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Netgear just made me really appreciate Asus and Merlin

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I had this same experience at my parent's house two years ago.
Got a Netgear at Costco; knew it was going to go poorly when the rubber feet weren't even (it wobbled back and forth) and my fingerprints appeared immediately on the cheap plastic finish.

In that case, I went with Google Nest WiFi (sacrilege, I know), which has worked okay.

I mean the thing is working fine and with the external antennas is giving better coverage and speed than the old Linksys was (5ghz to her streaming box is definitely a big improvement). This is NH so nothing is nearby, would have been another 45 mins to go exchange it, so I just bit the bullet and dealt with it. This is mostly a "set it and forget it" situation so not a big deal, just my first netgear experience in a long time so was a surprising experience.

She actually has 200M internet so yeah I probably should have gotten something for $60 with gig ports but they were all big with lots of lights (both things she is against) and she'd never notice the extra speed anyway.

Actually I had an email from her this morning with the "what is this?" subject and I was fully expecting the screen shot to be her trying to go on the web and a netgear page saying "you must sign up for an account". Luckily they haven't gone that far yet and it was something totally unrelated.
 

 
In that case, I went with Google Nest WiFi (sacrilege, I know), which has worked okay.
<ahem> nothing wrong with that! </ahem> I actually prefer running the google nest wifi over AImesh, because it just works... and I don't need to worry about the family, home automation, google home app crap, lights, devices, whatnot... they can all do their own thing, while I get to experiment and monitor usage on the AX6000. ;)
 
I don't see Netgear account requirements in the User Manual:

The little router looks pretty decent for the price you paid, actually. Good enough set of options for a basic router.

Trust me, it can't be skipped without constantly unplugging the WAN. It seems fairly recent so probably was added long after the manual was written, complaints all over the netgear forums, and apparently they're even actively eliminating the bypasses like going to specific URLs to configure stuff.

Hardware wise not complaining at all, not for the price. But if I were to do it again I'd get the TP Link. Won't be buying anything Netgear going forward.
 
You've got this router for $28. What about spending $400 on XT8 set and looking for stable firmware for >2 years? The XT8 story continues. What about spending $300 on a high-end (back in 2018) AC86U and it dies before reaching 2 years of use? What about Asus sending your new $300 AX86U router straight for RMA after firmware update? Are you going to feel any better? Who is telling you in advance you need to agree to data sharing before using widely advertised firmware features in Asuswrt? Is it written in the User Manual?
 
You've got this router for $28. What about spending $400 on XT8 set and looking for stable firmware for >2 years? The XT8 story continues. What about spending $300 on a high-end (back in 2018) AC86U and it dies before reaching 2 years of use? What about Asus sending your new $300 AX86U router straight for RMA after firmware update? Are you going to feel any better? Who is telling you in advance you need to agree to data sharing before using widely advertised firmware features in Asuswrt? Is it written in the User Manual?
Didn't know you were so sensitive about Netgear. Personally, I will not use them again, you're welcome to. Just sharing my opinion and experience (and appreciation of Asus not doing this BS), and I acknowledged that Trend Micro does engage in data sharing, but they don't require me to provide any personal info just to get access to basic settings of the router, and I can completely opt out of using those features if I don't like it.
 
Didn't know you were so sensitive about Netgear.

Not at all. Just saying the grass is not much greener on the other side of the fence. I never had Netgear home router in use, just a few popular models in my collection. They were excellent - R7000 and R7800. I do have Netgear business switches currently in use though, very expensive ones.

In your situation I would just return this router and find something better for my mother, even if it was more expensive and will take some time to find.
 
Not at all. Just saying the grass is not much greener on the other side of the fence.
Sadly true. I don't plan to buy any more consumer wifi gear from either Netgear or ASUS. Apparently, if you want minimally competent products in this space, you have to spring for SMB-grade gear.
 
Not at all. Just saying the grass is not much greener on the other side of the fence. I never had Netgear home router in use, just a few popular models in my collection. They were excellent - R7000 and R7800. I do have Netgear business switches currently in use though, very expensive ones.

In your situation I would just return this router and find something better for my mother, even if it was more expensive and will take some time to find.

At this point it is working fine and will not need to go into the GUI on a regular basis (probably never), so no sense in changing anything. I actually would have gotten a higher end model with gig ports just to allow the full 200M internet connection to be used but as I said, big with lots of lights is not an option in her house and they all fit into that category. Even on this one, the netgear website says the lights can be disabled, but that option was missing from the latest firmware, so a strip of electrical tape accomplished that (just another annoyance in the whole process).

It is actually those models you mention having gotten such good accolades and reviews years ago that helped me to think that Netgear was comparable to Asus and other "premium" brands. Unfortunately it appears I was mistaken. I recall when shopping for my RT-AC1900 there was an R7xxx series for about the same price (both on clearance, ironically at walmart like 5 years ago). I got the 1900 for $25 and the R7xxx was $30 or $35. After checking both online I was swayed slightly in the direction of Asus but now I know that was definitely the better choice.

Actually one of the funniest thing about the lights is that until you sign up for the Netgear account, the internet light stays orange meaning "no internet connection". So they won't even let you see the status of the router until you register. Absurd.
 
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Sadly true. I don't plan to buy any more consumer wifi gear from either Netgear or ASUS. Apparently, if you want minimally competent products in this space, you have to spring for SMB-grade gear.

I've been happy with the Asus, though the AC-68 (or AC-1900 in my case) does seem to be one of the best they made with the least issues. Seems a lot of the 8x series have been more problematic.

