April 11, 2006
Turns out my cable modem was going bad. The technician came and tested the signal strength in my apartment and declared it "perfect." (He said a range of +15 to -15 was acceptable, but that -3 is where you wanted to register. Mine signal is a -6.) He did swap the final three feet of cable (from the wall outlet to the modem) with a high quality one so that when he left everything was working.
Within twenty minutes the signal was dropped again. So I went off to get a new modem. Thanks to a friend at work I tried the Road Runner office first and was able to get one for free (it's included in the monthly charge) which save me from spending $70 or so at the computer store.
After coming home and getting everything installed I was faced with another problem. The ThinkPad would wirelessly connect, but neither Mac would. I ran Network Stumbler on the ThinkPad and discovered that several of my neighbors are running WiFi hotspots all on channel 11. So I switched mine to channel 6 and now everything connects just fine. A quick reset of the Lexmark and Tivo to get them connected again and I am once again up and running.
Next project: converting to fixed IP addressing so that each device maintains the same address through reboots, and recycles of the router. I do enough machine to machine stuff that I would be nice not to have to look up the target IP address all the time.