Do I really need to be an engineer to install a router?

January 8, 2008

Do I really need to be an engineer to install a router?

The other day my wireless router at home failed. Like many of us, it is hard to envision life without wireless connectivity so I ran out and bought a new router. I took the device out of the package followed the directions and tried to get on line. It didn’t work. After three conversations with NetGear technical support representatives from India and the Philippines I have given up and am going to bring the router back and try with a different brand.

Why do I think it is important to talk about this issue? Yes, I want to vent but I also want to make a point about ease of use of technology that has become as much a part of the daily fabric of our lives as making a cup of tea. I maintain that it is not acceptable for technology companies to assume that the average consumer of computing technology should need to be sophisticated enough to solve engineering problems. Let me give you an example by showing you the email exchange with NetGear about how I should go about getting my poor sick wireless router to work (it was working if I plugged it in). First you will see the question that I send to the online support site and the answer I got back the next day.

1/7/2008 5:20:00 PM
I have had discussions with three technicians. I am unable to connect to any of the wireless pcs in my home. The technicians are able to get me connected. However, in about 20 minutes the connection is dropped and I am unable to get reconnected. I took the same PC to my office and am able to connect to my wireless router in the office with no problem at all. I am quite frustrated. Can you solve this problem or should I return your product and never buy another NetGear product again.

1/8/2008 9:55:00 AM
Dear Judith,

To resolve your issue please do the following:

First of all, please upgrade the firmware of your router by going to this website and following the instructions on the page:

After the firmware upgrade please follow these instructions to reset and reconfigure your router:

A – Please do a special reset of the unit by following these steps:
1. Disconnect all cables and cords from the device including the power cord
2. Press the reset button for 30 seconds
3. While keeping the reset button pressed, plug the power cord into the device this requires both hands
4. Keep the reset button pressed for an additional 30 seconds
5. Do a power cycle of the unit unplug the power cord, wait a minute and plug it in again

B – Connect the modem to the router
Please connect the Ethernet cable from the modem to the router’s Internet port the isolated port, not the 4 ports together.

C – Connect a computer to the router
Please make a wired connection between the router and a computer using the supplied Ethernet Cable. Connect the cable to one of the router’s 4 LAN ports. Please make sure the computer has dynamic IP address configured and there is no Firewall running on it.

How to make sure your computer has a dynamic IP address?
1. Click Start / Control Panel / Network Connections
2. Right-click Local Area Connection the adapter you are using to connect to the router, select Properties.
3. In the new window, click on the Internet Protocol TCP/IP and click Properties.
4. Make sure both settings are set to ‘Obtain…’.
5. Click OK.
6. Click Start / Control Panel / Internet Options
7. Click on the Connections tab
8. Click the LAN Settings button
9. Make sure all checkboxes are unchecked
10. Click OK.

D – Access the router page
1. Start Internet Explorer, type in the IP address of your router default: or
2. Type in the username and password default username: admin, password: password

E – Set up the router’s internet connection
Once on the router page, please click Setup Wizard and follow the instructions on the screen to set up your router’s internet connection.

NOTE: Once you are finished with this process, you should be able to surf the internet from the computers connected to the router using Ethernet cables.

F – Check the wireless settings in the router
Still on the router page…
1. Click on Wireless Settings under Setup on the left side of the page.
2. Name SSID – type any name you’d like [this will be the name of your wireless network]
3. Region – United States
4. Channel – 6 other possible settings are 1 and 11
5. Mode – Auto 108Mbps or ‘g and b’ [depending of your wireless adapters’ capabilities]
6. Security Options – Disable
7. Click Apply.
8. Click on Wireless Settings under Advanced on the left side of the page
9. Make sure that both checkboxes next to “Enable Wireless Router Radio” and “Enable SSID Broadcast” are checked.
10. Click Apply
11. Click the Setup Access List button
12. On the new page, make sure that the checkbox next to “Turn Access Control On” is unchecked.
13. Click Apply
14. Click Logout on the bottom of the left side of the page.

G – Check settings on the wireless computers
1. Click on Start / Run, type services.msc, click OK
2. In the service local screen, locate Wireless Zero Configuration double click on it.
3. Under General Tab make sure Startup Type is AUTOMATIC if not change to automatic and hit apply
4. Make sure Services Status is STARTED if not start the service by clicking the Start button and click OK
5. Click Start / Control Panel / Network Connections, right-click on Wireless Network Connection, select Properties, under General tab select Internet protocol TCP/IP, click Properties and make sure it is set to Obtain IP automatically and DNS automatically. Click OK.
6. Click on Wireless Networks Tab at the top, check the box “Use windows to configure the wireless settings”.
7. Remove all items from the “Preferred networks” list by selecting them one by one and clicking Remove. Click OK.
8. Right click on Wireless Network Connection, select View available wireless networks.
9. Click on Refresh Network List
10. It will show your network, select it and click connect.
11. If it still doesn’t show, please make sure that your wireless network adapter is active. Most laptops have a button that activates/deactivates this device.

NOTE: Once you are finished with this step, you should be able to connect to the router wirelessly and even surf the internet if the internet configuration was also successful.

Once you review my response to your case you will be given the opportunity to close your case or update in order to troubleshoot further.

If this resolved your case please select YES resolved and YES to close.

If not, please select NO and update your case providing me with the information to proceed further.

If you do not wish to update at this time just close your browser window, you will be prompted again next time you log into this case. Please also be advised that your case will auto close after 10 days.

If for any reason I am unable to respond back to you within 24 hours, your case is in the main queue so any agent can review what we have done and assist you from there.

Again, I thank you for the opportunity to assist you and THANK YOU for choosing NETGEAR.


I am not sure that you are still with me, but if you took the time to read through all this you will understand my frustration and a complicated issue for technology companies. Simply put, customers should not have to be engineers to conduct business. It is time for hardware, software, and services organizations to change the assumptions about what is acceptable to ask a customer to do to solve problems.

About Judith Hurwitz

Judith Hurwitz is an author, speaker and business technology consultant with decades of experience.

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