About 1:30pm today, I lost internet connectivity. It was quite comical, really, how I noticed. For some reason, I did something I almost never do and hit the "Music On Hold" button on my teleworker sets hanging off of Mitel's switch up in Ottawa. So there, in a wonderful use of bandwidth, radio station CHEZ-106 out of Ottawa was streaming into my home office down here in Vermont. (That's what the trial guys are using as the MOH music source for the trial switch to which I am connected.)
All of a sudden, the phone started playing the same audio packet again and again and again... I felt like I was transported back about 25 years to the era of skipping records! I wondered what was up but then I noticed a browser window on my computer not being able to find a link I had just opened to a popular web site. I quickly looked at my other teleworker phones and they, too, were going into a resiliency mode attempting to failover to their secondary IP-PBX. A glimpse at my laptop showed that Skype, MSN, Jabber were all starting their contortions of trying to reconnect.
Being a network geek, I did the usual response of ssh'ing into my home network gateway, looking at the routing table and trying to ping the next hop router. Nothing. Then I did the usual "consumer-hooked-to-a-cable-network" response of power-cycling the cable modem and then re-trying the ping. Nothing.
A quick call to a neighbor who is also a home office worker got me this: "Oh, yeah, they've cut the Internet access as part of the re-wiring they are doing to the neighborhood power lines. Didn't you get the letter? There are all sorts of Burlington Electric, Comcast and Verizon trucks up there right now. "
We did get "the letter", but given that this is school vacation week and we'd been planning to go away, I'd actually forgotten all about the potential problems. Since we decided to stay around, the issue hadn't re-entered my consciousness... perhaps we'll rethink those plans!
I kind of feel like I'm back teaching the "Intro to Networking" classes I used to teach where I'd always say, "Probably 90% of networking issues are Physical Layer - always check your cables first." If the power company cuts your Net access... there's not really much you can do!
(2:20-ish - Net back up... (or else I'd be hard-pressed to post this note))