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Clueless Technical Support at NETGEAR

I’ve used Netgear routers for a number of years, and they have worked reliably for me, except for a recent problem which is such a blatant bug that it’s clear they never bothered to test the feature. I submitted a tech support case along with an example of the problem and their response can be summed up as “Please waste your time calling our 2nd level technical support as we are too clueless to just look at the case you submitted, and by asking you to call again, we hope to discourage you enough for you to go away and not bother us”.

Sorry, Netgear, I don’t have time to wait on hold, then waste my time training your support staff so they can (maybe) issue a fix six months from now (and I already explained the problem in detail to your level 1 support). But I will take the time to inform other potential buyers of your products about your incompetence.

The router, the RP614v4 is otherwise a very good performer. It has the feature of being able to email logs on a regular basis, which include all the hacker-attack information you will see the minute you set up any server on the Internet (Al Gore, you should have fixed these problems when you first invented it). Because of the bug, the email arrives and the message displays as blank (in Apple Mac OS X Mail at least).

Here is an example of a malformed email with the message headers shown in red. Note that there are headers, then message content, then more headers! In addition, the “To” header and the “Content-Type” header are concatenated into a single line. I’ve added the color, for clarity:

Return-Path: <lloyd@llc4.com>
Received: from RP614v4 (192.168.1.2) by llc4.com with SMTP (Eudora
Internet Mail Server X 3.2.8) for <lloyd@llc4.com>;
Sat, 2 Sep 2006 19:59:32 -0700
From: lloyd@llc4.com
Subject: NETGEAR Security Log[E0:08:9C]
Reply-To: lloyd@llc4.com
Sender: root@RP614v4.llc4.com
To: lloyd@llc4.comContent-Type: text/plain@llc4.com; charset=us-ascii

Friday, 01 Sep 2006 20:00:01 [Log Cleared]
Friday,01 Sep 2006 20:25:37 [TCP SYN Flood][Deny access policy matched, dropping packet]
Friday,01 Sep 2006 22:57:28 [TCP Stealth FIN Port Scan][Deny access policy matched, dropping packet]
Saturday,02 Sep 2006 01:23:52 [UDP Echo Chargen][Deny access policy matched, dropping packet]
...portions omitted...
Saturday,02 Sep 2006 10:17:38 [TCP SYN Flood][Deny access policy matched, dropping packet]
Saturday,02 Sep 2006 10:17:38 [HOST Attack: TCP Stealth FIN Port Scan]
[Deny access policy matched, dropping packet]

Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 19:59:32 -0700
Message-ID: <1054870124-36407666@llc4.com>

The Netgear support folks could just take a look at this and fix the problem. But they prefer to waste their customer’s time by insisting on another phone call. They actually closed the case because I didn’t call them! Other than this problem the router has performed well so far, but avoid the “v3” version; it is buggy and slow.

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