My Web-site is to be offline, for approximately a week.

One of the facts which I’ve posted about before, is that in a way which is atypical, I host both my Web-site, and therefore also my blog, on my personal computer at home. This does not mean that I recommend other people do it this way, this is only the way I do it.

One implication of that is, that the visibility of my blog is only as good, as the visibility of my PC on the Internet.

In recent days, there has been some problem with my Router / Modem, that has prevented me from defining port-forwarding rules, for inbound connections. And what this means is, that my site, and therefore my blog, cannot be visible on the Internet, obviously.

Even though it’s not obvious what has gone wrong with my router, I’m working with my ISP to resolve the issue. However, we’ve already decided that the technician which my ISP is to send me, will only arrive next Monday, November 19. Therefore, this outage will last for an unusually long time, namely, for about a week in total.

I apologize if this has inconvenienced any of my readers.

Even though my blog is currently not visible on the Internet, this fact does not prevent me from accessing it, and from adding entries to it, as usual, during this outage.



Internet TV and Bit-Rates

When we hook up our Internet TV box for the first time, we are allowed – in most cases – to set our TV resolution to 1080p. But the reality today is, that this resolution does not by itself state the picture quality.

Such video streams are sent to the receiver in compressed format, and the compressed bit-rate is a more accurate indication of what the actual picture quality will be. I.e., even if the basic format is 1920×1080, by compressing the stream more, lower bit-rates can be achieved, at the expense of picture quality.

Modern Internet TV boxes are quite intelligently programmed, to be able to change the bit-rate in mid-stream. Thus, when my ‘Roku‘ started buffering, during an initial test, it did not only allow for its buffer to catch up with the point in the movie I was watching, but also noted that the real bit-rate of my connection was not high enough to support the highest quality level, available at 1080p. Immediately after that, the picture seemed slightly less sharp, but as I continued to watch, the overall quality of the picture started to recover again.

My Roku has never had a streaming-interruption since then.

In fact, the way it is with HDMI connections to our TV, it is impractical for the source of the stream to change the picture-format in mid-stream. It tends to stay fixed.

And when we compare Bell Fibe – which is a service offered by my ISP, also to stream TV to me via DSL – its reason for maintaining a consistent picture-quality is actually different. In this case, the bit-rate of the Fibe stream is reserved at the Modem / Router, which also belongs to Bell. I.e., the Bell Modem can ensure that a certain rate of bits per second are available for TV, and can do so at the expense of actual computers also trying to communicate. My Roku is counted by the Bell Modem, as just another connected WiFi client.

What this actually means, is that if another person is considering buying a Roku, but worried that his Internet is not fast enough – as long as he does have some form of high-speed Internet – he need not worry much. The receiver would detect his slow connection, and adjust the picture quality to suit.

Also, with a Roku, we get to set the picture format to 720p instead, so that the required bit-rates start at a slower one.

If my TV was a 4K TV, I could set the format accordingly, but then I would worry, that this might be time and money wasted, because then, the picture quality on my network might not keep up with the 4K format.



Renewed Hope in my DSL Connection

No matter how advanced a civilization becomes, it is my belief that there will always be the possibility, of some sort of malfunction or unforeseen source of problems. And one main reason I think this, is the fact that superior capabilities, eventually also encourage superior ambition. A civilization will want to do more, if it is capable of doing more, so that the chances of malfunctions return.

If most home users suffer from temporary disconnections from their DSL, it means little to them, because they may have no personal need to use the Internet at one moment. My case is a bit different, because first of all, my numerous computers are generally using the Internet, even if I am not at home, and because secondly, I am using my home IP address to host a Web-site, access to which will be interrupted, even though I was not home when the connection failed.

In recent months, I have experienced disconnection issues with my DSL. But I have renewed hope that the most recent solution, enacted yesterday, may actually put a fix to them. My reason is as follows:

The technician connected my twisted-pair of wires to a different circuit-board in the junction box, which was supposed to have been the correct circuit-board in the first place. I.e., during tech-support calls in the past, the representative got the reading that I was not connected, even though on my end, I was able to surf. At the same time, the technician yesterday also gave me a new DSL modem.

What this means is that basically, all the circuitry which is providing my DSL has been exchanged. There is little left, that could still cause malfunctions at this time. The only reason I could think of, why there might still be a problem, would be if the actual twisted-pair of wires, that stretch from my home to the junction box, was still a point of failure.

But according to what was done on November 10, there was a Wasp Nest in the cable, which was cleared out, after which the wires were reconnected. Once they are reconnected, there is little else that can go wrong with them – unless this time, maybe a beaver thought that the telephone cable was his source construction material for a den, or some such nonsense. :)

So let us hope for a stable connection, now.