I will never know for sure when I regained network connectivity on this machine for one outright bizzarre reason. All the time I was checking if I could communicate with other machines on the network by pinging my router. I continuously got 100% packet loss, so I rebooted into Windows, searched around a bit more for new information, asked questions of helpful people online.
Eventually I was able to see the network (identified by its ESSID and the MAC address of the router) but I still couldn’t ping the router. I turned on DHCP and was assigned an IP address, so I was certainly communicating wit the router. Still no response to ping.
The next reboot stalled at the point of trying to synchronise the system clock with an online time server. It had been simply failing instantly at this point and skipping that step, which made me think that maybe it was timing out a name-server lookup instead of just finding no network interfaces. So I tried pinging the router again. 100% packet loss ensued. There was no reason for me to even sonsider pinging the modem instead. If I couldn’t reach the router I couldn’t reach the modem. Nothing I know about networking could possibly have led me to believe that pinging the modem would do any good. So I pinged the modem. And got an instant response.
So, um, when was I able to do this? Who knows. Probably some time after switching the network card drivers from the ones supplied by Linksys to the ones supplied by HP/Compaq for a different card with the same chipset. That’s when the power light came on on the card; it’s when I picked up the ESSID and router MAC address. I still wasn’t able to ping the router at that stage so I thought it still wasn’t working, but then again I’m posting this without being able to ping the router so what does that tell you?
The bottom line is that it works. Now I can get down to sorting out my sound card again. And installing all of my Firefox and Thunderbird extensions. And getting my bookmarks back in order.
After all of that I might tell you about the (potentially) absolutely cool (and by cool, I mean totally sweet) news that I’m too excited about to be able to coherently write about.