I recently purchased a Netgear Orbi to replace the hotchpotch of cheap wifi routers I was using as wifi access points. I was very pleased with the result, which has given me far stronger wifi coverage around the house, and higher network speeds without a number of glitches that used to occur occasionally with the old setup.
However, after a while I noticed a spot in the house where things (iPhone, iPad, MacBook!) seemed to disconnect from the network and have difficulty re-connecting. So I ran the Mac Wireless Diagnostics utility, which warned me of “Conflicting Country Codes”, saying this:-
“A nearby wireless router has ben detected which is identifying itself as originating from a country which conflicts with your current settings. This may prevent your Mac from automatically rejoining a previously joined wifi network.”
It then list all the networks created by the Orbi as having country code “DE” (Germany). I am based in the UK, so the code should be “GB”. The reason this is a problem is described here: http://www.mikealbano.com/2014/03/80211d-why-you-care.html
On investigation, it appears that this “shadow” area is in the point of my property which is nearest to my next-door neighbour’s wifi router, and with his router broadcasting a strong signal and the correct country code, my kit tries to connect to it rather than to the apparently foreign Orbi!
There is no configuration option the Orbi for the country where it is located, only its geographical region (“Europe” in this case), so presumably the device infers its location by other, unspecified, means - but in this case it does it wrong! There is some ill-informed discussion about this in the Netgear Community support forums, where the problem is blamed on Apple! (This is one reason for posting this here!)
After many lengthy conversations with Netgear support, I have finally managed to persuade them that a) this is a problem, and b) it is a problem with the Orbi, and c) that is not confined to a single unit - the replacement unit they sent me shows exactly the same problem.
So why am I posting this? Well, first, if you use an Orbi - and especially if you live in the UK! - you should probably run the Mac Wireless Diagnostics utility and check that it is behaving itself! Second, in the event that you find a problem like mine, do not be put off by the Netgear community blaming it all on Apple: they don’t know what they’re talking about! If you do have this problem then it would be a good idea to register it with Netgear Support, as the more people they have complaining about it the more likely they re to fix it! And third, please could you comment to this message with your results? The problem is clearly not unique to myself, and I would be interested to hear quite how widespread it actually is!
Any other thoughts would also be gratefully received.