An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Grappling with a Wireless Router and Support Robbery

WirelessRouter.jpgFor last two days, our Internet has not been working well. I thought it was because there might be an issue with the Broadband service from Comcast, which does happen sometime. And when I called them, I faced issues getting the thing resolved from their end. Well, this morning at least it got fine. Which is when I realized that it was the Wireless Router that we had which was not working well.

We use Netgear’s WPN824v2 model (Netgear RangeMax 108Mbps 802.11g). Now, as I looked around the net, I found even other folks had had similar issues (link).

I wanted to call up Netgear up for solving the issues I had so went to their customer support page. What you find is just a database with Q&As and a support forum. There is this little link for a GearHead – which is for the home support. Calling the number 1-888-615-3488 – I finally found a human voice. Now after listening to my issue the lady on the other side gave me the following options:

6 months unlimited tech support for PC and other connected devices: $69.95
12 months unlimited tech support for PC and other connected devices: $99.95

What if I didn’t want it?

Well, she informed me – per incident is $36.50 where they will spend only 30 mins with me!

I am not sure what you call this.. but I call it HIGHWAY ROBBERY!! First they sell me a sucker of a device.. and when that sucker goes bad.. they charge me more to just fix the damn thing?? The lady on the other end had the chutzpah to tell me every wireless device company charges for technical support now!

Hmm… I thought.. so its a systemic robbery! For $36.50, I can jolly well find a worthy router. I remember I once had gotten a router for $5 in a deal from Bes Buy. With Thanksgiving season on, I will surely find a deal. So I summarily turned down her offers to help for consideration.

I have found a D-Link Wireless-N router deal at Best Buy for $19.95, which I think is a good one. Now, it is especially sweet because N routers are better than G ones. Why? Here are some reasons:

– N has up to 5x the range of G and 15x the speed. However, most wireless cards are geared to either G or B, not N.(link)
– Wireless N gives you a stronger signal and more stable (and faster) data transfer rates than the traditional G. (link)
– Now, if you get a dual-band Wireless-N router, you can take advantage of the 5 gHz band to help reduce interference from household devices. (link)

Remember, if you have a G Wireless Card, then getting an N router will not give the benefits of the N Router. So, check your computer to know which card you have. How do you do that? Good Question! Here is how for Windows Vista (link)

1. Open control panel
2. Open “Network and Internet”
3. Open “Network and Sharing Center”
4. Under tasks on the left hand side, click “Manage Network Connections”
5. Double click “Wireless Network Connection”
6. Click “details”
7. Under description it will say, 802.11N or 802.11G

Recommendation:

– Go for a Wireless Router less than $50. Look for deals and collect all the coupons to take advantage of every bit to save money.. but DO NOT GO OVER $50!
– Forget the Technical Support… that service needs to be boycotted… so it dies its natural death!
– Just go and buy a new Wireless Router. The tech service is free for 3 months. If your router lasts over 3 months then it has paid you back anyways.

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