One headline read Cisco locks users out of their routers, requires invasive cloud service, another screamed Cisco’s cloud vision: Mandatory, monetized, and killed at their discretio. I don’t think it’s that bad, but it is bad.
Here are the facts. Cisco has been automatically updating the firmware of its high-end consumer Linksys routers: E2700, E3500, or E4500 over the last few days. That’s annoying, but as anyone who uses firmware-based equipment knows, it happens. In particular, these models all shipped with the “Automatic Firmware Update” option turned “on” by default. I happened to know about it because I use the Linksys E4500 in my own office.
This wasn’t just your usual firmware update to close a security hole or two and add some minor features. No, this also introduced the Cisco Cloud Service. Here’s where Cisco made its first mistake. After the invisible update, to get to your router, you had no choice but to set up a Cisco Cloud Service account.
No one, but no one, goes to their router unless they have a network problem. This is Not when you want to discover that you can’t address the problem, until you’ve set up an entirely new account over the Internet. Really smooth move Cisco!