Face full of grit

Did a bit of a home-network project today. Kind of satisfying, now that it’s done. While it was in progress… Well, not so much.

The basic problem has to do with how old the house is. It was built to last in the late 1940’s, and that means it’s got some serious chunks of metal in it. The walls are plaster, not drywall, and every plaster corner is reinforced with wire. On top of that, the living room has a coved ceiling. Which means the wireless network I set up has some serious problems getting from one side of the house to the other.

A month or two ago we got a little Airport Express base station. We figured it could act as a repeater node for the home network, and it’d be easier to pack and take on trips than the big UFO of the regular station. Unfortunately, the wireless repeater part of the project didn’t seem to work out. Either my Wife’s powerbook was too old to hop to the new network, or I’d set it up wrong. In any case, a hard wired solution was the only option.

So today I ran network cables all up and down the house. From the upstairs (where the DSL modem is) to the computer room. From the computer room (where the AirPort acts as a router & hub) to the basement. And all across the basement ceiling through the duct work and out the one air vent in the living room that’s next to an electrical outlet.

And down there it seemed like every single thing I touched dislodged a cascade of grit. Nobody dusts on top of ductwork – not unless they’ve got some serious obsessive compulsive disorder or something. So looping a spool of ethernet cable over and around the ceiling pulled down dust that has been accumulating since the place was built. Moving it through the ductwork was like flossing the furnace. And since this was all taking place above my head, gravity was not my friend.

But it works! Happy green lights are lit, the powerbook gets a nice strong signal, and I’m in desperate need of a shower.

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