So, it's a sad state of affairs when you have a network outage because of the way your kids put things away. But that's what happened in our basement family room, where the kids shoved so much crap onto shelves that it pulled down my homemade wire run. That, in turn, put just enough strain on the terminals in one RJ-45 jack in my wiring closet – slash – network hub rack – slash – WAN equipment area (the place where my hub, router, and cable modem live) to cause a pair of wires to touch, creating an interesting cross-talk problem that took me a while to track down.
Apparently, that was all it took to push a 10-year old pocket hub that had been holding together my second-floor segment of the household LAN to decide its time had come, and it crapped out completely. It seems it was for the best anyway–my network speed has improved radically, so I suspect the hub was causing some latency or collision problems that I had never noticed. Hasta la vista, hublet.
Meanwhile, for a week, my sons had no Internet access while I tried to find the time to isolate the wiring problem and fix it. Tonight, I found the offending wiring block and re-did the punchdowns; within minutes, they were watching the new Harry Potter trailer.
Yet another reason to go totally wireless in our house, I suppose. But if we did that, all my 10Base-T skills would go to waste…