I decided I needed to go wireless at home with a router, because we have laptops and the desktop but only had Internet on the desktop. This meant switching around depending on who needed to do what and when.
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The nice Staples guy asked if I needed help, and I told him about the big plan. He suggested this Netgear router. It was about the cheapest one or was the cheapest, so I asked about that. He told me that the ones that cost more just put out a wider signal, so unless I had a huge house, I didn't need the extra range. OK. Maybe I looked like I have a little house. He was right. Saving money is good. No reason to buy more power than needed.
They do not have a booklet to explain the Netgear router. There is a CD which is all well and good until you hit a snag like I did which may be due to Vista, although the box says clearly on the front that this Netgear router will work with Vista. Basically I hit the next button, and there was some problem which I can't recall. Sigh.
I slept on this a night or two as I tend to do.
The confusion for me was not really knowing whether I needed to set up my desktop to signal or my laptops to pick up. Hum. All netgear says is to install on computer on the disk.
After looking around online which took a lot of time, I finally decided that the main computer needed to be set up. And, there were two choices as to set up. I went with the first to start with but tried the second. Finally, the program loaded on the desktop.
The basic set up with the Netgear router is that you cable it (caleb included) between the modem and the main computer (a desktop here). But, it must be done in a certain order with the power up and on in A, B, C order which is hard to figure out. And, the home base computer must be rebooted which is not noted. This added another day as the laptops did not know they had signals with the computer not rebooted.
Since I shut the computer off at night, then the program "took." Oh glory on the reboot not planned. This is nice and would be good to know.
I had put the CD that came with the Netgear router in the laptops and had those loaded, so with the reboot, they magically did work. So, I had done things right but missed the reboot the night prior.
This was all very frustrating, and I read that about 1/3 of all routers are returned (due to user failure I bet). Now, I don't know if that's true. But, I can imagine it could be. This was a few days setting up this stuff on the fly.
There was a help number, but it was a paid service. Bummer. I paid for the router. They did not offer good instructions. I was not paying more yet on that to Netgear. So, I was thinking to take back the router, since I had checked with Staples and knew how many days I had to figure this out.
It does say on some sheet in the Netgear box that this is a 20 minute project (or maybe it was on the CD). It was a week ordeal for me. Well duh. I can just imagine some of my friends or family with this router and no directions. It just would not happen.
In the end, I did get this router figured out and did not have to call for help and pay for that help. Seriously now, that is tacky that Netgear makes it so hard when it's really not.
If you hit all the right buttons in the right order and have the right computer hooked up first and reboot to signal out to the laptops, then this might be a 20 minute thing. For many people, that would not be the case. I'm rather scrappy and don't give up that easy, and I did get it - finally.
Once set up, the Netgear router works great. The signal on DSL is slower on the units not directly connected (the laptops), but it's not a big deal when we have more options and can have more than one family member surfing at one time.
There are some hidden costs though. If you go with a wireless router on a laptop that has not been wired in, then you need Norton or something like that and have to pay for more security. I did not factor that in. But, I can live with that.
All in all, it was worth it to get this low cost router. It was painful to get it figured out, but it's a little unit that looks cute and does signal to the other home computers. So, we can all be online with only one online charge which is nice. If they made it a little easier to figure out, I'd be much more impressed, and if this Netgear router goes wonky, I can't even imagine trying to figure things out or call for overseas assistance where they say things like they will check with a "comrade." Good grief. Labor may be cheap overseas, but I like directions and help that I can understand. I'd pay more too out of pocket. But, I did get this router cheap and got it working, so I guess I'm good.
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Amount Paid (US$): 35
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