Netgear WNR2000's VOIP problems.

Welcome to the horrors of Netgear's Technical Support

You'll read a lot of bad comments about Netgear's support on Amazon and other websites.
Below is the "technical support" that I received... I'll leave you to judge the quality of their support for yourself.

Show full emails

November 24, 2010

From:Mike Gledhill
To:Netgear technical support

Please could you tell me the official verdict on how to get VOIP working with this Router.

Your forum is full of users complaining about calls being cut out after either 20 seconds, or 16 minutes.

I have tried using the very latest firmware, I have tried downgrading (as recommended) and either way, this router cuts out VOIP calls.

This router simply doesn''t seem reliable with VOIP.

What action (and firmware version) do you recommend ?

November 24, 2010

From:Netgear technical support
To:Mike Gledhill

Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Anand and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
I understand that you are facing intermittent VoIP calls through the router. I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced. Since we are doing this online, it may require a few email exchanges before we can resolve the issue. Please be assured that I will do my best effort to help resolve your case in the least amount of time.
Regarding the concern, please perform the below task to configure settings on the router:
1. Connect a computer to the router using any one of the 4 available ports.
2. Open a web browser like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
3. Access the router's GUI by typing 'http://192.168.1.1' or 'http://www.routerlogin.com' in the address bar.
4. When prompted for Username and Password, please enter 'admin' for the Username and 'password' for Password.
5. Click on WAN setup from left menu. Check the box for 'Disable SPI Firewall'.
6. Set the MTU size to 1400. Click apply.
Please do visit http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries regarding NETGEAR products.
I hope the steps above will help resolve the issue. If you need any further help, please email us back so that we can continue to work on a solution.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Anand Gupta
Technical Support
NETGEAR, Inc.
Open a web browser.. Access the router's GUI by typing 'http://www.routerlogin.com'
Click on WAN setup from left menu. Check the box for 'Disable SPI Firewall'.
Set the 'MTU size' to 1400. Click apply.
November 28, 2010
When I first starting using my Netgear router, any VOIP phonecalls would cut off after 16 minutes. I upgraded the firmware to the latest version, and it worked perfectly.
For about a week.
Then it cut off after about 20 seconds. (I made NO other changes in the meantime, I leave the router well alone. I don''t understand it, I just want it to perform the basics.)
By "downgrading" the firmware to v1.1.3.9, I am back to the original problem. VOIP phonecalls (currently) work fine... but then cut out after 16 minutes. They never survive into the 17th minute.
I have performed the actions that your "automated response email" recommended (''Disable SPI Firewall''. and set the MTU to 1400) and the result is exactly the same.
My VOIP calls never survive into the 17th minute.
So, I repeat my question.
I repeat my question.
Which version of the firmware should I be using to GUARANTEE that VOIP calls work via your router ?
I will be quoting your response (or lack of it) on the Forums, as many other users have been suffering from this problem (and lack of technical support) for well over a year.
I will be quoting your response (or lack of it) on the Forums
November 29, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Aakash and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
I understand that you are unable get optimum performance with your VoIP phone using NETGEAR WNR2000 router. I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced. Since we are doing this online, it may require a few email exchanges before we can resolve the issue. Please be assured that I will do my best effort to help resolve your case in the least amount of time.
Regarding your concern, please note that the NETGEAR WNR2000 router does not have any function to set the specific time frame for VoIP calls. However, we can try some troubleshooting steps in order to isolate and resolve the issue. Please reset and reconfigure the NETGEAR router after upgrading the latest firmware version and check if that helps you.
Please do visit http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries regarding NETGEAR products.
If you can kindly let me know the responses of the above, we can further determine the next action.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aakash Verma
NETGEAR, Inc.
..the NETGEAR WNR2000 router does not have any function to set the specific time frame for VoIP calls.
However.. please reset and reconfigure the NETGEAR router after upgrading the latest firmware version and check if that helps you.
What ?! Netgear has known about this "VOIP cutting off" issue for a year, what are they on about ?!
Anyway, notice that they're now recommending that I use the latest firmware.
November 29, 2010
Shockingly bad customer service.
In my email to you, I specifically told you that I HAVE TRIED using the latest firmware, and the problem is still there (as it is for many of your other users on your forum).
VOIP phonecalls cut out after 15-16 minutes. Every time.
Can a human being please reply to my query, rather than just sending an automated reply which is vaguely relevant based on a couple of keywords within my message.
I specifically told you that I HAVE TRIED using the latest firmware, and the problem is still there.
Can a human being please reply to my query..
November 29, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Aakash and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
Regarding the concern, it may be appropriate for me to seek additional resources. I recommend escalating your case to the next level for further review and response. I strongly believe that you will be contacted at the earliest.
This message is for your information only. There is no additional action needed from you at this time. The next level support engineer will update the case and you will be notified.
