Wednesday, 4 January 2012

CISCO doesn't want any customers

Well, the joy of communicating with CISCO today has taught me that arguably the largest communications company really doesn't want any more customers. Their systems are clearly not up to the task and it takes a person who is intimately familiar with their product line-up to actually select a product.

It all started with a quote from one of my suppliers who recommended a CISCO881W-GN-A-K9. I took a look at it and it appears to be a desktop device, not a 1 ru like I need. Mind you getting that confirmed is pretty hard, entering the device model into Google gives me the CISCO Router Guide, but even that doesn't actually tell me what the form-factor is for this specific device.

Google Images gives me several options, some of which appear to look like units that might be able to be installed into a rack using external mounting brackets, but no further information about this unit and rack-mounting was readily available. The search also returns desktop WiFi base-stations, just what I'm looking for - not.

I thought I'd look at the CISCO online offering, perhaps they have something like a product selector. Sure, if you know intimately which particular flavour of VPN you require and what kind of WiFi you think you need, but selecting on form-factor doesn't seem to factor in the CISCO Feature Navigator.

I found the CISCO Product Adviser, only to be unable to locate the recommended device. Thinking I might have been quoted a product that is EOL, I searched, apparently confirming that, only to find that the device I'm looking at is the replacement for another EOL product, which still features in the Product Adviser - now over 6 months old.

I thought I'd contact CISCO direct, spent some time looking for a local phone number, found a 1800 number in Australia and dialled it, only to get an engaged signal. Dialled it again, selected End-User Pre-Sales and after waiting for 3 minutes, was put through to a voice mail system for one particular person. Lovely.

During the on-hold time I was advised that I could do an online-chat if I clicked on the Product Menu, so I did. No such luck. It might well be there, but I can't find it.

The online map office locator didn't work and I couldn't find offices in the Asia Pacific. So, instead I dialled Australia's Head Office, spoke to the receptionist, who didn't know what country I was in and then attempted to put me through to the pre-sales team, only to be told that she also got voice-mail. I asked to speak with the pre-sales team leader, only to be told that I could only do that if I knew them by name.

I then asked to speak with her team-leader who went around the same merry-go-round and then told me that I couldn't speak to anyone anywhere.

This makes no sense. All I want is a router. I want it to fit in my rack and I'd like to speak with the manufacturer of the device.

I'm going to look at other brands, CISCO, don't bother, they clearly don't care.