I went through a major downsizing about 5 years ago and while I was considering a Ubiquiti edgerouter and AP, I wanted to go as simple and power efficient as possible. This was coming from an enterprise Cisco router, Juniper Firewall, and HP Procurve switch (plus a couple servers, large UPS units, and 3 Ubiquiti APs). Maybe if I see the need to go to AX at some point I'll go that route, but this is working fine for my needs, everything is hosted offsite now and AC is plenty fast enough for my 300M internet.

I can get all the "previous gen" Cisco stuff I want free from work but it is loud and my electric bill is much happier without it. I do have a stack of 10G capable gear for lab use, fun knowing they paid more for that stack than a Ferrrari and now it sits in the corner and gets toyed with occasionally. If my furnace ever dies it is a good backup heating source too. The 40G gear is about to go end of sale so will grab a bunch of that next.
 
Well... curious to see how long my AX86U toy purchased after good forum feedback is going to wait for good 388 base firmware. I like to test products and AiMesh is far from good "mesh". Netgear's Orbi is better and Amazon's eero is better too. Some TP-Link Deco are better for half price. How many consumers poke firmware options very often and stare at Web UI? Most consumers just expect it to work.
 
Well... curious to see how long my AX86U toy purchased after good forum feedback is going to wait for good 388 base firmware. I like to test products and AiMesh is far from good "mesh". Netgear's Orbi is better and Amazon's eero is better too. Some TP-Link Deco are better for half price. How many consumers poke firmware options very often and stare at Web UI? Most consumers just expect it to work.

Well I suppose if I left the default SSID and password and changed all her devices, then technically I don't have to register it. Still seems absurd to me.

Honestly I don't like any mesh system so not really concerned with that. Until some of the new roaming standards are fully supported by everything, those systems are effectively just multiple SSIDs with some form of roaming assistant/smart connect, which I can do manually myself in the firmware.
 
If one day you want a bunch of expensive repeaters with sticking out antennas and RGB lights - Asus definitely. They have 4, 6 and 8 legged insects up to $700 a piece. Don’t forget ROG branded network cables.
 
If one day you want a bunch of expensive repeaters with sticking out antennas and RGB lights - Asus definitely. They have 4, 6 and 8 legged insects up to $700 a piece. Don’t forget ROG branded network cables.

Hey, the gamers will pay big money for anything flashy, Asus might as well get in on the action.
 
Your AC68U was one of the last routers with networking equipment look. Everything newer is red accents, huge plastic antennas, RGB and alien spaceship shapes. Most expensive ones have mirrors on top - a new trend.
 
Trust me, it can't be skipped without constantly unplugging the WAN. It seems fairly recent so probably was added long after the manual was written, complaints all over the netgear forums, and apparently they're even actively eliminating the bypasses like going to specific URLs to configure stuff.

Hardware wise not complaining at all, not for the price. But if I were to do it again I'd get the TP Link. Won't be buying anything Netgear going forward.
I have an RAXE500 not connected to any account.. During setup you just skip the app setup, there’s an option at the very bottom of the initial setup page. You don’t need to disconnect anything. Now is it the most intuitive way to provide the skip no, but you very well can. Most of the hidden URLs are still working, some pages are specific to Broadcom and others to Qualcomm based models so if you bought an RAXE500 or RAX80 after coming from a R7800 or RAX120 some of the hidden pages wouldn’t work. What they did take out is telnet access a couple of years ago.
 
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I have an RAXE500 not connected to any account.. During setup you just skip the app setup, there’s an option at the very bottom of the initial setup page. You don’t need to disconnect anything. Now is it the most intuitive way to provide the skip no, but you very well can. Most of the hidden URLs are still working, some pages are specific to Broadcom and others to Qualcomm based models so if you bought an RAXE500 or RAX80 after coming from a R7800 or RAX120 some of the hidden pages wouldn’t work. What they did take out is telnet access.
I'm aware you can skip the app setup. No issue there, clicked the link that says I don't have a smartphone.

The next screen after that it verifies internet access then asks you to log in or register for a Netgear account and you cannot proceed without doing that. It clearly states it is "required". Attempting to access the setup pages via their URLs just redirects right back to the checking internet and register for an account process. Unplugging the WAN is the only way to get around it and set things up. Once you plug it back in, it starts redirecting you again.

If yours doesn't do that, I probably wouldn't update the firmware if you don't want it to start. This one already had the firmware with this requirement when I got it so didn't have a choice.
 
I have the latest firmware so I factory reset it. And went through setup process.

Would be ridiculous if true, not that I’m discounting your experience. The AC1200 if I recall uses the old GUI which unless things changed recently also didn’t force an account, well aside from the local admin account. Out of curiosity, mind showing the setup pages?
 
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I have the latest firmware so I factory reset it. And went through setup process.

Would be ridiculous if true, not that I’m discounting your experience. The AC1200 if I recall uses the old GUI which unless things changed recently also didn’t force an account, well aside from the local admin account. Out of curiosity, mind showing the setup pages?
Next time I'm up there I can take a screen shot. But right after the screen where you have to change the admin password and create two security questions is where it checks internet then forces account login or creation. It redirects to a remote website (hence checking internet first and why pulling the wan works at defeating it, at least until they take the next step and say you can't log into the router config when the WAN is down).

Believe me, I'm used to bypassing this crap, this was not me missing a link to skip the step. If you google "Netgear router account required" or similar, you'll find several threads in their forums with angry users. Threads describing workarounds to access certain setup URLs directly are referenced saying the workaround no longer works.
 

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