Never buy a Belkin (well, not if you want good advice, support or, even, anyone that speaks English in a way you can understand)

“There is a lot of fear about switching on encryption”, said Rob Falconer, sales and marketing manager at router manufacturer Belkin, which supplies its wireless devices without encryption.

“But we always recommend using WPA or WEP as a bare minimum and we try to make it as easy as possible.”

Although customer security is important, financial considerations come first, he said.

“If we shipped them with WPA encryption turned on and unique passwords, our costs would go up dramatically. At the moment we can’t see a cost-effective way of doing that.”

So, there’s a lot of fear about switching encryption, eh?  And there’d be a really good reason.

So today I read this on the BBC website. I thought, well, if my own router manufacturer seems to imply it’s easy, then it must be.  At the worst, I can always switch it back.  I checked the Belkin website and the manual supplied, on CD, with my wireless network card.  Nothing.  Niente.  OK then, I thought, it can’t be that difficult.

So, without any fear I opened up the Belkin explorer page to my router.  I clicked on Security.  I chose a hard (even for me) to remember password and clicked Apply.

And there you have it.  If you have a smidgen of fear – IGNORE THEIR ADVICE!  Even if you don’t – IGNORE THEIR ADVICE!

I could no longer access my Belkin router, nor the internet to look for advice.  I thought – OK, this can’t be that bad.  Obviously I must have to type this password into my computer end, somewhere.

But where?  Where, on my computer does it even mention WPA?  Nowhere, that’s where.  No problem.  There’s a bit on Network key.  That must be it.  Ah, but the password I had chosen was 15 characters (in line with the advice in the BBC article.  And, unfortunately, I’m limited to 13 characters via my Belkin wireless card.  Good eh?

Luckily, I found, in the manual, a number to call.  Was it good?  Well, to be frank, I don’t know where the call centre was but almost certainly not in the UK, so no, it wasn’t good.  I found it so very difficult to understand them and I really felt that they did not know what they were doing.  She kept saying now do this, when ‘this’ didn’t even exist.  Eventually, I got her to understand that I could only have 13 characters in the network key but had 15 set on my Belkin router.  So then (bearing in mind this is wireless networking – without any need for wires), she said I needed to connect it with a cable.  What bloody cable?  I said I would have to find one, connect it and call back as I had already been on the phone for so long (mainly getting her to repeat things or re-telling her what was on my screen).  She gave me a reference number.

I scrabbled around all over the place to find a cable (you apparently still need them even if you use a wireless router).

I connected.  I called back and spoke to some bloke with an equally indiscernible way of speaking English (actually he was worse and I had to ask him to repeat everything twice – even then I had to guess what he meant).

So then, he wanted me to pull up the Belkin router page.  This I did and he told me to click on Security.  I asked him if I should type in my password first and he said no.  Of course, it won’t work without a password.  He got it in the end.  Then we went to Security.  He tried to get me to change it to WEP and, following the article above I asked what the point was.  Anyway, I’ve now set it to how it was and at least it’s working, no thanks to Belkin or their support.

Belkin support is crap.  Next time I have to buy a router I will be getting something else and not Belkin.  It would help, I suppose if a) they had native English speakers in their Technical Help Centre and b) if their Technical Help Centre employed people who were reasonably technically competent.

And a final message to Rob Falconer – you’re in Sales & Marketing – what do you know?-  It would seem ‘jack shit’.’  I’ve spent a small fortune fixing something that wasn’t broken before you implied I should have no fear.’  Mate, unless you have a support team that a) spoke English and b) were ready for the typical Sales and Marketing pitch from you guys, then maybe, just maybe, you can spout your Sales and Marketing blurb.’  I expect it’s not cost effective to ship them properly configured, especially when you can get the stupid, fearless punters to pay the telephone bills.  This router has, in all likelihood, now cost me about three times the price I paid for it.  Not so bloody cheap any more.

End of Rant

3 thoughts on “Never buy a Belkin (well, not if you want good advice, support or, even, anyone that speaks English in a way you can understand)

  1. Pingback: Goodbye to Matteo, Silvi, Cennamo, Francesca, Amerigo and WM Arthur, I’ll miss you guys. |

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