Netgear Tech Support: Pay Geek Squad $139 To Troubleshoot Your $79 Router

What should you do when you have trouble with your Internet connection? N. tells Consumerist that his combination DSL modem and wireless router from Netgear simply won’t work. According to the ever-helpful technical support team at Netgear, there’s nothing left that they can do, and his only option left is to call the Geek Squad to perform a house call. If it didn’t require a $139 house call to troubleshoot a $79 device, N. might go along with this plan.

We purchased a Netgear DGN2200 – Wireless Router with DSL Modem, about a month and a half ago. Five calls to their tech dept. and it still is not working correctly. Half the time I do not know if they understand what I am saying, half the time I do not understand them (a lot of times it is like they mumble on purpose so you cannot make out what they are saying).

We have had to reboot the router every 3-4 days, after it loses connection with our devices. Internet is intermittent. When trouble shooting we often get a modem error. Which I have told them repeatedly. We have been on the phone 1-2 hours with each call. Walked through upgrading, re-booting yet again and several other steps to no avail.

One thing we are having trouble with is an on-line game, which I even got the ports for just in case. The router will not except these ports or even hold the changes I put into it. I even went as far as to go to Panera, who has Internet connection to make sure it wasn’t on our end.The game worked fine.

On the fifth and final call they suggested I call the Geek Squad (approximately $139 for them to come to our home) to trouble shoot it and if it proves the modem is bad they will send me a new unit at that time (which I only paid $79 to begin with). If I had known their customer service was in Asia and this is the kind of run around we were going to get I would have never purchased it ,no matter how good the price was.

Whatever happened to companies standing behind the products that they sell and good customer service or even a local service center to go to? They actually told me, “Well we are in Asia, what do you want me to do?”

There must be some kind of escalated technical support or customer service on this side of the planet that can help. Use an executive e-mail carpet bomb or customer service ninja tactics to find them and avenge your failing modem/router. And if any readers have experience with higher forms of life at Netgear, please share.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. jimmyhl says:

    EECB.

  2. Mr. Pottersquash says:

    you cant just take it back to the store you’ve purchased it from for an exchange? Sure its inconvenient but if the hardware is in tact, they should take it back. Check to see if Walmart sells that brand, they will definitely swap it out for a new one.

    • minjche says:

      I don’t know where the OP purchased the router, but if it wasn’t Walmart then exchanging it at Walmart is the sort of consumer privilege abuse that contributes to stores adopting restrictive return policies.

      I’m all for the consumer not getting shafted, but that doesn’t justify shafting Walmart is right either.

      • minjche says:

        Correction: I’m all for the consumer not getting shafted, but that doesn’t justify shafting Walmart either.

        (My bad for allowing myself to get distracted mid-sentence)

        • freelunch says:

          walmart will take the faulty returned router, and return it to Netgear…. extra work for them, but I’m not sure they’d be out much.

          • minjche says:

            Sorry, but it doesn’t matter how much or how little Walmart is put out, it’s still an unethical move on the part of the consumer.

      • fantomesq says:

        Bravo! We should NOT be encouraging winning this battle at any cost. It’s a $79 router and the OP’s complaint is with Netgear and/or the retailer he purchased from. Dragging Walmart into it if they were not the retailer he purchased from is wholly unfair and unethical.

        I guess if the OP wanted to be completely upfront with Walmart that he purchased this from their competitor a month and a half ago and feels mistreated by both Netgear and their competitor and Walmart STILL decided to help him, then that’s fine but that doesn’t sound like what is being recommended.

        If you want to avail yourself of the benefits provided by a retailer, you bloody well need to support that retailer on the front end. Otherwise you made your bed, now lie in it.

      • botulismo says:

        No, it’s not right to put this in Walmart’s hands, except for one small thing. The issue started weeks ago, probably right when the modem was purchased as he stated “This has never been working right.” While I don’t condone abusing return policies, it is possible that a manager at Walmart (or Best Buy, which would be my assumption as they are explicitly recommending the whole Geek Squad thing) would be understanding, and in the interest of retaining a customer, would do an override and allow the return to go through. The point where it would start being immoral, though, would be if he were being rude or demanding. The only appropriate demeanor is just a hopeful one in this case. While I wouldn’t advocate this, Netgear is obviously not fulfilling its end of the bargain, which states in its general consumer warranty that:

        Should a product fail to perform within the warranted period, it will be replaced with the same or functionally equivalent product by NETGEAR, at its discretion, free of charge provided you:

        (1) Return the failed product to a NETGEAR designated facility with shipping charge prepaid, and

        (2) Provide NETGEAR with proof of the original date of purchase.