Please do visit our knowledge base at: http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries you have regarding NETGEAR products.
Again, thank you for choosing NETGEAR and we appreciate your continued patience. We will get back with you very shortly.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aakash Verma
NETGEAR, Inc.
Regarding the concern, it may be appropriate for me to seek additional resources. I recommend escalating your case to the next level for further review and response. I strongly believe that you will be contacted at the earliest.
December 2, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Aakash and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
Regarding your concern, please follow the instructions listed below in order to get the desired solution:
A. Please RE-FLASH the firmware version on the NETGEAR router to v1.1.3.9. You can visit the link listed below in order to upgrade the firmware:
http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/935
B. BACK-UP AND RESTORE THE SETTINGS:
1. Open a web browser like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari.
2. Access the router's GUI by typing 'http://192.168.1.1' or 'http://www.routerlogin.com' in the address bar.
3. When prompted for Username and Password, please enter 'admin' for the Username and 'password' for Password.
4. Click on 'Backup Settings' under 'Maintenance' from the left menu.
5. Click on 'Backup' and save the copy of backup on your computer.
6. Click on 'Erase' to restore the router to factory default settings.
7. Click on 'OK' or 'YES' option on the pop-up window. It will reset and reboot the router.
8. You can login into the router's web interface again using the default login credentials as mentioned above.
9. Go to 'Backup Settings' again.
10. Click on 'Browse' for 'Restore saved settings from a file' option and locate the backup file that you have saved on the computer.
11. Click on 'OK' or 'Upload' to restore the settings on the router.
C. DISABLE SIP ALG:
You can disable the SIP ALG function of the NETGEAR router by following the instructions listed below:
1. Click on 'WAN Setup' under 'Advanced' from the left menu.
2. Check the box says 'Disable SIP ALG'.
3. Click on 'Apply'.
4. Logout of the router .
Please do visit our knowledge base at: http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries you have regarding NETGEAR products.
I hope the steps are explicit enough to assist you to achieve successful resolution of the issue. If you need any further help, please email us back so that we can continue to work on a solution.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aakash Verma
NETGEAR, Inc.
Please RE-FLASH the firmware version on the NETGEAR router to v1.1.3.9.
Backup your settings, Click on 'Erase' to restore the router to factory default settings, Restore your settings, then:
1. Click on 'WAN Setup' under 'Advanced' from the left menu.
2. Check the box says 'Disable SIP ALG'.
3. Click on 'Apply'.
Now Netgear has recommended that I downgrade my Router's firmware to v1.1.3.9, which is a version from September 2009.
December 13, 2010
I have followed these steps to the letter...
...and my VOIP phonecalls are still being cut off after 15 minutes.
Do you have any other suggestions...?
I have followed these steps... and my VOIP phonecalls are still being cut off after 15 minutes.
Do you have any plans to FIX this problem, rather than suggesting that users should downgrade to an older firmware release ?
December 14, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Aakash and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
Regarding your concern, at the moment please downgrade the firmware version on the router which will assist you to get the desired solution and check if that helps you.
Please do visit our knowledge base at: http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries you have regarding NETGEAR products.
I hope the steps above will help resolve the issue. If you need any further help, please email us back so that we can continue to work on a solution.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aakash Verma
NETGEAR, Inc.
please downgrade the firmware version on the router which will assist you to get the desired solution and check if that helps you.
Aaaaggggggghhhhhhh!!!!
December 20, 2010
I've given up.
Read back through our email correspondence, and tell me whether you think you''ve provided answers to my questions.
"Upgrade the firmware to the latest version".
"Downgrade to v1.1.3.9."
"Downgrade the firmware version"
Be honest - you have NO IDEA how to fix this issue.
I am currently setting up a website to quote each of your emails, to show the world how bad your support has been (as you''re refusing to let me post my experience on your Forum).
Oh, and I''ve just bought myself a cheap Linksys WRT160N router, and it worked straightaway. No VOIP problems at all.
Perhaps, they''ve actually addressed their router''s bugs, rather than telling users to downgrade, upgrade, side-grade and waste time messing around pointlessly.
I''ve just bought myself a cheap Linksys WRT160N router, and it worked straightaway. No VOIP problems at all.
Perhaps, [Linksys has] actually addressed their router's bugs, rather than randomly telling users to downgrade, upgrade, side-grade their firmware, and wasting their customers time.
December 21, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Anand and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
Based on the complexity of this case, it may be appropriate for me to seek additional resources. I recommend escalating your case to the next level for further review and response.
I strongly believe that you will be contacted at the earliest.
This message is for your information only. There is no additional action needed from you at this time. The next level support engineer will update the case and you will be notified.
Again, thank you for choosing NETGEAR and we appreciate your continued patience. We will get back with you very shortly.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Anand Gupta
Technical Support
NETGEAR, Inc.
Excellent ! Their automated support will contact me "at the earliest" again.
Meanwhile, I noticed today that Netgear has tagged my support call with a slightly incorrect "cause" :

The real cause of the VOIP problem !

