Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Product Recall

I've never been affected by one of these before, but there you go.

Netgear (a credible manufacturer of network hardware) have a bit of a problem with a relatively new device: the XE103 HomePlug network adaptor. It appears that someone forgot to do proper testing of the device in a 220/240V environment (i.e. all European and most African and Asian countries). The circuit that allows the device to run at 240V overheats and fails, in my case within 48 hours of installation. The resulting little brick is a sorry sight with no blinken-lighten or activity of any sort. But my XE104 4-port switch is unaffected (thankfully!).

But, for that first 48 hours, I was really happy with my ethernet-over-powerline network. It allowed me to remove 5 long cables (including two strung through the stair-well between two floors of the house!) and put the wireless hub / broadband modem / ethernet router in the centre of the house (it's a very neat Netgear DG834G 54Mbps Wireless ADSL Modem Firewall Router with 4-port 10/100 switch that has given me very, very good service for more than two years solid). Best of all, the powerline kit really is plug-and-play... no setup at all, unless you want to change the network password.

So, anyway, the courier will come and collect my XE103, and return it to Netgear's UK representative, at which point, an XEPS103 will be sent out. This is a more bulky device with a power supply for a compatible Netgear router builtin... which, on extra thinking, will be rather handy given how I've relocated the router next to a single socket, so that should work out okay afterall! In the meantime, my poor desktop PC is routing through a laptop sharing it's wireless connection via it's ethernet port, as re-connecting all the cabling I disassembled on Friday would just be so disheartening!

Not bad... a company releases a faulty device, recalls it properly, and still comes out smelling if not of roses, at least not of dung. (Though I reserve final judgement pending the actions of the courier and Netgear's UK rep A-Novo)

Links: the press release, the registration website, and the details of the replacement device on offer.

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