        Replacement products will be returned to you with shipping charges prepaid.

        So, I think the only option here would be to see if Walmart would do it, and if not, executive email carpet bomb, and then, well, small claims court out of spite more than monetary desires.

    • Griking says:

      OP says that the product is a month and a half old. Its beyond most stores’ return policy.

  3. dbeahn says:

    Perhaps exchange the router for a different one if you believe that the router is faulty. There’s no reason to keep trying to trouble shoot a router that has to be restarted every 3-4 days, and that won’t hold changes.

    Of course, that only applies if the problem really is the router.

    Having done DSL and Cable Internet support, I’ve seen hundreds or maybe even thousands of examples of people trying to set up complex networking solutions but being too cheap to pay a network tech to come out. It’s like someone that doesn’t know where the hood release on their car is that doesn’t want to pay a mechanic to replace a water pump, so they think they should be able to call Ford and have them walk them through it over the phone.

    • Dre' says:

      Someone has a vastly inflated opinion of their previous line of employment. These things should pretty much be plug & play. If he’s dropping connection every 3 days I’d say that points to hardware as well.

      • Crass says:

        In which case he should return it. It is true that most internet hardware is plug and play, but if the OP is trying to do something stupid/doesn’t understand network they could be trying to set up their network in an illogical way. For instance if he is setting up each PC for a static ip, but leaving the router on DHCP will cause the connection to stop working intermittently.

        Technically these things are very simple, but if you don’t know how they work, or have some pre-conceived notion of how things should work then you can end up having problems. You would be surprised how stupid the average consumer really is when it comes to “technical” stuff like setting up a router.

      • bwcbwc says:

        The router portion is pretty much plug and play, assuming you don’t give a rat’s ass about the security of your home network. If you don’t change the admin password and securely encrypt the wireless, you’re just asking to be hacked, ID thieved etc.

        The modem part can be plug and play but if the auto-configure option doesn’t work, you’re hosed unless you have a backup connection. Best bet is to plug in the old single-line modem from your ISP (assuming you still have it around) and lookup “Netgear your-model modem configuration for your_isp in your_state”. Usually someone with a bit more knowledge will have already had your problems and solved them. If you can’t understand the jargon in the web advice, you’re probably better off paying someone (not necessarily GeekSquad) to configure the modem. Remember the $139 isn’t the cost to fix a broken device, it’s the cost of having to hire a specialist to resolve your problem.

        If you just go out and get a new modem/router, sure it costs less, but you have about a 50-50 chance of not getting it configured right the second time, too.

        Incidentally, my D-Link DSL modem/router auto-config worked fine in my area, but their tech support is at least as bad as Netgear’s.

      • dbeahn says:

        I don’t have an inflated view of anything – I simply said that I have personally witnessed this happening. It’s called having first hand experience.

    • slim150 says:

      cable internet support? oh my i am sorry,, what was that like?

      • dbeahn says:

        It was pretty brutal. Mostly you have to deal with people like Dre’, who think they know everything, but don’t really know anything ;)

    • DieBretter says:

      Most consumer wireless routers are about as simple as you can get. They also generally prevent the user from changing anything that could somehow really screw it up. But even then a reset gets people on their way. Hell, my router runs a version of Linux and if it borks up beyond recognition all I have to do is reset it.

      Might I ask what a complex networking solution is? You have to remember that pretty much all consumer equipment is more or less plug and go. No setting up IPs, DHCP, subnet, DNS, routing tables, etc.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        not really, a lot of consumer modems have router functionality integrated in them so if you don’t disable DHCP on one or plug into the something other then the wan port then you have screwed things up by having two devices fighting over who assigns IPs.

        Also if he keeps getting a modem error…and the modem isnt from netgear (which is sounds like it isnt) then netgear is under no obligation to fix his not netgear modem.

        OP either needs to find a friend who has a decent understanding of networks and by him/her lunch or cough up the money to have professionals (not necessarily geek squad) come and set things up.

        • DieBretter says:

          I suppose that’s possible if you’re talking about 2 different devices. I’ve never personally run into that problem. Most of the time when I’ve dealt with stuff where the model was the router, it was explicitly stated as such. Most people wouldn’t go out and buy a router when they have one that’s supplied by the ISP.

          But, in this instance, the router and modem are one and the same. So it’s a moot point regardless.

