So my home internet has been down. It was intermittent there for a few days. At first, I couldn't use any browsers (Firefox 3, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer 7) but email (Thunderbird) and instant message (Pidgin) worked. I'd reboot and it would start working again. Then the whole thing failed. The AT&T representative named "Norm" (from India?) was surprisingly helpful the first time I called. We went through a number of steps and tests, removed the router from the setup and suddenly it started working again. He tried to help me with the router too, which I didn't expect, but his documentation on my router was out of date and we couldn't really get very far. Still, I was impressed that the guy helped me as much as he did. He was pretty helpful, but I just didn't believe that it was the real issue. I put the router aside for the moment planning to revisit the issue later.
I thought that it was fixed, but it was still acting up. Days later, it quit again entirely. I should have known that this wasn't really the issue. It feels like two separate issues. One is that the browsers are all locking up in the middle of loading a page. I could surf for a while and load page after page. Then one more link and the new page just spins and spins and never loads.
So on my next call, I spoke with "Andy" (again, I doubt that was the name his parents gave him). He was helpful, but he got to a point where he decided on what the issue was a little too quickly for my taste. He told me simply that my router might be broken or ready to quit and suggested they send me a new one. He'd have to extend my service for another year if I wanted a free modem. But it was either that or buy my own. Or cancel. So I told him to send one. I'm hoping it works and works permanently.
If you are reading this, then it's now back up! Or at least, it was up long enough for me to publish this. Wish me luck.