This is a known issue with their router, it's been widely reported by their own users, yet Netgear are still pretending it's the fault of some unknown third-party software !!
December 22, 2010
Dear terrible automated Technical Support,
Wonderful news!
As promised, I have now published the full text of our correspondence, regarding how the "Netgear WNR2000" refuses to work with VOIP on the following website:
Dear terrible automated Technical Support, Wonderful news!
As promised, I have now published the full text of our correspondence,
Now, the whole world can read about how Netgear censors it's Forums (so users can't complain about how unreliable your router is) and how incredibly bad your Technical Support is.
I'm eagerly awaiting your next email reply, so I can add this to the website.
Meanwhile, I shall continue to write reviews, with links to this website, on Amazon, CNet, and any other websites I can find, to warn users about how badly this router works with VOIP.
Happy Christmas !
December 22, 2010
Dear Michael,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR. My name is Aakash and I will be your support engineer. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
I apologize for the delay in next response. Regarding your concern, your case is being researched upon and will be updated very soon. Please allow them additional time to respond to you.
This message is for your information only. There is no additional action needed from you at this time. The next level support engineer will update the case and you will be notified.
Please do visit our knowledge base at: http://kb.netgear.com for any technical queries you have regarding NETGEAR products.
Again, thank you for choosing NETGEAR and we appreciate your continued patience. We will get back with you very shortly.
A system generated e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address to inform you that we have responded to your inquiry. Please DO NOT REPLY to the e-mail sent to your e-mail address. Instead, if you want to reply to the message above and have additional query, please click "no" when the system ask you "Was your problem resolved with the information provided by the NETGEAR representative above?" When you select YES, your case will be closed and a separate e-mail containing a survey link will be sent to you to measure your customer support experience.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aakash Verma
NETGEAR, Inc.
I apologize for the delay in next response.
..your case is being researched upon and will be updated very soon.
Please allow them additional time to respond to you.
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR and we appreciate your continued patience.
Hmmm, so they've known about this VOIP problem for well over a year, but they still need to do a bit more research before they are able to reply to me.
Now they know that their pointless email responses are being broadcast to the world, what will they come up with next...? Stay tuned !!
December 28, 2010
Case Number: 13795008
Dear Mr. Gledhill,
Thank you for choosing NETGEAR, my name is Joseph.
Upon reviewing the data you have provided, I believe I have narrowed down your issue to a hardware problem with your product because the firmware that you use is the firmware that is built to fix the problem on VOiP calls that is dropping.
Upon reviewing the data you have provided, I believe I have narrowed down your issue to a hardware problem with your product because the firmware that you use is the firmware that is built to fix the problem on VOiP calls that is dropping. Your product is STILL under warranty and you are entitled to warranty replacement. Please review the Warranty Support card provided with your NETGEAR product for more information regarding RMA or you can read our KB article.
Please go to: http://kbserver.netgear.com/kb_web_files/n100002.asp
Please review the entire document for RMA information including expedited shipment information.
When you call NETGEAR support, please have your serial number and this case number available. When asked, please provide your serial number to the support engineer. Advise them you have an online case and you have been instructed to call for an RMA; provide the case ID as well. I have noted that an RMA has been authorized for you so there will be no need to troubleshoot any further.
If you have additional concerns or questions, this would be a good time to ask the support engineer.
Once you have reviewed my response here, when prompted, please select yes to resolving your case and no to closing it. The RMA specialist will close the case once the RMA has been processed. If you have issues otherwise, please respond to this email for further assistance.
Please remember, if for any reason I am unable to respond back to you within 24 hours, your case is in the main queue so any support engineer can review what we have done and assist you from there.
Again, we appreciate the opportunity to assist you and thank you for choosing NETGEAR.
Sincerely,
Joseph Benjamin B. Mauricio
Level 2 Technical Support
NETGEAR, Inc.
http://my.netgear.com
So, now Netgear reckon that it's actually a hardware problem. But once again note that there's absolutely nothing "personal" relating to my queries in their reply. This is yet another automated reply.