  4. MaelstromRider says:

    Return it to the store, if you can, and buy another one of a different brand. If you still can’t get it to work, it’s user error or your internet connection. Just because you can get it to work in a remote location doesn’t mean it’s not on your end. There are a hundred things that could be wrong with your internet connection and without having a tech out, you’ll never know.

    Unless people are incredibly tech-saavvy, they should probably just rent/buy the modem from their internet service provider and pay the internal wiring maintenance fee so that they can get tech support whenever they need.

  5. jrwn says:

    As a DSL tech, there is only so much which we can do, sometimes it comes down to a physical issue with a physical product.

  6. GuJiaXian says:

    I’ve had Charter techs out five times in the last 1.5 months to “fix” my modem/router. I can’t even imagine how annoyed I’d be if I had to pay $139 for each visit. (Any by annoyed I mean homicidal.)

    • GuJiaXian says:

      I meant “And,” not “Any.” Consumerist, when are you going to join the rest of the 21st century and allow us to edit our posts?

      • apple420 says:

        I think editing is good only if there is a time limit. A threaded discussion can get confusing when everyone starts changing their messages.
        To make my post on topic, I think there should be someway for Netgear to identify a router that is bad without calling the Geek Squad. Maybe he should call back and talk to a different person that could identify that the router is faulty.

    • Moosehawk says:

      I ordered Charter and had them for less than a month because we had techs out 4 times for intermittent connection. Apparently the apartment I live in was wired incorrectly and they can’t fix it, but they declined to tell me that when they were installing it. Not to mention our monthly payment was supposed to be $70 and our first month ended up costing $200.

      I feel your pain.

  7. Rachacha says:

    Take it back to the store, explain the situation, worst case they will let you exchange it, best case, they will give you store credit so you can purchase a different brand/model.

  8. Extended-Warranty says:

    Having dealt with router exchanges before, I don’t think I ever saw a defective one returned. No one knew what they were doing and everyone wanted free support. According to Geeksquad.com it’s $99 and not $139. I would hop on it.

    • PSUSkier says:

      I’ve seen plenty of defective routers. Granted not all of them were hardware related but garbage code that runs some of Netgear’s devices puts them in the same defective category. And don’t spend the money on geek squad. I’m sure you know someone technical who can help you out.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      Really.. last I checked, for the most part, all of the consumer grade (read: cheap) wireless routers are pretty much preconfigured for dhcp on the wan side, and dhcp server on the lan side. At most you would just have to provide the mac address to the cable provider and setup a pppoe username/setup (if anyone even still uses that anymore).

      You want to start messing with port forwarding and what not to get games to work, thats one thing, but that would not really cause the connection to completely drop every 3 or 4 days.

      Of the top of my head, a device that works for a few days then dies, is generally a hardware problem due to overheating. On the more technical side in the event that its not a hardware problem, is a tiny state table that fills up. Verizons FIOS router (which I have setup as a bridge and nothing more) has a small state table that fills up quickly when using any p2p, or even online gaming, requiring a reboot.

      These are all possible problems, out of the many that can exist.

      I would recommend the OP replace the router with different brand, or model, most of the sub $100 routers pretty much are all teh same, from the cheap $40 linksys to the $100 dlink’s. Go with the cheap one.

      Or do what geeks do.. pickup a cheap computer with a couple of network cards, set that up as your primary router (you could even use windows if you wanted), setup the wireless router as a wireless bridge, and be on your way.

    • Cicadymn says:

      GB2 work Geek Squad Agent Smith. There are some suspicious people not buying things in your store, you better go hide behind a tree and relay their license plate number to another agent.

  9. minjche says:

    Return it as defective, and if possible exchange it for a different router.

    I’m no IT professional, but I do manage the three modems/routers in my fraternity house. We see 20-30 people putting these routers under constant use and have burned out several routers in the past few years. We’ve tried all the major consumer brands and Linksys routers seem to last the longest (in fact we have one Linksys router that has lasted at least 4 years now). Belkin and Netgear routers would burn out in under a year.

    • cluberti says:

      Agreed – Netgear’s *business* hardware is great and lasts forever, but consumer-grade stuff is crap and should be avoided. Probably would be worth using a DSL modem from the telco and get a router that will run Tomato, DD-WRT, etc. I would agree that the device they have is probably physically defective (given these things use flash ROM to store changes, it’s likely a hardware issue).

  10. Dre' says:

    Try looking for a firmware upgrade.

    • Alessar says:

      This is my thought too. If they didn’t suggest this during troubleshooting, they are really bad tech support.

