So the cable guy came over to my new place here in Ellensburg on Thursday to activate our cable/internet. He hooked everything up, turned it on, had me plug the modem into my computer to make sure the internet was working, and DONE! Yay! Basic (as in, local channels and C-SPAN basic) cable and high-speed internet... well, not quite.
So, the next logical step was hooking up our wireless router for high-speed wireless all over the house. At this point, the internet stopped working. I plugged my computer directly into the router, and then the internet worked, but no matter what I did to the router/modem/wireless/security/etc., the wireless would NOT let me get on the internet. I messed with it for approximately 3 hours, then gave up, planning to have to call Charter in the morning.
Dreading the hassle of dealing with Charter's idiotic frontline phone reps ("Is the modem plugged into the cable outlet on the wall? Is the modem plugged in to the power outlet?" YES, YES, DAMN IT, YES!), I decided to postpone the call until Monday morning, as I knew that there was no way they'd have anyone here before Monday anyhow.
This evening, I wanted to get online, but didn't want to have to go across the street to get on the non-password-protected wireless connection that's nearby, nor did I want to go to the university and sit in a parking lot outside a building just to use their wireless. So, I decided I'd just plug my computer in to the router downstairs and hope that it still worked that way (by the time I had finished fiddling with it last, even that no longer worked). It did! I had internet. Granted, I had to sit on my living room floor, but that was OK. After a while of that, I thought, "Hey, it's been 2 days, maybe the wireless will randomly work now." So I unplugged the computer from the router, connected to the wireless connection (it always connected before, but was never able to actually load any internet pages), and typed in a web address. And it WORKED! Huzzah!
But... our connection was unsecured (no password). So I was left with a dilemma: do I risk making the wireless not work again by turning on the security on our network, or do I say, "Whatever, enjoy our internet, neighbors" and leave it open? Well, being the paranoid type, I couldn't stand the thought of leaving it open, so I logged into the router, turned on security, and made up a password. After doing this, the wireless connected automatically disconnected me and I had to reconnect to the network using the password. I did, and it connected, and then, miracle of miracles, the internet CONTINUED to WORK (and is still working as I type this).
So apparently, with Charter internet, if it doesn't work, just wait a day or two and try again. And that is the magic of Charter.