If you are an owner of any of these two of Cisco home router selections–EA4500 and EA2700, I believe you must have experienced the latest update to the embedded software on your Cisco router. The firmware update limited router owners from administering the device themselves, resulting in lots of problems. Here’s what involved in this update and how it troubled users:
When the firmware update rolled out, it took users to the sign up page of “Cisco Connect Cloud”. This aimed at moving users from home network to Cisco’s cloud, allowing them to manage their router even when they are not at home. While this sounds interesting, the users had to agree to some arduous terms for this convenience. The updated terms of service barred users from online use aimed at “obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes”.
Take a look at Cisco Connect Cloud Terms of Service:
You agree not to use or permit the use of the Service: (i) to invade another’s privacy; (ii) for obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes; (iii) to infringe another’s rights, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights; (iv) to upload, email or otherwise transmit or make available any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, spam, junk mail or any other form of solicitation; (v) to transmit or otherwise make available any code or virus, or perform any activity, that could harm or interfere with any device, software, network or service (including this Service); or (vi) to violate, or encourage any conduct that would violate any applicable law or regulation or give rise to civil or criminal liability.
While we are not responsible for any content or data that you choose to access or otherwise use in connection with the Service, we reserve the right to take such action as we (i) deem necessary or (ii) are otherwise required to take by a third party or court of competent jurisdiction, in each case in relation to your access or use or misuse of such content or data. Such action may include, without limitation, discontinuing your use of the Service immediately without prior notice to you, and without refund or compensation to you.
While Cisco might have done it for a good reason, this resulted in a backlash from the customers as they believed that the terms are focused on their privacy. Having understood the entire situation, Cisco has now backed down on compulsory cloud management, and posted a blog for the confirmation for the Cloud service withdrawal. The post also mentioned that the company is developing an updated version of the opt-out process for automatic updates to make it clearer that customers have more options than simply creating a Connect Cloud account.
“In response to our customers’ concerns, we have simplified the process for opting-out of the Cisco Connect Cloud service and have changed the default setting back to traditional router set-up and management,” stated Cisco’s home VP Brett Wingo in the blog post.
This means that the customers no longer require signing up for the service, and can manage their router through the current local management software. Cisco has also provided instructions on how to roll the router’s firmware back. Here are the step-wise instructions to follow:
Step 1: Download the earlier version of the firmware. Disconnect the Ethernet cable from the router’s Internet port, because if your computer is online, navigating to 192.168.1.1 takes you to the Connect Cloud signup page. Disconnecting the internet connection will take you to a different page that provides administration access with your router’s password.
Step 2: Use the previously downloaded file to roll the router’s firmware back to the prior version. The router will reboot. Once you plug the Ethernet cable back in while online, going to 192.168.1.1 will give you the traditional Web interface.
Step 3: Uncheck the automatic upgrade option so that your router does not automatically receive firmware updates in the future.
Ironically, Cisco Cloud Connect was supposed to allow users to control their home network from a web-based interface that’s available anywhere, not just locally. The update and use of Cisco Cloud Connect came after Cisco’s big partnership with Citrix was announced. Anyhow, the Cisco customers could not digest the said updates to their routers, forcing the company to withdraw the update.