Cisco Connect Cloud No Longer Default Setting For Routers
July 7, 2012

Cisco Connect Cloud No Longer Default Setting For Routers

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Cisco Systems has done a 180 in the face of customer complaints, announcing Thursday night that their Connect Cloud service would no longer be the default setting for certain Linksys Wi-Fi routers.

According to Stephen Lawson of IDG News Service, the San Jose, California-based networking equipment designer and manufacturer changed the default management method of their Linksys EA Series Wi-Fi routers back to "traditional setup and management over the local network."

That decision, which was announced by Cisco VP and General Manager of Home Networking Brett Wingo in a blog entry came in the wake of a "firestorm" of criticism over Connect Cloud's terms of service and automatic firmware updates, Lawson said.

As of now, anyone wishing to use the features of the new service will have to enable them on their own, he added, calling the decision "a major step back from a service that the company had promoted as part of its vision of the future of home Wi-Fi routers."

Jeffery Burt of described the June 27 launch of Cloud Connect as "clumsy" and said that the service not only raised questions about "the automated updates to the management tools" for the routers, as well as "security and privacy concerns regarding the initial wording of Cisco´s privacy policy."

According to Burt, shortly after the launch of the new service, Linksys EA2700, EA3500 and EA4500 router owners discovered that automated updates had been sent to their hardware, keeping them from logging on and accessing traditional management tools and redirecting them to a signup page for Cloud Connect.

"Consumer angst was heightened when users read over the privacy policy in the terms of service for Cisco Cloud Connect, which stated that Cisco essentially could collect a wide variety of information on users, from their Internet histories to the status of the network to the Connect Cloud-related apps they´re using," he said.

"The information was needed to help Cisco better respond to concerns and requests, or improve the service, according to the company“¦ In addition, the wording appeared to ban users of those routers from going on online for 'obscene, pornographic or offensive purposes," Burt added. "Cisco officials quickly changed the wording in the policy, including removing the part about collecting users´ Internet histories. In addition, they have also stressed that the company´s Cloud Connect is an optional service that isn´t required for using a Linksys EA router."

Nonetheless, angry customers wasted little time venting their frustration with Cisco on social networks and tech-related blogs, the reporter said. He also credited Cisco executives for attempting to address consumer concerns and apologizing to their userbase through corporate blog entries on two occasions.

The company has apparently heard their customers' gripes loud and clear, though. Not only are they changing the default settings back to traditional management tools, but they told Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica that future automatic updates would make accommodations for those who prefer, in Brodkin's words, "local, browser-based management console over the cloud service."

"If a customer chooses to use the Embedded Web UI and selects the Auto-Update feature, Cisco will offer them an update," Cisco told Ars Technica. "Currently the only update we have is for the Cisco Connect Cloud feature set, but in future, we plan to provide updates for the embedded Web UI feature set specifically. The core message is that a customer can/will be able to choose an embedded web UI and Update without having to use CCC."