My wireless router failed. Sunday afternoon, without warning, simply stopped transmitting to the house. The lights were on but certainly no one was home. What happened next was a Monty Pythonesque series of events.
You realise how important and Internet connection is when it vanishes on you. All of a sudden nine devices in the house are all bleating pathetically as they attempt to reconnect to the world. Data flow is dead. All you have is whatever you recorded on SKY, which is generally a woeful back stop for actual digital content.
I’m on Telstraclear/Vodafone’s Warpspeed plan and it usually gives me a decent sustained throughput of around 70Mbs. Not when the router isn’t working. But anyway, remember that number.
I ring the 0800 number. Thirty minute wait time. On a sunny Sunday afternoon. It’s ridiculous. Finally, I get through to Brittany and my experience improves.
Brittany is excellent, for the first time in years I feel like I am dealing with someone that actually understands networking. We walk through a plethora of tests and attempts to bring the dead router back. Nothing works. Then the really bad news. Brittany tells me that they are low on routers and that I’m looking at least two weeks before I can get a replacement.
I’m not particularly happy with that, so Brittany arranges to call me back on the Monday and put me in touch with the department who can hurry that process up.
Monday comes, that department are all on leave given it is Auckland anniversary. Just as an aside Telstraclear/Vodafone service department, there is actually three million other New Zealanders who live beyond Auckland. Brittany txt’s me to say she’ll call me on the Tuesday to connect me to the currently missing service department.
In the meantime, I’ve dug out an old wireless router and managed to get some service back. You can see the speedtest results above. You see, the router is critical in the overall performance of your internet connection and what you can see with the speedtest is that the old router simply has about 15% of the normal router. But, I have patchy, slow, internet access.
Tuesday, Brittany calls me with good news. She is going to put me through to Netcomm, the supplier of said dead router, and all I need to do is give them my model and serial number. They’ll organise a new router for me.
So begins the Monty Python part of the service.
I speak to a man who has an accent I can’t identify. For all I know, he could be on Mars. Possibly, he is. First of all he starts down the same track that Brittany has trying to fix the router. I’m working, I’m busy, so I say to him, “The router is dead. You can’t connect to it via cable nor wireless.”
“When you connect to it”, says the persistent automaton, “can you see the admin webpage?”
“You’re not listening to me,” say I, “the router is dead. Nothing can connect to it.”
“Can I get you to plug your laptop into the router and change your network settings.”
“No I will not. Are you hard of hearing? I’ve been through this with Brittany and the router is dead. I’m not going to go through this whole process again.”
On hold. Dingle dangle 1980’s hold electronic music. Time passes.
The automaton is back.
“We need you to send us through proof of purchase of the router before we can replace it.”
“You’ll need to talk to Brittany about that, this is nothing to do with me.”
“So, can you send through the proof of purchase please.”
“I. Am. The. Customer. Listen carefully. I’m talking to you to give you the serial number of my dead router and its model number. You are then sending me a replacement. That is all. Anything else, talk to Brittany.”
Dingle dongle dangle the hold comes on and I am stuck in electronica purgatory for a time.
The automaton is back. He asks for my model number and serial number. Which, I duly give him. Are we making progress? Sort of, we’ve got past the script so far. Then the bad news. Before I get a new router, I must send back my old router to an address in Auckland. Then, within five business days, they will send out a replacement.
I add that up in my head… It will be a total elapsed time of nearly three weeks. Not good enough.
“That’s not good enough. I want you to send me the replacement now, and I’ll send the broken one.”
“That is not our policy.”
“I don’t give a toss about your policy. My internet connection is not working and I’m not waiting three weeks for a replacement router. Let me talk to your supervisor please.”
I am put through to automaton two.
“When you connect to the router, can you see the admin page?”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
“My router is dead,” my will is sapped, “I need you to send me a replacement.”
“Can you see the wireless?” the automaton persists, I go with it. He asks me all the same things that Brittany did, the first automaton did, and since I know the answers, I give them to him. His last question is a stroke of technical brilliance.
“Have you turned it off and on again?”
I mute the phone for a few seconds as I burst into uncontrollable laughter. Have I turned it off and on again? Damn straight I have, dozens of times.
“It seems your router is broken.”
No shit Sherlock.
I am then given the address to return the broken router and told blah blah blah. I just want off the phone. Get off the phone. Feel better.
I go and buy a router online. It will arrive today. It’s just easier. No, I shouldn’t have to fork out for a new one, but I can’t do without decent Internet access in my job. The old router can sit there in its box, broken, until I find another provider. Then, it can be sent back as it is to Telstraclear Vodafone.
You see, it will take days to get to Auckland. Then it will have to be receipted. They won’t want to send me a new one so they will test it, when they can. Then I’ll get a dodgy re-purposed one back or my original. I’ll never get a new replacement back. It’s pointless.
Lessons I have learned:
- Brittany at Telstraclear is great.
- The @vodafonenz social media team is great.
- Netcomm is shit.
- Netcomm lets down Telstraclear and Vodafone.
- Netcomm routers expire on Sunday’s for no reason.
- Don’t buy Netcomm routers.
- Buy your own router. Better yet, buy two. Make sure they are fast.