Blog for hpHosts, and whatever else I feel like writing about ....

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Dear Netgear: Fire the script monkey please .....

I thought I'd treat myself to a router upgrade, given the current one (DG384Gv2) was struggling with the traffic on the network, and opted for the DGN2000 (would've loved a newer and better one, but this one cost £94, the rest were over £150). Configuring it for the network took a couple seconds, which was great as I needed it done asap, and switching the old to the new took miliseconds (well all you have to do is unplug a couple cables, then plug 'em into the new one).

Alas, this is where the problems started. Checking the connectivity showed external access to the internal servers worked fantastically, and external access to the likes of Google worked perfectly - but - LAN access to the servers via hostname didn't work. I double, triple and quadruple checked the configs and connections, to make sure I'd not missed anything - I hadn't.

I decided to phone Netgear to find out what the problem was, and boy did I wish I hadn't. The first bloke I spoke to asked me to check port forwarding, create a manual service to ports 443-447, and a whole world of other useless stuffage. Then finally decided to tell me "sorry, this router does not support it" (referring to the LAN access to the servers) - what utter bollocks. Advising him he was talking rubbish, I asked to speak to a supervisor, this took yet another 15-20 mins. Finally getting to talk to a manager/supervisor (and I doubt he actually was as he was just as useless), he had me go through the same rubbish again, before finally telling me yet again that the router quite simply did not support connecting to the internal servers from the LAN via their hostname (err, yeah).

I told him my DG834Gv2 worked perfectly, and all routers with port forwarding supported this, so he was talking rubbish. He put me on hold.

Whilst on hold, I decided to see if there was a firmware upgrade I could try - there was (router comes with v1.1.1). Still on hold, I upgraded the routers firmware to v1.1.8, rebooted the router and voila - everything was working perfectly.

He finally took me off hold and said the router didn't support it, and he pointed me to the "work around";

Asking if he was joking, he said no (so let me get this straight, to access the internal servers via their hostname, I've got to modify my HOSTS file???? errr, yeah).

Cutting a long and boring story short, I told him he was talking absolute nonesense (didn't use those exact words but you get the drift), and how did I know that? BECAUSE I'D FIXED IT WHILST ON HOLD!!!. (he asked how and I told him, which apparently surprised him, "we weren't told that" he muttered).

To get to the point, I'd like to inform Netgear, if you're going to hire script monkeys, at least make sure those monkeys actually know what they're talking about, and aren't simply following the script!!! (scripts are great for simpleton stuff such as the ever increasing use of "have you restarted the computer" (I always laugh when I hear that), but they're useless for stuffage that actually requires knowledge!).

I'd actually looked for the firmware upgrade before calling them, but since the update notes didn't mention a fix for the problem I was experiencing, I didn't bother with it - wished I had done once I noticed it actually did fix the problem.


Andrew from Vancouver said...

The problem that the v1.1.8 BIOS fixes sounds like a problem with NAT from the inside to the outside and back again.

The workaround they publish is simple enough for a home network, especially when most are Windows machines using NetBIOS with their internal hostname only. Or Apples running Rendezvous.

The Enterprise workaround is split-horizon DNS, so the internal hosts resolve each others' internal addresses, and DNS for their inbound external addresses is resolved elsewhere.

Does that sound like a familiar problem resolved in the release notes?

MysteryFCM said...

I don't recall seeing anything about it in the 1.1.8 release notes, no.