    • vdragonmpc says:

      Nice, thats what they did when he said ‘walked him through the upgrade process’

      A lot of the newer netgears are very cheaply made and quirky. I use their higher end switches at work and I can say the firmware updates are fun.

  11. AngryK9 says:

    Return the defective unit, write a polite and professional EECB explaining the problem, explaining how you believe it was mishandled, and explain how you feel it should have been handled. Also, be certain to note that you are returning the item and that you will not be purchasing another Netgear item anytime in the future.

    Once that is done, go out and buy yourself something other than a Netgear product. We have so many issues with Netgear products where I work that it simply isn’t worth the time to deal with.

  12. qbubbles says:

    I once had to deal with their tech support. South Asian dude wanted me to restart and then restart again and then restart again. I told him that I wasnt a techno-weenie and that I’d appreciate it if he talked to me like I knew what I was doing. He stopped hand holding me, after that, and we managed to finagle the configs so it worked correctly.

    Sometimes it takes getting a little assertive, but still polite, in order to get IT support to not treat you like a moron who shouldnt be trusted with a light switch. Although, honestly, 85% of the folks who call tech support shouldnt be trusted with a light switch.

  13. BobOki says:

    A few common sense things to try, from a It guy of 20+ years.
    #1. If this involves intermittent internet, try plugging the modem directly into a computer and see if it still works. This is a sure fire way to rule out it is the modem/internet connection. If you get no internet plugged directly into modem, call your ISP, it is their fault.
    #2. If a desktop, go into device manager and disable the power save features on your network card. I have seen many a time (specially in XP) where the nic will turn itself off to “save power” while in use.
    #3. start/run – cmd Once in command line type ipconfig
    This will give you your ip address and your routers ip(called gateway). We then want to setup a ping to your router.
    ping ipofrouter -t (replace ipofrouter to the ipaddress of the gateway we just got in the step above)
    What we are looking for on this is successful replies. The -t will keep the ping going forever so you can use it to monitor the router. Your typical reply looks like: Reply from 10.10.10.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64 In this case 10.10.10.1 is my gateway(router). The next important thing is time=xms. This number is very important as a internal router should be very quick to reply, in my example 2ms is a marginally high number, as I have my router being slammed right now (we are getting spam flooded) but if you see yours at 10ms or more then you have an issue with that alone.
    If you get a reply like: Request timed out. then the router is not responding, and there is an issue with the router, case closed. You would call netgear and tell them that I can plug directly into my modem and get internet just fine, but when I plug into the netgear itself and try to ping the netgear, it fails. At that point they know you are not a fool and will not fall for the “it’s the modem fault!” bs lines and will try to actually fix the issue.

    ISPs and companies tech support for their products will do anything they can to pass the blame to someone else and they prey on your not knowing what you are doing to achieve that. The simple steps I outlined above will narrow down where the problem exists and hopefully get you past the “this guy is too stupid to know what I am saying anyways so I will just get him off the phone” stage of tech support. IT is in a sad state with the economy bad, and these companies pretty much already made their money off you, by far cheaper for them to try to convince you that your issue is with comcast than to spend their time/money trying to fix the product. In the OPs case it is a clear case of “don’t-give-a-shits” even going so far as to tell him that they can’t be bothered to help, call someone else at which point you should have demanded a AMERICAN manager (stern but not rudely, but this forces them to escalate to a different timezone and shows a MAJOR hit on their system which gets looked into) and ask him why their tech support refuses to give support. They can then ask netgear to schedule a Geek Squad person to come out and fix it as they suggested geek squad they must be ok with them supporting their equipment for them.
    Don’t let an anonymous low wage tech try to intimidate you and ALWAYS write down the names of your support guy and time you called in BEFORE the call, make them repeat their name and inform them you are writing it down, thus taking away that feeling of anonymity for them.

    • Dover says:

      Re #1: this is a combined modem/router, there is not a standalone modem to plug directly into the computer. That’s one of the problems with this type of equipment, there’s no way to separate them if one of the two pieces goes bad.

      • BobOki says:

        In that case, there is no issue at all here, if it is a combined modem/router then it is faulty, needs to be replaced. If by the third call for ANY tech you have not gotten satisfaction demand replacement, exchange, or refund.
        Most states have lemon laws as well to look into.

    • Mike says:

      I’m a former IT guy, your post is correct and you only scratched the surface of what they need to do to trouble shoot. They also need to make sure it is not a wireless-only issue. They need to:

      1) Take one computer, turn off the wireless card, then plug a Ethernet cord into the nic card on the computer and then into the back of the modem. Next time the internet gives you problems, check and see if the hard-wired computer has the same problem.

