An update to the Internet in an ice chest article

Back in January you may recall I installed internet on a hilltop. The scenario was we needed a way to connect some solar powered cameras that are being used for security at a construction site (along with a couple of wired cameras.) The nearest house is maybe 1/4th to 1/2 miles away and getting the WiFi that far was not something we considered.

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Bucket o’ Intertnet

I turned an Island Breeze cooler into a container that houses a UPS, an Adtran fiber-optic to ethernet box, and a WiFi router. The ISP ran fiber to the pole, and laughingly handed off a fiber connection to my box they placed their Adtran in.

Temperatures over the past few months dropped to below zero (-17c) and ranged up to 107f (41.6c) and sometime last week it stopped working when it was closer to the hotter number. I assumed the UPS had exploded or one of the components failed.

This is a long trip for me, it’s 48 minutes and driving up what can loosely be considered a driveway. I borrow my wife’s Outback to get up the hill at this point because that’s pretty much the wheel clearance I need. Luckily someone was out there and texted me that someone or something had simply pulled the electric cable out.

He plugged it back in, the WiFi popped on, but the internet did not. This meant my equipment was working and the issue was probably ISP side. I needed to come out to verify however as it could have been the ethernet port blew out, or the UPS did fry, or any number of things.

I mean keep in mind, this is internet equipment sitting in a $30 ice chest with a hole in the bottom. The ISP knew what the deal was when they installed it and we assured them we knew how this was probably going to have issues. I wanted to make sure the issues weren’t ours before calling.

I got out to the location yesterday. The WiFi was live but no internet. I could see 3 of 4 cameras were connected. I opened the ice chest and the Adtran had power but no link light on the WAN. LAN was fine. Huh.

Inspected the unit and yeah.. no water, no intrusion, from the WiFi side everything seemed like it should work. Adtran was in the plastic baggie it had been in to double-protect it. Since the power had been unplugged and nobody knew why I went and traced the fiber cable and yup… it had been eaten.

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Not all that evident from the photo, but the cable used to be all black and that was what was eaten off of it.

I initially thought that someone had weed whacked it. Then I realized it died a few days back and I was standing in 4 foot high grass. I also noted that the power cord had no evidence of any damage. Only the fiber cable.

I was not packing a socket wrench with me, which was required to get into the plastic fiber box, so I texted the contact I had (dealing with a local ISP has its benefits,) and told him the story – suspected field mice incursion. Asked what cable we needed and if there was anything in the box that would prevent me from replacing it. He remembered us and said they wanted to come out and make sure nothing else had been eaten. Not a problem with me.

Well that was service. The original tech came out, replaced the eaten fiber optic cable, the entire system came back up without me having to drive out there to even meet with them (I mean seriously, that’s like 1 hour 30 minutes of driving I did not have to do.) Cannot tell you how cool that was.

I will be heading that direction later in the week as evidently in the past couple of weeks after they placed rebar and poured concrete it’s blocking one of the camera’s WiFi signal pretty extensively. I can see it occasionally push notice that someone was spotted, but forget streaming. I mean, we can pull footage after the fact but it’s nice to be able to pop in within 20 minutes of getting an alarm that there’s a person there.

At that point I’m going to cover the incredibly delicious fiber optic cable with an old busted garden hose. After dealing with fiber optic since… I’m guessing 1996, this is my first eaten cable. The guy at the ISP told me they have quite a few replacements monthly as their cables are tasty. I did not know that, or know if he’s joking.

But yeah – still chugging along. United is the ISP. So far they’ve been rock solid and yeah.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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