I recently blogged my first impressions of a SOHO security router I am evaluating, the Cisco WRVS4400N.
It’s a seemingly neat product at a great price, but it does have some problems, mostly fairly minor. In the process of working through these issues, I have been acquainting myself with the various support channels Cisco offer for their small business products.
Cisco run a small business support community forum (based on Jive Software). I’ve found that it’s apparently not at all unusual to have fairly reasonable queries go completely unanswered for days and days – in one case, not at all (at the time of writing). My question about Mac OS support for Quick VPN for example was apparently ignored by Cisco support personnel frequenting the forums – whereas all it would have taken would have been a brief confirmation message (“yes it’s planned/possible” or “no it’s not”), or perhaps a pointer to the eventual solution which I located myself on the very same section of their site, helpfully contributed by a non-Cisco forumite.
Another recent query I made online regarded the apparent failure of the device’s IPS facility to detect and block Skype connections. My posting on this (in response to someone else who had in fact managed to elicit a response from Cisco a few months back on the same issue), went ignored too.
I’d assumed (given the low price of the router) that “official” tech support would cost extra, but as it turns out, it comes with a full 12 months of telephone support. My experience with this was the complete opposite of the forums; no hold time at all, and within moments I was connected to a friendly and very helpful Cisco staffer based in North America. Within five minutes I had a satisfactory answer to my query (yes, it is a known issue), and my forum post was updated instantly with the same information and a suggested workaround. Maybe I’ve spent too many hours on the phone to Dell’s tech support, but this really was a pleasant surprise. If this is the level of phone tech support one can expect for Cisco small business products, and it’s offered for a year, then this definitely counts in the product’s favour, in spite of the problems I am personally encountering with it.