Don’t trust the box

I would have never expected the box to lie to me, but that’s exactly what happened. I purchased a Belkin Wireless G Plus MIMO (F5D9050) at BestBuy because the box had Mac logo on it and a mention of Mac OS® X 10.3.x, and 10.4.x. under the System Requirements.

When I got it home I plugged it into a Mac Mini and waited for something to happen. Nothing did. I opened the Network system preference expecting to see notification of a new device. That didn’t happen either. Despite my best judgment I decided to read the manual. Aside from a sticker on the cover it made no mention of a Mac at all. Written on the sticker was “Mac® QIG is on the CD in PDF format.” Maybe my answer would be in there.

I promptly put the CD in my computer and began to sift through the unintelligible layout. Who would ever need to look through one of these, I thought to myself. After traversing each directory I came across what appeared to be the user manual. This too wasn’t much better then the printed manual, except for mentioning “Mac OS® X v10.3.x or v10.4.x” under the System Requirements. Aside from that it was devoid of any other Mac specific reference. So much for that sticker.

Now a half hour in, I figure maybe setup isn’t even necessary and that it can be generically driven. Maybe its the Mac Mini who doesn’t like it. Next its plugged into my PowerBook which sees it in System Profiler, but won’t make any use of it.

At this point it must be broken, so I plug it into a PC just to be certain. Window XP recognizes it and prompts for the drivers. I put in the CD and Windows goes to work installing the device. A minute later a window pops up “searching for networks” and the green LED is lit.

I can only assume at this point that there must be a Mac driver on the website. Not only was there no Mac driver, but no specific Mac “QIG.” I download the manual, which though different from the one on the CD, had the same system requirements listed.

Now an hour in, I decided to call tech support, because surely some else would have noticed this by now. A few minutes later I was connected to someone in India and proceeded to tell them my predicament. After a minute or two on hold they come back to tell me that it has no Mac support. Despite going on how both the box, sticker on the manual, and system requirements all made mention of a Mac, they didn’t seem phased at all. They put me on hold again while they checked something else, or for effect. Only to come back and reiterate that there was no Mac support for the Belkin F5D9050, but an earlier (slower) model might work. Great thats just what I need, to try this all again.

The next day I went back to BestBuy and had no trouble returning it, but received no assurance that they were going to do anything about all those other boxes out there that beckon other unsuspecting Mac users. I was hoping some spark of caring, maybe even a false hope, like “we’ll contact the manufacturer” or “thanks for letting us know.” Nothing.

I hope at least someone learned something from all of this.

One Response to “Don’t trust the box”

  1. Steven Dixon says:

    You should be glad you never got it working! I finally found a driver for mine, purchased at walmart for $80, because it was the only one CLAIMING to be mac compatible. After 2 years of pulling my hair out because of a kernal panic every 10-15 min. I was convinced it was a bad motherboard and even purchased a new computer only to find out it was the Belkin driver causing the crashes. It would even crash it while not using the thing. This is the last Belkin anything I will ever buy. Just wish I’d have read this before I purchased it.