was easier than at the time replacing the router would have been–one phone call, and done. But, knowing that I very likely wouldn’t have much longer before going completely netless if it did turn out to be my router, I’d managed to get online for the 20 minutes required to fork over the money for a spare–this was back when I actually had money to fork over for such things. Three days later, this showed up at my apartment. And a day after that, so did the new modem.

Swapping out the modem solved one connection issue. As a result, the router spent pretty much the last year or so in a box. This includes the 4 months since I’ve moved into the new place. And, on Monday evening, after some internal skepticism as to whether or not the thing would still work after it not being used save a brief testing period when I got it, it became pretty much the center of an otherwise unchanged network. Now, here’s hoping the month of technical issues doesn’t continue into March, and here’s hoping if by some twist of fate–or by some act of someone’s cruel sense of humour–it does, that it leaves this router the hell alone. I’m fresh out of spares, and money to fork over for spares. Anyone feel like donating to the Save a Geek foundation?

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