Friday, March 06, 2009

Customer Support: Airtel, BSNL and Netgear

On the economic slowdown, we decided to cut back some of our expenses. BSNL offered a flat 20% discount for government employees. My wife, being a government employee chose to switch our land line and broadband from Airtel to BSNL.

She applied, got the connection in about a week. Then we went onto cancel the account with Airtel. The day after I submitted the request for cancellation, Airtel guys called up to make an offer - a cheaper deal so that we continue to keep their connection and not worry about change in the number. I politely declined saying that I'm fine with the small effort needed in keeping people informed of the new number.

A week after we got the BSNL line, the JTO from BSNL informed us that the broadband connection is through too. He offered to help setup the connection. He didn't care to understand our current configuration and insisted that we follow what said. I decided to give it a shot - reset the router-ADSL combo (Netgear DG834G-v3) and began doing the setup. As expected it didn't work. I searched for the installation CD and tried reinstalling the router software.

Now comes the pain point. The installer indicated that the line doesn't have ADSL signals. We called up BSNL for support; they came with their own modem, tested the line and said it is fine and concluded the problem is with the router. I struggled for a couple of days with the power-off-reset-change socket-change cable cycles and decided to go for a new router. Technical intuition told me that we might be missing something and shouldn't need to get a router. Luckily we decided to hold back on buying a new ADSL+router as the price quoted in open market was almost double that of what BSNL was quoting.

After so much efforts, the techie in me had given up and decided to cry for help. I called up NetGear support this morning. Surprisingly, there were support engineers available to help outside of the standard office hours of 9-5. The support person understood that I'm reasonably technical and didn't dumb me down like the BSNL JTO. She patiently walked me through the series of steps including resetting the modem, reconfiguring a few parameters to get it to working.

No comments: