I had a recent client call and the client owned a Netgear CG814WG v2 combo cable modem / wireless router. This unit was given to him by his Internet service provider Time Warner. The client was experiencing issues with internet access, including only being able to visit certain internet sites like Google when using wireless, but could surf unrestricted when hooked up via a hard wired cable to the router. (Spoiler warning, the next bit gets a little more techie…)
What was the problem? Well, first off, it appears that Netgear does not even support this router. It may say Netgear on it, but I could not locate it in Netgear’s support section on their website. This particular router / modem combo model is provided directly to ISPs like Time Warner to give to its customers and they have to maintain the device. So, when I went looking to see if this was a bug documented on Netgear’s support site, I could not find the router by the model number!
It turns out that this particular router seems to have a problem providing wireless access to Windows 7 laptops when using the Wi-Fi Protected Access method (WPA) for security. When that security was turned off on the router, or if the customer used Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) for wireless security, it worked fine. This tells me that this particular router could use a patch from Netgear, but it is not officially supported. I mentioned to the client that they may want to contact Time Warner and demand a different model. While they were working ok for now, WEP is not recommended for wireless security because it is an older standard that can be hacked. This particular model supported WPA2, but not all the wireless devices in the house would connect using this security standard. The client agreed it was time to give Time Warner a call to discuss the quality of their cable modem / router.