Last week we were relating our ongoing struggles with DSL, which concluded with us being disconnected from the world. Our solution, at least until AT&T restored our service, was to set up a wireless connection to our neighbors, the commander and his lady wife, that allowed us to piggyback on their cable broadband service.Last week we were relating our ongoing struggles with DSL (see Gibbsblog for a selection of your comments on this topic), which concluded with us being disconnected from the world. Our solution, at least until AT&T restored our service, was to set up a wireless connection to our neighbors, the commander and his lady wife, that allowed us to piggyback on their cable broadband service.Luckily, some time ago Agere sent us a wireless bridge to review, the Orinoco Radio Backbone Point-to-Point Kit, and as happens on occasion, it got shelved long enough for the company to have sold the product line. The Orinoco brand is now owned by Proxim, and the product has moved on several generations.Anyway, we suddenly had a really interesting reason to try out this now-antique kit. So, where to set it up?Although the distance from the commander's house to the Gearhead Secret Underground Laboratories is perhaps 500 feet as the crow flies, a direct line of sight is hard to find as there's a lot of vegetation in the way.We considered running Category 5 cable down the side of the commander's house to a point where there was a line of sight to the laboratory, but there wasn't a convenient source of power there. The answer would have been Power over Ethernet, but unfortunately the only PoE adapters we could find at Fry's Electronics supported 5 or 12 volts and our bridge required 9 volts.The other choice was a longer cable run around two sides of the house to a vantage point near a handy power point, but then we had an "aha" moment. Rather than completely festooning the house with Category 5, we could use an Ethernet bridge over the house power.So we connected the commander's cable TV modem to a Netgear wall-plugged, Ethernet-bridge transceiver and used another one of these devices outside to provide the data connection to the Orinoco wireless bridge and antenna.To protect the electronics outside the commander's house, we put the whole assembly into a high-tech, $7 plastic CD storage case, which we tied to a pole, and aimed the bridge's high-gain directional antenna at the laboratory.Over there we mounted another antenna on a fence and ran 50 feet of coaxial cable into our comms cupboard. We then connected the transceiver to our gateway, reconfigured our gateway to use a dynamic address delivered from the commander's network so that we could preserve our private address space, fired it up and voila! We were back online!The connection worked pretty well, and while the wireless backbone is capable of up to 12Mbps, the line of sight was a rather narrow channel between trees, which significantly degraded the signal. We didn't have time to do in-depth measurements, but we reckon our overall throughput was around 2Mbps, more than adequate for our immediate Internet access needs.If you care to see what the wireless-bridge installation looks like, check out Gibbsblog, where we have some pictures for your viewing pleasure.What of the DSL connection, you might be wondering. Well, contrary to expectations, we were reconnected on Wednesday evening, but at 1.5Mbps instead of the 3Mbps we were sold by SBC seven months ago when we changed from a static to a dynamic IP address. Turns out we are 15,000 feet from the central office, which means we're too far for the higher data rate to work. (Do we hear a refund?)Curiously, an AT&T tech called us a couple of days ago and ran some mysterious remote diagnostics that told him we are about 9,000 feet from the central office. When we asked why the big difference, he said his tools weren't that accurate, which begs the question, why use them?No one at AT&T can tell us yet why we were disconnected or why it took so long to reconnect us, and our Vonage service is still flaky. Other than that, life is perfect.More tales of the ridiculous next week. Share your angst with email@example.com.