A little while back I had problems with my old Belkin N1 wireless router and was still amazed that despite a general lack of customer service in South Africa, Incredible Connection (of all places) managed to impress me.
Netgear provides in my opinion the only reasonable consumer networking products and I will stick with my Netgear DG834 (running DGTeam firmware) as it has never disappointed. A few months back I tried Linksys (being Cisco now), but their Soho routers are not even capable of providing a custom netmask. But there is one benefit no company currently can match with Belkin – a life-time replacement warranty on their products.
As a follow up on my pitching session about MTN, perhaps companies should look at Incredible Connection and Belkin for a number of reasons. As a first Belkin provides a life-time warranty on their products. Belkin’s products don’t perform exceptionally well (in comparison to Netgear or Cisco), but to prove the point:
I bought the Belkin N1 router some 14 months ago at R 2,500.00. This was a brilliant price, considering that it was the first N-draft, gigabit router on the market. The router died and the local Belkin representation (Gobic) was very quick in providing a credit note for a replacement. It takes guts for a company to provide life-time warranty, but it will certainly create brand-loyalty.
Incredible Connection comes into the picture as they handled the return (regardless of where you purchased the Belkin product, you can hand it into any Incredible-store, provided you have the till-slip). Once Gobic established that the router can not be repaired and was not damaged by lightning, I was able to pick up a replacement at the store.
There was no fuss, as the current N1 price was R 2,700.00 and the assistant even offered to give me the N1′s replacement the newer N+ modem router which goes for almost R 3,000.00. Although this was my first positive experience at Incredible Connection, it paints a clear picture, that some companies are becoming more customer centric than others.
The N+ is okay, and does everything the N1 did. I tried the ADSL mode, but it’s firmware can not compete with a well tuned open-source firmware running on the Netgear. The N+’s storage feature (plug in any USB device and it will mount it as a network share via Samba) is about the only advantage (but then again, I have 2Tb of storage on my NAS).