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ISP outage: my personal disaster recovery


My wife had to work in the middle of the night last and it did not go well. She started around 3AM only to discover that there was no Internet access. The lights on our cable modem looked normal enough, but that was a scam.

Her laptop is Ethernet connected to our router. She tried to get online by connecting to a hotspot from her cellphone, but that failed. I don’t know why, I was sleeping. Her work was time sensitive, so she woke me up.

As might be expected of a Defensive Computing blogger, I was reasonably prepared for an ISP outage. Our router, a Pepwave Surf SOHO, has three inputs. When the cable modem goes off-line, we can feed the router from either a Wi-Fi network or a 4G/LTE antenna connected to the USB port on the router. 

When traveling, the Wi-Fi in a hotel could be input to the router. At home, we use a hotspot from a cellphone. Since this is rare, I usually have Wi-Fi input disabled. Peplink, the company that makes the Surf SOHO, refers to Wi-Fi input as “Wi-Fi as WAN” (to techies, WAN means Internet).



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