      2) Make sure you changed the name of your network to something other than the default name. I can’t tell you how many problems I have seen because two networks in the same area have the same name.

      3) Make sure there is not a triggering event. Is the modem dropping every time someone runs the microwave? If your wireless cards are all G cards and running at 2.4ghz interference is common.

      4) Gaming wirelessly on DSL is like racing with a Toyota Prius. I have no idea what game they are trying to play, but I always tell people that if they want to game they should have at least a constant 5-7 mbps connection, but I really find it best if you have 10mb or more. Also if you are serious about gaming, get a wired connection. In addition to speed low latency is important, and wired will always perform better in that respect. I own a couple of 50 ft ethernet cables for precisely this reason.

      If you find out it is a wireless connection issue, check and see what wireless cards you have. Do you have the exact same cards for all your computers? Like three Macbooks or something? You might want a friend with a different wifi card to come over and test theirs out if that is the case. Not all wifi cards play nice with all routers, sometimes some cards just don’t get along with some routers.

  14. Dover says:

    I’ve tried a couple different brands of these combined modem/routers and haven’t been impressed with the quality. I’d ditch this setup and buy separated router and modem from a different brand. Linksys’s support isn’t great, but they’d at least have exchanged this for you by now.

    • Mike says:

      buy separated router and modem

      This is good advice. I never use the combos either. The more you separate out, the better.

  15. tedyc03 says:

    I don’t understand how this can be hard to troubleshoot, even from a distance.

    “Read to me what you see on the screen” were my favorite words when troubleshooting routers and switches when I was a tech support specialist. Usually if you give me all the keys and values, on every screen, I can figure out what to change by what is out of line. I even got good enough to know which ISPs used PPPoE and which used DHCP for internet connections.

    This just sounds silly to me. Honestly. It’s not rocket science, especially for a home network.

    • Griking says:

      I hate to put it so bluntly but many people are just stupid.

      I do at home computer repair and tech support and it blows me away how often people will click on or accept something without even reading and knowing what it is that they’re clicking on? I’ve sat down with customers in their homes to help them fix their computers and listened to them swear to me that they never click on popups or open email with attachments and watch them do that exact thing in front of me without blinking an eye.

  16. NittanyWildcat says:

    Netgear is garbage. Buy a Linksys.

    • Griking says:

      I install these things on a somewhat regular basis and I’ve found the exaxct opposite. Netgear progucts tend to be of much better quality then Linksys IMO.

      What people need to admit is that sometimes it’s better off letting an experienced person install these things. We don’t offer installation services at the stores for no reason. Sure, the installation may cost more than the router did but how much time has the OP wasted so far and how much is time worth?

    • Crass says:

      Linksys is complete crap, Ive gone through 2 cheap 4-port routers with them in the past. Won’t get burned a third time.

    • Mike says:

      In my personal experience I have had the exact opposite problem. On the enterprise level I stopped buying linksys, and I have had great luck with Netgear. But I have seen crappy hardware from all manufacturers, so I just take it on a case by case basis. I could be convinced to buy linksys again if someone showed me a particular model that was good.

  17. JoeDawson says:

    I bought a Netgear router just recently…. got it home and IMMEDIATELY installed dd-wrt (custom linux based alternate firmware) and everything works great.

  18. PunditGuy says:

    Did the OP have working DSL service before purchasing this router? Seems like it would be cheaper to get a wireless router and use the ISP-provided DSL modem.

    If this was purchased with service, was there any call made to the ISP for troubleshooting?

    • JoeDawson says:

      Perhaps they were charging a monthly fee and he would rather own the device? That is what I am guessing… Its always iffy to buy a third party modem, which may not be compatible with some quirk or other when it comes to DSL

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        Has the OP verified that the DSL works? Maybe with a different modem? It may be an issue with the DSL provider instead of Netgear or Best Buy.

        When my last router died of old age, I had the DSL provider out to resolve my “service issue”. I ended up paying $79 for a new modem (similar DSL modems were selling at BB for $50 at the time), but the tech set it up and verified it was working before she left.

    • munche says:

      Yeah, the lack of important details in this post makes me think there’s a missing piece to this puzzle.

      It isn’t even clear what’s failing…is it wireless? Is it everything? A “modem error” would mean the DSL is dropping, but the post implies that only this particular game (which isn’t mentioned specifically) is dropping. Is it only that game?

