So I’ve just taken another punt with another foray into the world of routers. I use Virgin Media here in the UK as they really are the best provider by a long shot. I think in the last 13+ years I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had an issue with their service. Even then the outage has been measured in mere hours. For a network of that size and complexity that’s a hell of thing to be able to say.
So anyway. Networks.
Despite my technical background I still find real nuts and bolts networking a little like black magic. Yes I have more than a working understanding of what’s going on but there is a reason Cisco network engineers earn six figure salaries. It’s hard. Thankfully we’re only talking about home networks. Here’s a diagram of mine.
Two summers ago I decided that it was time to upgrade my home router. I had been using the plain “Super” hubs provided by Virgin Media. As routers, they are passable for average users. They are, to be fair, not terrible. But when it comes to tech, describing something as “not terrible” isn’t much of a review. They are foolproof and that’s the key thing. They are extremely feature poor and generally produce very weak WiFi signals. Virgin also have a habit of leaving customers with very old tech. I had to request a new Super Hub as mine had gotten so old it not longer properly supported my devices with the latest WiFi tech.
Anyway, at that time I bought the NETGEAR R8000 router. Over the years I’ve used many pieces of NETGEAR kit. In the diagram above, the switch is a NETGEAR switch. So I got the router home. Set it all up and off I went happily. 3 months later I wake up one morning and the entire network is down.
To cut a long story short. It seems that the router had identified an update overnight. Pulled down the update in order to install it, installed it and in the process had entirely bricked itself. I tried everything to recover it. Running setup wizards again, factory resetting. Nothing could resurrect my network or router.
A quick pop to the shop and it was exchanged for another R8000. That one lasted two weeks before doing the same thing. Utterly bricked itself overnight with an update.
At that point, and after starting a thread on the NETGEAR communities it seems this experience was far from unusual. Honestly, I was a little shocked. NETGEAR had always been a name I’d trusted as I’d used so much of their kit over the years. Anyway, I cut my losses and just went back to using the VM router. Here’s just one of the posts on the NETGEAR site with another clearly experienced person having an identical experience to mine.
Fast forward to now.
I have a spangly new ASUS RT-AX92U.
Took all over 5 mins to install and setup. Running like a dream. Will probably do a full review at some point. So far I can highly recommend this router but it is also still early days.