The trouble with cisco

I have been working with CISCO networking equipment for over 10 years. Over the years they have created a very strong brand dominance. This is then fed by the fact that most corporations will only insist on using CISCO network equipment within networks.

However over the years CISCO’s competition has improved product offerings immensely, and provide very strong product offerings. In fact in some instances they make CISCO’s offerings look poor in comparison.

One such instance is the CISCO 800 series routers. These routers are often deployed in Teleworker locations, small home offices and branch offices. There is strong competition in this area from the likes of Draytek, Dlink, Alcatel & netgear to name a few. From the features list, the CISCO 800 router does look very good, however the problems occur in execution.

The most common placed 800 router is the 877 with a ADSL WAN port or the ADSL 877W with built in Wireless radio. As ADSL2 & ADSL2+ broadband connectivity is deployed, this router seems to struggle where other routers half the price just get on with it.

ADSL2+ allows upload speeds of 2.5mbs using ITU G.992.5 Annex M. You have just spent nearly £300 on your brand new 877 to find out that you can’t max out your upload speed. This is because you bought the wrong version of 877 router. Although you have the correct version of IOS, you should have spent even more money and bought a CISCO877-M-K9 that M is really important. Where as a £50 Alcatel Speedtouch router has this built in.

Ok ADSL2+ is fairly advanced, However even ADSL2 seems to be quite challenging for the CISCO 877. You have to be very particular about the version of IOS you are running you need at least 12.4XJ or you will have to upload separate firmware for the ADSL interface.

Other routers seem to get on with it with no fuss and drama, and they cost half the price of the 800 routers. These routers are feature rich, however you would expect that the basics have sorted on such a premium brand.

I use these routers not out of choice, but because my customers insist on them. Therefore I need to know what problems they will face. If I had a choice, I would be using an alternative more affordable and no fuss router.

Firmware updates for the 800 series router


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