dvd3000.ca / computers / scruffytel


A Network Technician's Nightmare
or, how I (horribly) networked what Telus wouldn't

Too Long, don't wanna read?:
ScruffyTEL: The Photo overview
(send your networking friends into shock with this gallery!)

telus: *ding-dong* hi

The internet connection in the dvd3000 household is unfortunatley provided by the Canadian Internet, Telephone and... Healthcare(?) provider Telus.

Yeah, I've joked about Telus quite a bit already, especially with my friends who get irritated with me because sometimes I just outright can't play an online game, or do a voice call with them.

To be fully honest, I hate Wi-Fi. In my experience (with a crappy router, mind you) it has been slow, unreliable and frustrating for years. WiFi should be for mobile devices such as laptops only, not for desktop PCs! Houses these days should have ethernet jacks in rooms where computers are expected to be set up! (well, that's just my opinion, not the rest of the world, seeing as regular desktop PC usage is basically dead to laptops and toy cellphones)

But I've wanted my solution for years and years to be ethernet! Ethernet has been severely underrated in the home market for years. Not just because this house is from the 60's but in the whole house there is... ONE ethernet jack... behind the living room TV.

So my plan was like a 2 headed... um monster or something. It would bring the wired ethernet connection to me, and would bring faster wifi speeds to all the other losers in the house who use mobile devices!

So, I talked it over on the phone with Telus, and I try to describe the situation to this guy on the phone. I wanted an ethernet jack in the garage (VERY close to the existing jack in the living room). That's it, one jack about 4 feet away from the other jack, through one wall. Just drill through the wall? I emphasized the word <<drill>>, and the guy on the phone said "uhmmm ok we kan do tat but dat will be $75 per jack" and I'm already here like :/ I just said I wanted one jack, and also, $75?! I'd be better off buying the dang tools myself to do this.

So on July 28, 2022, ding-dong, knock on the door, it's Telus. Love to see you guys again. FUUUCK. I really should have just done this myself, gained the experience and been done with it, why did I call Telus?

So, I show this guy the existing jack, and how close it is to where I want another jack, and he says "no we can't install a jack in this room". I made it clear to the guy on the phone what the situation was, but he clearly didn't write any of that down, cause when they sent this technician out here, he had no idea that the garage is made of plywood, and for some reason, Telus is "not allowed" to drill through plywood, only drywall.

What kind of stupid excuse is that? Why does it make any difference what the wall is made of? It's still the same insulation and wires and stuff inside the wall, and also, they still have to drill through the siding of the house to bring the cable in, and the siding is made of... get ready... WOOD!! Why can they not drill through wood when they're already drilling through wood.

I know that network technicians aren't construction workers, they don't know if theres a electrical wire, water line, or even a gas line in that wall that might blow up when he cuts into it, I understand that, but I clarified from my experience of me putting said plywood on the walls, that there is none of that shit in those walls, but he kept with whatever lame excuse of "muh plywood" or whatever. So this dude comes out with his "solution"

Oh crap. He's gonna grab a shitty WiFi booster, and yep. Here it comes, a Telus Wi-Fi booster.
So how he set this thing up, was that it's just one device, and it receives a signal from the main WiFi router (oh nooo) and gives you ONE ethernet jack. Just one. BUT, when I ran a speedtest with my computer plugged into that thing, I couldn't believe what I was seeing at all. 100MBPS? I switched back to the regular WiFi router and got 7mbps.

First of all, how could I get 100mbps out of something connected to the same thing that shits out 7mbps, and second of all, I guess our main WiFi router is just burned and fried, but I'm still gonna set this up anyways, cause somehow, Telus guy was right, that thing is inexplicably just as fast as ethernet. Well, with just one device at least. That would soon change...

I got that one ethernet jack all to myself, and you bet I am going to make the most of it.

And so, already starting out on the wrong side of the bed, the ScruffyTEL project was born.

Here is that WiFi receiver. You start out with just one ethernet jack, so at first, I used a crappy D-Link router from 2007, plugged the receiver's output into that router's input, and just like that, we're a little better, 4 ethernet jacks at our disposal, in the garage where we want 'em.

At first, I wanted ethernet in the garage for all the stuff we had in there. The Garage PC, another PC with no Wi-Fi card, a Network Video Recording system, and... something else... all connected right in the garage, and that all works out fine, except for the speed. The crappy D-Link router instantly bottlenecks the connection down to 54mbps, which really isn't bad I suppose, but not as good as it was before.

Cause that's one thing, how can you be so enthusiastic about having a 200mbps internet connection, when how many websites are even that fast? Except for Google and Netflix or the other billion dollar websites that can afford badass speeds, you are barely benifiting from faster and faster internet speeds. Just run a speed test on your favourite non-billion-dollar website and see that you could be on 10mbps and not feel a change.

With plans to replace it in the future, I kept the crappy D-Link router and continued on. I remember my Mom and Brother complaining about how slooow the Wi-Fi is upstairs (this is NOT even a big house!), so I figured I'd kill 2 birds with one stone and install a Wi-Fi router upstairs, and also have my ethernet upstairs at my computer!, and that would be made possible by our old Wi-Fi router, and a 100ft ethernet cable that I found at Value Village.