      This kind of basic isolation should be step one, and while support should probably be doing it, you shouldn’t really be buying a device like this and expecting tech support to do all of your thinking for you. Yes, they’re trained to try to think of weird network things you didn’t, but you’re not supposed to be turning your brain off, either.

  19. davidsco says:

    Bring it back. Netgear, while makers of some good products, sports some of the WORST tech support I have come across. Def. a EECB, and a few complaints to the BBB and AG’s office as well. But one could always bring it back as well. In my experience with them, I have found that repeated STERN replies to the Tier 1 morons will often get you to Tier 2, which is a little better, but I’m a firm believer of, the only way to change companies is to make it hurt them in the pocket, and the more people that do that, the more likely they are to change

  20. Kryndis says:

    My best advice is to see if you can return it and get another brand. I used to swear by Netgear’s stuff, but that was a very long time ago. Their routers are simply terrible these days.

  21. kathygnome says:

    It is probably too late to return it. Most stores will accept returns for 30 days, but not indefinitely.

    Honestly, having done tech support for a decade, and reading through the original post, I’d guess that bringing in a professional is the right thing to do. You might check if there is an independent that does home visits as an alternative to geek squad.

    With comments like “it’s like they mumble on purpose” and the derisive comments that the tech support is based in Asia, it’s likely this person is somewhat hostile, which makes troubleshooting, a cooperative activity, extremely difficult. It doesn’t really sound like they have the necessary patience or knowledge to pin down a network issue either. Nor should a company be required to troubleshoot your network simply because they sell you a router.

    Given that they don’t mention the phone company at all, my 2c guess is that they have left the original DSL modem on the network and that both devices are handing out conflicting IP information through DHCP.

    • wastedlife says:

      If the connection is working and then starts dropping out after a few days, it is definitely an issue with the modem/router, either hardware or firmware, or with the DSL line itself, not with the configuration. He may need the telco to determine if the line is faulty. The telco technicians should have equipment to test the line. Networks do not run on magic and pixie dust, nor is an independent “expert” like the Geek Squad required or likely qualified to determine whether the equipment or the line is faulty. There is rarely any fine-tuning that needs to be done for a DSL modem configuration, and if there is the telco needs to provide it, an independent will not have that information.

      One possible solution for the OP, check your DSL filters and make sure you are using them on EVERY phone connection in the house. I have seen improperly used or bad filters cause all sorts of issues with DSL. It is using the same line as your phone, the filters prevent the DSL equipment and the phones from interfering with each other.

      Lastly, depending on the cost of the modem rental from your telco, it may be advisable to rent from them instead of buying and owning the unit. This way if the technology is updated, or you switch from DSL to Cable, FIOS, U-Verse, etc, you are not stuck with a useless piece of equipment. However, I strongly advise to own your own router. That way you have full control of the wireless network configuration and can avoid crappy brands like 2Wire.

      While I would not call myself an expert in DSL specifically, I have 2 years experience doing tech support for a SOHO network equipment manufacturer, a degree in networking technology, and several IT certifications.

    • wastedlife says:

      Also, while your guess that they have both the original modem and the new modem/router connected is definitely possible and even likely, it would fall on tech support that they did not ensure that everything is physically connected properly, which should be the first step. Also, if that is the case, they do need an independent technician to install and configure it for them.

  22. nopirates says:

    here’s some news for you: if tech support was in nebraska or nova scotia, it still would have sucked.

    sorry.

    • cluberti says:

      Agreed – if the vendor isn’t willing to pay for talented support individuals, you’re gonna get crap support regardless of where the call center is. I’ve had good support from India, and bad support from the US midwest. It comes down to the people, not the geography – the problem is, most companies go to Asia to save money and hire cheap, ineffective labor, because support is a cost center.

  23. XianZhuXuande says:

    Not so different from ‘pay an electrician $80 to replace a $3 receptacle.’ Even something as basic as a wireless router requires a degree of understanding to work with—especially for those who aren’t technically inclined. Unfortunately nothing to complain about there.

    Sadly, though, Netgear isn’t the only company who refers things like this to a brand like GeekSquad. I guess another angle of approach is to find a friend who knows that person who knows this stuff and offer a more reasonable $50 or so to solve the problem.

  24. DcChick says:

    I’ve had nothing but issues from 2 Netgear routers. Years ago I had one that did this very same thing. For no reason I would lose signal and it would not return without rebooting the entire string of devices. After hours and hours on the phone with technical support (despite having a CS degree) I finally realized that it wasn’t worth my time because the people on the phone had *no* idea what they were doing.

