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My experience of Netgear’s customer service and support systems

My experience of Netgear's customer service and support systems

Already here, this feels like an unusual post on the site. But I felt that I still wanted to share my experiences with Netgear’s support system, which may be one of the most tiring I’ve seen in a long time.

It all started with me after testing Netgears mesh solution Orbi AX4200 (RBK752) chose to keep the device and run it as my primary network solution (so much I actually liked it!). All good to begin with. After a few months of use, however, I began to notice that web pages look that closely stopped loading with the error message DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN. After a few seconds, however, the web pages loaded automatically and the error message disappeared. Good, but annoying.

After having Googlat the problem did not seem like I was alone in it and the solutions were mixed. Everything from changing DNSservers in the router to switch DNSservers in all other equipment as well, in order to “get past” DNShandling in Netgear-routern.

Then I only managed to get the right side of the problem by manually setting Google’s DNSservers both in the router and on all computers, I thought it felt justified to contact Netgears support and hear what they had to say about this and what it could be due to.

90 days support

Here I realized for the first time that Netgear Although they offer a two-year warranty, their other technical support is limited to 90 days. When this time period has expired, there is – as far as I have managed to find – no way to contact them for support or technical questions about a product. After 90 days, you are instead extradited to Netgears support forums where other users help try to solve problems and answer questions.

A bit of a bad start in my opinion. But one should not judge something without using it. Having said that, I stepped through the process of creating an account, registering my product with a serial number and finally creating a support case. I described the problem in as much detail as possible and also attached a link to one forum thread on their own forum where the same error was discussed. Admittedly, this thread was a few years old and did not exactly touch Orbirouters, but the error seemed to be exactly the same and no final solution had ever been found. I also included information that I received the router for the purpose of testing it and thus wanted a little more information about the problem in question.

Hello,

I received the RBR750-unit as a review-unit for my site (enkelteknik.se) a few months ago. Since the time of the review I have been using the system daily and are very happy with it, except for one thing that I was hoping you could give me some more information about.

On PC and Mac-computers connected to the Network I get sporadic DNS-error messages when trying to access any page on the Internet. The page stops loading with the error message DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN. Then usually after a few seconds it loads as it should. Sometimes the page has to be refreshed manually to have it load.

When searching information about this phenomenon it seems to be relatively widely discussed in your forums, and related to something called UDP Flood Blocking. See this thread for example: https://community.netgear.com/t5/Nighthawk-WiFi-Routers/Fatal-Flaw-in-NETGEAR-Routers-Read-Before-Buying/td-p/1134948

The error is 100% related to the unit itself and goes away immediately when using another router or connecting straight to the modem. To rule out any errors I have also restored the factory settings on both units (main and satellite) but the DNS-error persists.

This to me seems like a pretty serious (and very annoying) issue and one I would very much like some comments about. Especially since I did review the product and very much liked it.

Contact can also be done in Swedish if you have Swedish-speaking support members. Otherwise English is perfectly fine as well.

Thank you in advance
Christoffer, enkelteknik.se

Five days later

After five days, an answer came in. An answer that admittedly began to try to find a solution to the error itself, but no more information about what it could be due to or the like was mentioned at all. I would also like to say that the technical level of the answer is extremely high for an above (maybe even for a used) user.

Hej Christoffer,

Detta är xxxxxx från Netgear Support, jag kontaktar dig angående ditt ärende 43832861.

Försök att ställa in statisk DNS på Orbi Router. (Logga in på orbilogin.net - Grundläggande - Internet - Använd dessa DNS servers
Primär: 8.8.8.8
Sekondär: 8.8.4.4)

Om det inte hjälper kan du prova dessa steg på slutenheter

Windows:
-Rensa cache och återställ Google Chrome till standardinställningarna
-Ändra TCP / IP4-proxyinställningar - ställ in statisk DNS 8.8.8.8 och 8.8.4.4
-Reset Winsock-programmet
-Återställ DNS-klienttjänst för att åtgärda felet
-Rensa Google Chrome

MAC:
-Ändra DNS-inställningar
-Rensa DNS-cache

För att skicka oss en uppdatering på ärendet vänligen klicka på länken nedanför.

