Sunday, February 24, 2008

How To Do Support (Kudos to NetGear)

I was shocked today to receive a phone call from NetGear support (on Sunday, no less). It usually doesn't work that way.

Of course, it started out with a problem. My NetGear wireless router (the WNR854T) has been having problems. It's only six months old. About a month ago, when I switched it from WPA to WEP to accomodate an old laptop, it suddenly forgot the admin password. On a lark, I tried my WPA passphrase and it worked! The router had somehow swapped the router password for the inactive WPA passphrase. A few days ago, it stopped working completely. After spending way too much time on the phone with NetGear Support and resetting it three times, with various failure modes in the middle, I gave up and NetGear said they'd swap it out.

They had three options: (almost) free, if I ship it back to them first; $20, if they ship it to me first; and $30 if they ship it overnight to me first. I don't like much paying for support like this and all but the $30 option mean I'd be without the router for a week or more, so I said I'd call them back after I figured out how much of a hurry I was in. Then, I swapped the router with my wireless travel router, the Linksys WTR54GS (which I like very much, by the way). The only disadvantage to this swap is that the Linksys has a much more limited range on wireless. I can live with that for a week or two.

I was going to call them tomorrow, but they called me first. So, while it's really not a good thing that the hardware failed so quickly, kudos to them for trying to make things right.

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