    I didn’t learn my lesson because a month ago I purchased another one. After a couple years, I thought I had just perhaps gotten a bad router and wanted to try again. WRONG.
    Whereas I can connect my computer to the modem and run for hours, my connection drops every 20-30 minutes when connected wirelessly. I first noticed on my iPad, it started saying “connecting” in the middle of a browsing session. Then I realized it was happening on the computers as well, it just wasn’t as obvious. I’m not calling tech support. I’m swallowing the 40$ and buying a decent router.

    • Mike says:

      Watch out, not all particular wireless routers have problems form one manufacturer. I have a Netgear wireless router that has been running for four years straight and not once have I had to reboot it, except for the occasional firmware upgrade. Compare that the the Linksys I had before it that I had to reboot every couple of days.

      One thing in your post set off a red flag: ” I first noticed on my iPad, it started saying “connecting” in the middle of a browsing session.” Although you said it happens on other computers as well you might want to consider the fact that iPads had a known connection problem. http://www.cultofmac.com/how-to-fix-your-ipads-wireless-problems/36969

      I am sure you already updated the firmware on your router and your iPad, but if not go ahead and do that. Also, which security protocol are you using? If you are using WEP, try switching to WPA, or WPA-PSK. Also, are you using MAC address filtering? If not, you really should. This way you can ensure no computer that you do not know of is accessing your network.

      None of this may help you, but you never know. The WORST thing is going to the store and buying new hardware only to find out it doesn’t fix the problem. I hate it when that happens. Good luck.

  25. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    While we on the subject, andone know a good and reasonably price modem that works well with Comcast? I’m looking to ditch the $3/month modem fee.

  26. PSUSkier says:

    Reason number 157 I only use Linksys/Cisco

    • Mike says:

      Brand loyalty does not mean squat when it comes to technology. I had a linksys router that was a disaster, but I would not claim all linkysys routers are crap like that particular one was. I have had great luck with my current Netgear, not a problem in years, but again I would not claim that all Netgears are good. I had great luck with DLINK at my last job as a sys admin at a school, but I would only suggest that particualr model because not all DLINK routers are great. You may have a good linksys now, but you could easily buy another linksys in the future and have it flake out on you.

  27. anime_runs_my_life says:

    To quote my ex-husband: Netgear sucks donkey wang when it comes to competitent customer service. I went through I don’t know how many routers in a 3 month period when I first got high speed and I finally gave up and got a D-Link. Eight years later, the D-Link works perfectly and has never given us any trouble.

    I too spent countless hours on the phone with tech support at Netgear troubleshooting problems that should have simple fixes. Rather than address the problem, they’d prefer to stick to the script. It’s only when you get really insistent that they’ll send you onto tier 2 and even they are as close to useless as the tier 1 agents.

    All I can say is stay away from Netgear. They’re not worth the hassle.

    • cluberti says:

      Just be glad you’ve not had to call D-Link. You’ll find the same poor support there as well, from personal experience both with their personal and business support – at least Netgear’s business support folks are pretty good about knowing their stuff, and will replace hardware if they can’t figure it out on the *1st call*. D-Link’s personal and professional support both suck royally.

      • anime_runs_my_life says:

        Actually, my experience in calling D-Link for support (to set up WEP for a wireless router) was less painful than getting a tooth extraction. The rep knew what I wanted and asked a few simple questions (what type of router, etc). There was no rigamarole or hassle in getting the instructions. It took less than 10 minutes and there was even a follow up e-mail to make sure things were working smoothly.

  28. DigitalShawn says:

    Netgear is notorious for setting the internal IP’s to 192.168.1.x, in which some cable modems use the same IP scheme. Changing the internal IP’s to 10.0.0.x will alleviate this issue. I don’t know if this OP’s problem with it, but in my area, I make a good little bit of money utilizing this knowledge.

  29. HappyFunTimes says:

    Linksys or GTFO. I’ve bought D-Link, NetGear and Belkin routers in the past and never again. The NetGear ones were always garbage. Several were DoA and others would choke on 3 or 4 computers actively using a 20MB connection. The Belkin was meh but worked and the D-Linkss make me want to put a shiv to my spine. One caught fire while the other randomly drops connection to the internet.

    Belkin never had up-to-date firmware while D-Link’s new firmware broke more than it fixed :-( Return your NetGear and buy Linksys.

  30. Hobz says:

    http://www.newegg.com

    Buy yourself a new router for $40…

  31. Derp says:

    Actually its $129.99 for the Geek Squad to come out AND the $129.99 includes a Netgear N router and 6 months of technical support after the setup.