Ha en bra dag, och tack för att du valt Netgear!

Med vänlig hälsning,

This continued in most messages in the future. Despite a good tone and a repeated demand about what could actually cause this, as well as references to other users who had the same problem, it took a total of twelve turns with messages before I got the answer that the linked forum thread was not relevant in this case then Orbithe router in question was not launched when the thread was active. Or as Netgears the representative himself put it:

Dear Sir,

1. The forum topic you are referring to is more than four years old. RBR750 did not even exist in 2016, so the old forum post is not relevant to this case.

It should be added here that the error and similar problems have also been discussed in other forum threads until as late as 2021, e.g. here and here.

So what was the reason for the error? (Here it gets a little technical)

After a few more messages, it seemed that the problem in question, according to Netgear, had to do with that of the router DHCPserver was different than it should be. By this time I had reset the modem, put it in brewed mode, reset the router in question several times, installed a new firmware on the router and satellite and completely disconnected my Synology NAS from the network. Something that was first thought to cause the wrong thing DHCPserver and then due to NAS: ens built-in function to act DHCPserver was used at the same time as the router. Something that was not true as the function has always been turned off in the router.

Personally, and with the experience I have of networking, the only mistake I can actually think of (and that lies outside Orbithe router) that for some reason my modem is not brewing correctly when the function is activated and that DHCPthe server in the modem is still active for some reason. Something that contradicts this, however, is that this error only occurs with Orbithe router in question. I have had most routers, even from Netgear, plugged in exactly this way and never experienced any problems whatsoever.

Has it been resolved now?

Unfortunately not. For longer than I described above, we did not get into the troubleshooting. Why? Well, because if you as a user do not respond to a message from Netgears support within 3 days the case is closed down completely.

At first, after three days, I received a reminder asking me to respond to the case, otherwise it would be shut down after another 4 days. At the last opportunity, the case was closed only completely sonic after three days.

Here we come to my perhaps biggest criticism of Netgear’s support system; how it is actually constructed. To expect that you as a user always have an opportunity to not only answer, but also implement the steps and instructions that are expected, within three (+ possibly four days in some cases) is nothing but unrealistic. When the company’s own response via the support system sometimes takes four to five days, it becomes almost a mockery of the end user.

But then it’s just to open the case again, right?

You might think so. The funny thing in this context is that while the support case was going on, he had time Netgears 90-days of free support end. Once the case was automatically closed, this has now also resulted in me no longer being able to open a new one. Simply because Netgear after 90 days does not offer email, phone or chat support.

Netgear - Support - 90 days
90 days after purchase, this is what Netgear offers in support.

So what’s left? Yes, no additional technical support seems to be available from Netgears page. The only thing that can be done via the support system is to request a warranty exchange. Here you have 150 characters (so there are very few (!) Characters) to describe what is wrong and why you want to replace the product. After this, you will receive an email asking you to call a telephone number within 48 hours where “one of our (Netgears) support specialists will help solve your problem ”.

I’m sorry Netgear, but here I give up. I would like to say that during the three months of communications with your support I have really tried to inform that my intention is not primarily to solve the problem, but to understand what it is due to and thus be able to help find a possible shortcoming in one of your products. This has never even been answered in any of the support messages, which feels really boring.

Trying to hunt around for a representative who is interested in helping to comment in a sensible way on the information I request is not something I have neither the desire nor the time for. I gave it three months in a system that is unrealistically tight, especially in terms of time. But here I stay. It should not have to be so difficult and demanding to get help with a product.

This text is mainly published as some form of “review” of a support case at Netgear in order to share my own experiences, but I am of course very open to any kind of response from Netgear. The case number in question (for the case which is now closed) is: # 43832861

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