Why I will no longer buy from Netgear

By | August 2, 2007

I bought a Netgear wireless router (model WGR614v7) early in May 2007 so that I could use WiFi at home. I’ve since exchanged it for a Linksys wireless router, and I will never purchase another Netgear product. Here’s why…

The first time I tried to use my new wireless router to watch a show on-line, WiFi on the router hung and the router had to be reset. This was reproducible — the router needed to be reset anywhere from once to five times every time I tried to watch a show for forty minutes.

I searched about the problem on the Web and discovered that many people have had similar issues with Netgear hardware. Nevertheless, Netgear has never admitted that there is a bug in their routers (which there clearly is) which causes them to hang during high-bandwidth usage.

I filed a trouble ticket with Netgear and asked them to tell me how to fix the problem, exchange the obviously defective router for one that works, or authorize me to return it to the store for a refund.

The useless offshore support engineers told me to upgrade my firmware (already done), change the WiFi channel (didn’t work), and reduce the MTU setting (reduced but did not eliminate the problem). They closed the first support ticket I opened when I wasn’t able to immediately reproduce the problem after reducing the MTU.

I opened a second ticket on July 11. I told them quite specifically that I had already worked with a Netgear engineer about this issue and I had no desire to be subjected to their support script again:

Please note: Please do not go through your whole tier-1 script with me, telling me all the silly little things you need me to do to prove to you that there”s something wrong with the router. I am going to restate what I said before: Wireless routers ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HANG IN NORMAL OPERATION. My router is hanging; ergo, there is something wrong with it.

Please, either admit that there is something wrong with your firmware and offer me a refund, or provide me with RMA instructions for getting a replacement router.

Nevertheless, the support engineer who was assigned to my ticket (of course) when through the entire pointless support script. I answered all of his pointless questions, and he agreed to escalate my ticket to tier 2 support. A tier 2 engineer finally responded to the ticket four days later, asking more pointless questions, which I answered promptly. The tier 2 engineer did not respond for over two weeks, but which point I had given up and exchanged the Netgear router for a Linksys which hasn’t hung once since I installed it.

It’s worth mentioning that I have an old, wired Netgear hub which also periodically hangs for no reason and needs to be power-cycled.

Netgear’s products perform poorly, they are apparently incapable of fixing the problems, they continue to sell products which they know to be defective, and their support is terrible. There is no way I’ll patronize such a company, and I strongly discourage others from doing so as well.

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4 thoughts on “Why I will no longer buy from Netgear

  1. Pingback: I wish I’d listened to past me’s advice to never again buy a Netgear router – Something better to do

  2. Larry Stimely

    Wireless routers. Ugh.

    One of the kids at Fry’s told me they all go bad within six months. Netgear, D-Link…it doesn’t matter. They’re all junk. They replaced my D-Link with another one free of charge and recommended that I use the included stand to help it better dissipate all that heat. I have to admit that it seems to run faster and the connections are more reliable.

    Alternatives are spending the big bucks for the Cisco, or trying the Linksys which is really a poor man’s Cisco but they are best in class these days. They also now offer a “small business” line which is supposedly more stout than the standard consumer shit they sell in the discount stores.

    If and when this one fails, I’ll go with a business grade Linksys…just out of curiosity.

    Reply
  3. jik Post author

    Who knows, perhaps you’re right that Linksys has its share of duds as well, but the product quality isn’t the only issue, or even the most important one. The most important reason why I won’t patronize Netgear is because of how they handled the problem (or, more accurately, didn’t handle it), not the problem itself.

    Reply
  4. Gerg

    Hm, I had precisely the opposite experience as far as product quality. I have a linksys and a netgear and the netgear is fairly reliable and has features which work as described. the linksys crashes randomly and i could never figure out how to get it to route to internal addresses without port filtering.

    But I’ve heard “foo routers crash randomly” from different people and everyone has a different value of “foo”. I think they all have problems with some of their models.

    Reply

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