But successful installation can be a headache, especially for the less technologically inclined. For those without a friend or relative steeped in the technology arts or access to a professional, returning the gear may be the only option.
Dena Andre, 57, returned her NetGear router to the friend who gave it to her last January after she failed to get it to work.
When she tried a Linksys router, it took multiple customer service calls, both her daughters, her piano teacher and her friend to figure out why she couldn’t get her two Dell computers on the network.
They all failed.
Richard Doherty, an analyst with the Envisioneering Group in Seaford, New York, estimates that more than a third of home-networking customers just give up and return their routers, network cards and other products.