Okay, I know the 100ft is overkill, but every ethernet cable in existance is only like 3ft long... But we have a bigger problem: The ethernet is now in the garage... Well, that's better than the living room, but we still have to get it upstairs.

Well, the best part about a garage, is that you can drill holes and nobody cares! So, I grabbed the drill, setup the hole saw, and using a precise eyeball measurement to avoid drilling through my parent's floor, I drilled right into the ceiling.

But what's in the ceiling? Well, let me show you. Above the garage is the attic, which I just drilled into. Great, but how does that help us? Well, my bedroom closet is right on the attic wall! (But I'm getting ahead of myself)

So, yea I got a hole saw, I drill through the ceiling, It's going to smell like burnt wood for 20 years now, but floors are THIC, and it can't reach the other side. So, I'd have to drill a pilot hole, so I'd know where do drill on the other side, but I swear, every drill bit in this toolbox is either too short, or WAYYY too long, so long that I couldn't even fit the drill upright in my drilling area!... so I went in the attic and just unscrewed and removed the floorboard in that area... now, I just start pulling the cable through!

It was good that my eyeball measurement was that precise, I even pulled it away from the wall a couple inches for good measure, because it ended up literally right in the corner of what would have been inside my parent's room or closet if it were any closer... whew!

And, being the middle of July, in a heat wave in 35 celsius, in an uninsulated garage and attic... I probably lost 6 lbs that day just from sweat. If you've never been in an uninsulated structure before, I swear it amplifies whatever temperature it is outside, it BURNS in the summer and FREEZES in the winter, it's literally nicer to go outside than to be in the garage.

So, now that I had the cable through, I had to drill into my closet, but there's a large area to choose from. Wherever I drill will either end up in my parents closet, and I will be killed, OR I end up in my closet, and it's in a stupid place on the wall. To avoid this, I went upstairs into my closet to drill from there first.

The only problem with my closet, is that years ago, I made a makeshift cabinet out of a bunch of office crates and wood packaging material, and you cannot move that shelf, or it will... fall apart. Completely. So after moving a LOT of crap (and practically making the mess that would be if I just tried to move the cabinet), I had just a tiny space right in the corner in the corner between the wall and my crappy cabinet.

So, I somehow managed to actually get a picture in here. This tie I was able to use the long drill bit as a pilot this time, which was definitley necessary. I drilled a pilot hole, drilled with the hole saw, and now we got a perfect hole, and a starter hole ready to go up in the attic, so off I go back into the attic to die.

So, easy enough, I drilled a hole in the attic side too, and to push the cable through, I taped the ethernet cable to a drill bit, and shoved that through the wall. Success, we now have an ethernet cable in my closet! But, how does that help us?

Well, using the power of THIS! Yes, THIS slammin' Netgear Nighthawk router was our old router. I have no idea why Telus thought that we needed this, but this was the router that we used before Telus "upgraded" us to their toilet router. This router is insane and still being serveral years older than the toilet router, it's hundreds of times better! That cable that I spent all that time getting up here, is plugged into this router, leaving ethernet jacks in my bedroom like I wanted, and exceptional WiFi speeds for the upstairs level of the house.

So, that's where I left it off for a while, as insane, convoluted and wrong this setup is, man does it work, and without considerable speed loss, but it was about to get better.

After months of searching for these items at Value Village, I gave up and bought them at London Drugs instead, which was insane by the way. After years of being a scavanger, thrifter and general cheapskate money saver, actually buying something new from the store that wasn't food, and having to pay regular store prices was insane to me...

3 Items, the most important being this 5 port D-Link network switch to replace the crappy D-Link router from 2007. This thing is much more suited to the job, and removes the bottleneck, keeping the upstairs Netgear router still at 100mbps!

The box makes that thing look huge, but heh, it's tiny! It's so small and light that the cables just rival the mass of it and pull it around. It's even powered by a Mini-USB power brick, so I could probably just plug it into the garage computer for power and free up an outlet.

Inside that huge box was a load of cardboard padding, and the product itself. No manuals, minimal plastic, and looks like fully recyclable. It's so nice to see compaines taking a step in the right direction of limiting the sheer amount of WASTE in the packaging of products.

But this was dumb, I needed a manual for this thing... how do you turn it on? I looked it up on google with no results, and I felt like the biggest dumbass in the world until I found out... the USB cable needs TWO clicks to be fully inserted, not just one click. Same with the ethernet cables, 2 clicks is fully inserted, one click isn't enough (weird).

With mental retardation out of the way, the other 2 things I bought, a extremely basic extension cord just to power the router in my closet, and also a 15 foot ethernet cable.

I bought that cable because, like I said, every ethernet cable in existance is only like 3 feet long, and my PC is over 2x (WOW) further than 3 feet away from the closet router, so I actually had to buy an ethernet cable for the first time... so I could plug in one PC.

But then I remembered that crappy D-Link router! Yes, I know, I bring back the bottleneck by using that, but whenever I get another switch it will be replaced. I just plugged the D-Link router into the Netgear closet router via my 15 foot ethernet cable, and with that, every computer in my room can now have hardwired ethernet, thanks to all my 3 foot ethernet cables, and a networking solution that would make any network technician kill me on the spot, and cable management to make linustechtips burn down my house.

But it was cheap, and it works, dude. It works, and what more do you want?

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