Designing against the user

by Volker Weber


From a Netgear support document:

The dome LEDs turn on when each of the seven antennas transmits. The antennas adapt to the interference in the users operating environment. Because RangeMax is surveying the environment for interference, adapting to give the fastest connection, the lights are constantly changing. The lights are useful to monitor performance, and so cannot be turned off.

I am sorry, you stupid designer. Of course they can be turned off. Duct tape is the answer, you dimwit. Or putting the device into an enclosure, which is not really "maxing the range".


Lol...there are times, where I am annoyed by the tiny LEDs my router has...

Johannes Matzke, 2008-12-05

My router resides behind my screen, so I'm not annoyed by the status lights. But I don't have such a dome on my router, maybe that would annoy me. Or it would produce a nice backlight effect for the screen. ;)

Daniel Haferkorn, 2008-12-05

when i bought that model a while back there was a black plastic cover in the box to cover the led's

but yes its stupid

Flemming Riis, 2008-12-05

Philips calls this 'feature' ambilight (

Matthias Bottner, 2008-12-05

I own one of these. You can turn off the lights on the big button. You just click the button once in the middle and they switch off.

The lights on the side don't turn off and are very handy for determining the status of the router without having to log into it.

Simon O'Doherty, 2008-12-05

Thank you, Simon. Pressing the dome does not work for all of them. In some models it triggers the WPS handshake.

The human eye is attracted by moving objects. Or in this case by blinking lights. How useful is it, if a router shouts HERE HERE HERE all the time? Answer: not at all. Now re-read the support document. It cannot be switched of because ...

Volker Weber, 2008-12-05

I think the worst is really the mental attitude shown here:
I as the desginer think it's useful, thus it can't be switched off. If you stupid user can't see the usefulness, that's your problem.
Actually, no, it's not my problem, because probably I won't buy the product and all the sudden, it's your problem...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2008-12-05

Netgear is actually learning. See this support document:

The Wireless-N Dual Band Router has 8 blue lights in the dome which illustrate the activity of the 8 internal antennas. The lights are not required however, and customers can choose to turn them off simply by pushing the dome down lightly.

Thank you, Simon. Without your comment I would not have investigated further.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-05

@Volker, np :) Thought it might a firmware upgrade I did on mine

I've used it with the lights flashing and it is insane. It is like a discotheque.

Simon O'Doherty, 2008-12-05

Cool, i want one...

Ben Rose, 2008-12-05

Blue lights appeal to certain audiences. For just 20 bucks, you can pimp your bed.

Volker Weber, 2008-12-05

Cool idea, I want one. They should also beep every second when the router is online! ;-)

Karsten Lehmann, 2008-12-05

A few of these hidden in the Netgear designer's office seems like sufficient payback.

Bob Congdon, 2008-12-05

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