Thursday, May 8, 2008


Why doesn't the electronics salesman at Staples know that Apple hasn't sold a laptop without a built-in Airport card in like 5 years?

Why does the user manual for the Netgear wireless router I bought today tell me I can't use the easy setup unless I'm using a PC running Vista or Windows? (The package says the device supports Mac OS.)

Why does the first person at Tech Support for Netgear run me through the entire set up to get the thing up and running and then not tell me I have to re-set a bunch of the stuff she made me change during set up to be able to connect wirelessly after the setup is complete?

Why does the hold recording at Verizon keep telling me that I can solve most of my problems by using their helpful website...when I've just finished hitting a bunch of prompts to indicate that my problem is that I can't get on the internet?

When I call Netgear again, why can't the new guy understand what I'm telling him when I say, "You know that list of networks that show up when I click on the Airport icon...Well my brand-new network isn't showing up."

Why doesn't he have an answer for me when I say, "The box says this should work at 10 times the distance and 10 times the speed. It just took 25 seconds to load a page with no graphics."

Why, after putting me on hold again, does he comes back and say "I was looking to see if we have any drivers for Mac, but we only have them for PC's." Then he brightly says, "We're coming out with them next year."

"Why", I ask him, "does the box say it supports Mac OS, when clearly, it doesn't?" He then says, "No, it fully supports Mac OS." I tell him that we must have different definitions of the word "fully".


I'll be returning the Netgear POS tomorrow and then I'll go to a place with people who know about the products they're selling.

If any of you know a wireless router that works really well with Mac and with DSL, I'd love to hear about it. Also, hopefully it's a company where you can speak to someone who's English is proficient enough that I don't have to ask him to repeat himself every third sentence.


Shawn Powers said...

Most do work well with Apple, you just need to configure them with the web client. If you're going to get another one, though, the Airport Express base stations are pretty slick, and not overly expensive.

If you want to make the one you have work, feel free to email or call me -- I can probably help you on your mac more efficiently than their tech support. (Serious offer)

MWT said...

Hmm. Airport Express here too. Plug it in and voila.

Why do you need something more complex than that?

Eric said...

Here I was going to be all brilliant and suggest the AirPort Express, and when I get to the comments page, what do I see? That Shawn and MWT have beaten me to the punch.

So let me suggest three-for-three. I use an AirPort Express for a network that's only accessed by Linux and Windows machines. I'm just going to assume it would work with Apples (and if it doesn't, I would laugh so hard I would have to be rushed to the hospital to have my ruptured appendix removed before sepsis set in).

Seriously, get the APE. My own experience with Netgear was that the picture on the front of the box performed much better than the actual router.

Nathan said...

First of all,

Duh! Why didn't it even occur to me to think about an Apple product to use with my Apple product. Just dumb sometimes?

So now that we're on the subject, does anyone know the difference between Airport Express ($99) and Airport Extreme base station ($179)? I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've to to link the router to a printer/fax/scanner/dog-walker. I currently do that with an ethernet cable, but I've probably got the USB cable hanging around somewhere.

Shawn Powers said...

The airport express doesn't route to ethernet, just wireless. So yeah, You'd have to hook your printer to it with a USB cable. (I think the printer sharing might be Apple only, I dunno, I've never used it)

The remote speakers is pretty slick though, I wish I had an Airport Express myself. :)

MWT said...

Mine has one ethernet port, one USB port, and one for speakers. I have my cable modem plugged into the ethernet port. In theory I should be able to plug the printer into the USB port and have it print, but for some reason my computer can't find the printer that way. As it's not terribly high priority for me to print that way, I've not worried about fixing it.

Nathan said...

I really do want to be able to print that way, but I'm wondering what an additional $80 buys me beyond three ethernet ports.

Shawn Powers said...

I have the Airport Extreme base station. It supports 802.11n, has the LAN side ethernet ports, and allows for an attached USB hard drive. The hard drive feature sucks, and you don't get the remote speaker feature.

Nathan said...

OK, now I'm really totally confused.

I don't know what 802.11n means.

I don't know what the hard drive feature is...that sucks. And I don't have speaker for the music function, but I might like to get them.


Shawn Powers said...

802.11n is a wireless protocol that allows for faster network access. Unless you have other network computers in your house, you will NOT benefit from 802.11n.

The hard drive feature is that if you have an external USB hard drive, you can have it automatically mount on your desktop when you connect to the base station. It's flaky. It's not fast. It's weird. And you can't use it for the Time Machine backup program.

If I didnt' need the LAN ethernet ports for servers, etc, I'd have an Airport Express.

Shawn Powers said...

OK, I guess theoretically, printing to a USB attached printer might go faster with 802.11n -- but not noticeably.

Jim Wright said...

Get a PC.

(snork, I always wanted to say that!)

Eric said...

What Shawn and MWT said. (And Jim--the Airport Express works beautifully with PCs. Just saying.)

Nathan, one of the reasons that the Express may be perfect for you is that, like a lot of Apple products, it's basically a magic box you plug in and it does stuff. (This might be the quality I most admire in Apple, even more than their aesthetics--they build home electronics that usually work much the way home appliances do.) I can't say how much work you'll have to do on the Apple to set up the network, but on the PC the setup is pretty much a matter of running the setup program and selecting your network name and passwords.

Like MWT, I don't run a printer from my AP Express, but supposedly it's basically just a matter of plugging in a USB cable. My guess would be that all you need is the Express, not the Extreme. The 802.11n Shawn mentioned is faster and better and prettier and is student body president, but practically nobody uses it yet. Don't worry about it and if anyone asks you what kind of wireless you need, just say "g" and forget it.

Nathan said...


As you'll see from today's post...all up and running and in love.