If it is a hardware problem, why wasn't this identified after I told support that firmware v1.1.3.9 hadn't worked ?
Let's ask them.
December 30, 2010
Hi Joseph,
Before I send my router in for a replacement, please could you have the courtesy of answering the following questions.
As you know, I am publishing Netgear''s awful Technical Support emails on my website.
1. "I have narrowed down your issue to a hardware problem.. because the firmware that you use.. is built to fix the problem on VOiP calls that is dropping."
WHICH version of the firmware are you referring to ? Remember, Netgear has advised me to use the latest firmware, firmware v1.1.3.9, and a firmware version earlier than that.
1. WHICH version of the firmware are you referring to ? Remember, Netgear has advised me to use the latest firmware, firmware v1.1.3.9, and a firmware version earlier than that.
 
2. If it is v1.1.3.9, why didn''t your support department suggest returning the product, when I told them that this version hadn''t solved my problem (rather than telling me to downgrade the firmware AGAIN) ?
 
3. How can other sufferers of this VOIP problem detect whether this IS a hardware problem, rather than being caught up in the same Technical Support farce that I''ve been through ?
 
I have asked you 3 questions. Again, please have the courtesy of replying to all 3 of them.
I am quite tired of Netgear ignoring my specific questions, and sending out vaguely relevant automated replies.
Your reply will, of course, be published on my website, for other Netgear victims to benefit from.
http://www.wnr2000.com/
January 16, 2011
Case Number: 13795008
Dear Mr. Gledhill,
This is Aldrin from NETGEAR 2nd Level Technical Support and I am following up on your support case.
I have read your case and understand that you are experiencing VoIP problems with your NETGEAR WNR2000 wireless router.
I have read your case and understand that you are experiencing VoIP problems with your NETGEAR WNR2000 wireless router. I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced. I have answered your previous questions. Please see the details below:
1. WHICH version of the firmware should WNR2000 use, to solve the VOIP problem ? Remember, Netgear has advised me to use the latest firmware, firmware v1.1.3.9, and a firmware version earlier than that.
The support team always suggests to use the latest firmware. An early firmware was suggested to check if this will fix the issue and/or problem exists on that firmware.
2. If it is v1.1.3.9, why didn't your support department suggest returning the product, when I told them that this version hadn't solved my problem rather than telling me to downgrade the firmware AGAIN ?
We apologize for the confusion but this issue may be a software issue rather than a hardware issue.
3. How can other sufferers of this VOIP problem detect whether this IS a hardware problem, rather than being caught up in the same Technical Support farce that I've been through ?
We apologize again for the confusion.
The engineering team has provided us a firmware that can be used to fix this issue.
Before I send you the firmware, you need to accept first the non-disclosure agreement below:
I will send you by email or post as agreed, the firmware, software or documentation discussed only under the condition that you agree and promise not to disseminate it in any way, other than as expressly agreed by the representative who sends it to you including (but not limited to) that you will not post to forums, web sites and FTP servers for others to download, nor will you forward it on by more conventional means like the postal system.
Please also be aware that the firmware/software you are about to receive may be a Beta version which has not been through the full testing cycle therefore it is likely to contain bugs and other unforeseen issues. Should this be acceptable, you must reply to this message stating your acceptance of these terms before the firmware, software or documentation can be sent to you.
Thanks again for choosing NETGEAR. Have a great day!
Sincerely,
Aldrin C. Frianeza
Level 2 Technical Support
NETGEAR, Inc.
http://my.netgear.com
Hilarious.

I guess I should thank Mr Frianeza for finally giving me answers to my questions, but no, I won't be agreeing to their ridiculous non-disclaimer agreement, and wasting any more time on this farce.

At least this email has confirmed what we already knew:
There is a problem with the Netgear WNR2000's firmware, and as of January 2011, a working version has yet to be released.
Despite knowing about the problem with their firmware, Netgear's support has wasted my time, getting me to try various firmwares, suggesting it might be a 3rd-party software issue, and even telling me it definitely is a hardware problem and that I will need to return my router for a replacement under warranty.
And, best of all, Netgear reckons "this may be a software issue rather than a hardware issue", and in the next paragraph says they have a firmware which should fix it. Errr.. yeah, that is a software issue, guys.

In a nutshell, Netgear's technical support is 99% automated, and 100% bloody awful.
And this Router has major, unsolved problems, when you try to use it with voice-over-IP.

Buy a Belkin, buy a Cisco, anything.. but just not this model. Avoid.