  32. dilbert69 says:

    Why not just buy a new router, see whether it works properly, and if it does, great. If it doesn’t, you’re probably doing something wrong, and paying someone else (I don’t recommend Geek Squad, though) to troubleshoot and fix it seems worthwhile. The cost of the router is not all that relevant if it’s user error.

  33. Pax says:

    I stick with Cisco/LinkSys networking hardware. The one time I needed to call their tech support and beg for help, the guy on the other end was very understanding, veryhelpful, and not in the slightest condescending or patronising.

    I couldn’t for the life of me get the damned thing to access the internet, but if I plugged directly into the modem, everything was fine. Well, as it turned out … my modem was using the IP address normally reserved for a router, and that ip# conflict borked the whole thing up. Couldn’t change the IP# on the modem either – my ISP locks customers out of those functions. Thankfully, the tech was able to talk me through permanently changing the IP# of the LinkSys router itself.

    I have since elected to buy LinkSys or other CisCo products in preference to other equally-priced options, whenever and wherever I have the opportunity to do so.

  34. Floppywesl says:

    This is why i always recommend all non-technical people/elderly or people i do not want to provide free tech support for use the ISP provided router options , is it a little more a month yes but when it goes crazy you make 1 call and get a new one. Also mostly all DSL modems are set to COD ( connect on demand ) by default i always set them to ” always on ” , ISPs do that to save some bandwidth.

  35. Andy says:

    This is why I tell people, everyone should know at least 1 person who knows computer troubleshooting, it’s like having an uncle who’s an auto mechanic, only he can fix your computer shit easily, and if he fails, you know where he lives. :)

  36. OnePumpChump says:

    The solution to every problem with Netgear hardware is to replace it with non-Netgear hardware.

  37. Razor512 says:

    Most companies have gone down in quality. The problem that the user is having is the NVRAM on the router is failing. I have seen it happen a few times to other routers, mainly the new linksys ones. but users can generally fix it by buying a larger chip (storage wise in order increase the amount of storage so you can install firmware such as dd-wrt and tomato on some of the cheaper routers with very little storage and RAM)

    I have not personally done the fix but some people do when they purchase routers for next to nothing “for parts or repair” at long as they turn on. they then turn around and sell the same laptop back on ebay after fixing them.

  38. MrEvil says:

    As someone who works at a company that employs alot of Indian and Asian immigrants, none of them are “mumbling” on purpose.

  39. veg-o-matic says:

    Random question for the OP: You don’t happen to have any cordless phones or other such transmitting devices near your wireless router, do you?

    I’ve had similar problems with Netgear routers and it (seemed) that removing interference basically fixed the problem.

    • Mike says:

      This is great advice. Phones and wireless cards often run on the same frequency, 2.4ghz, and could be the cause of the problem.

  40. AI says:

    If it’s a Netgear router and the Netgear rep can’t get it working over the phone, then it’s faulty, and you need a replacement, not a service call from a 3rd party. There’s nothing in the router settings that cannot be easily conveyed verbally to the tech over the phone, so if the Netgear tech doesn’t know what’s wrong, the Geek Squad sure as hell won’t know either.

  41. Wolfbird says:

    Would it be cheaper to just buy a new router? I know that’s not really the point, but if your choices are $139 for a tech (who might not even fix it?) vs. just buying a new one and being done with it… yeah.

    I’ve never heard of this Netgear stuff, but we have always had DLinks or Linksys over here. If they new router works, maybe you can just cut your losses. Make sure whoever you buy it from has a return policy that works for you. When I bought our new wireless router at Future Shop they said they’d take it back for any reason at all.

  42. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Wow this is kind of surprising. My parents (who are in their 70s) have seemingly managed to call Netgear each and every time their computer or peripherals has issues, and Netgear troubleshoots them through everything, and it doesn’t even have to do with their Netgear router. I guess everyone has different experiences.

  43. DerangedKitsune says:

    “We purchased a Netgear DGN2200…”

    Well there’s your first problem. Netgear makes terrible equipment and their support is next to worthless each time I’ve tried to use them. Unless your DSL modem is some obscure or off brand make, there is no reason their hardware shouldn’t be compatible with it; all network hardware uses the same transmission standards.

  44. Rhyslud says:

    I will never buy another Netgear product again!

    My Netgear router is giving me problems after 5 months. Now they want to charge me $100 for a year of offshore telephone support (and they tell me it’s a great deal).

    Cisco gives a full year of support. I am really wishing I had gone with Cisco!!