Losing Your @home Service

By Peggy Coquet

Actually, this was a remarkable transition. My son was told by a tech support person that the Portland/Vancouver area was the first to be migrated. Since I was up working all night Friday, I was here when, about 5am Saturday, my cable modem lights winked out one by one. They kept attempting to re-set, but I was basically dead in the water.

A little after 6am, I had to re-boot my computer for reasons not related to internet/email, but I decided to re-boot my modem also. My computer restarted, I got a message saying "A new browser has been detected," and when I said "okay," I got a welcome screen from AT&T Broadband (http://newuser.attbi.com). I clicked on the link to use the awkwardly-named "Configurator." In about 2 minutes I was reconnected, and all my email settings were saved. I didn't lose a single piece of email.

I did have to re-configure my newsgroups, but the software "remembered" which ones I was subscribed to, so it was mainly a matter of re-setting my preferences.

Now, I use my computer for work, so I'm careful in the extreme. I had backed up all my personal settings, saved all my email, and exported all my email settings and address book. I read every single word on every page AT&T gave me, and followed all their advice. (My OS is Win2000 Pro.) But all that was completely unnecessary. The transition was completely flawless as far as my computer was concerned.

When my husband and son woke up, they went through the same process. My son is technically proficient (he designs web pages, and has worked toward MS certification for Win2K server); my husband knows how to read email. Again, using the automated software, it was smooth and fast.

Setting up our home network was another matter entirely. We have a wired network with a 5-port hub so we can share the cable modem and printers. Configuring it was an all-day headache, with three calls to support and no success until I finally, in abject surrender, deleted our previous network and built a new one. AT&T had no second-level support available over the weekend. One issue involved IP addresses. AT&T doesn't provide static IPs. The ones assigned to Steve and me yesterday were the same for the first three number groups, and we were able to "see" each other on the network. Aaron's 3rd block was different from ours, and we were not able to see him, and he was able to see only himself. A call to tech support to obtain a different IP was fruitless; AT&T doesn't offer support for home networks, and there was no second-level tech to give him a new one. He resolved the matter by stealing one. Now, this isn't my favorite solution, obviously. But it worked. So if people have trouble with home networks, they may resolve it be insisting on IPs that have the same first the number blocks for all the networked computers. We'll "get legal" on Monday, when second-level tech support will be available.

In Win2000 you can find out which IP you are using by opening a command ("DOS") window (Start ->Command Prompt), and typing IPCONFIG /ALL. This will give you complete info, including subnet mask, DNS server, etc.

About 4pm everything here was working, and I walked a friend through the same process. Her son (also very technically proficient) reports difficulties with access, but I didn't talk to him about the home network issues. I guess I'm doing a little more free tech support today! <g>

If all my experiences with AT&T are this smooth, it will be a happy thing indeed. They may even be worth the massive numbers of US$$ we send them each month!

Peggy Coquet
PC Desktop Design

To obtain a weekly reminder when new columns are posted or to offer feedback, advice, praise, or criticism write to me: paul@schindler.org

Paul Schindler Home Page | PS...ACOT archives | Journalism Movies