Costly Ip Six Connectivity Obstable

More than two years ago I bought a Cisco 877W for using it as my home router. It has worked reasonably well so far. But as almost every other complex software Cisco’s operating system IOS has bugs, some of them are even security vulnerabilities. The usual procedure in such a case is to download an update provided by the software vendor, install it and reboot the system. Unfortunately it is not that easy with Cisco, they don’t allow people to just download software updates, not even security fixes.

The only way to get access to software updates is purchasing a Cisco support contract. Buying such a support contract is not an easy task. You need to figure out the right type of support contract (unless you want to spend more than a thousand pounds on it), find a Cisco reseller and then fight with the bureaucrats at Cisco who struggle to deal with customers that don’t have a business address. They apparently don’t want home users to use their products.

When I finally got my support contract I thought all was well now. I was able to download the latest IOS image available back then, installed it on my Cisco router and didn’t encouter any problems. But in September Cisco published a new security advisory. I went to their support website, looked for a firmware update and did not find one. I checked the advisory again and found out that the update for the firmware version that I am using wouldn’t be available before October, the 23th.

Last Thursday (a day ahead of schedule … hurray) the update was finally available on Cisco’s website. I downloaded it, installed it and found out that IPv6 doesn’t work properly in this release. Cisco broke support for the Neighbor Discovery Protocol (which is as essential to IPv6 as ARP is to IPv4) without even noticing it. I had to downgrade the IOS on my Cisco router to the previous version to get IPv6 working again. I tried to submit a bug report via their support website but it doesn’t provide me with that option. I guess I need to buy a more expensive support contract to be entitled to inform Cisco about bugs in their software.

All together I can see a very clever business scheme in there:

  1. You sell expensive hardware and software which inevitably contains bugs.
  2. You let customers pay for fixing these bugs via expensive support contracts.
  3. You ask customers for even more money before you allow them to actually submit bugs.

With that strategy you can generate a lot of revenue. You don’t even have to invest in software quality because that would only reduce your earnings. And your customers will think twice before troubling you about software bugs.

Can somebody please release an affordable and reliable A-DSL home router with fully functional IPv6 support? Pretty, pretty please? 🙁

This entry was posted in IPv6. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Costly Ip Six Connectivity Obstable

  1. Hehe, hello, I don’t quite know you but I saw the update on the netbsd mailing list that i386 and amd64 would use SSP now. So I visited your website. My question is why you don’t make your own router. Is it because it doesn’t have as many networking options available as business grade proprietary, embedded networking systems? I hear from admins that they are jumping to juniper networks now in cases, claiming that it is far superior to cisco.


  2. I would love to use a NetBSD router. But that would require ADSL2+ capabable hardware with NetBSD drivers. The best option is probably one of these cards:

    But they are not exactly cheap and there is no NetBSD driver yet. Writting a driver would be possible but I lack time and a second ADSL link or equipment for testing.

  3. Hello again. My isp provides a ‘modem’ that I have in bridge mode so I don’t have to NAT twice and loose a performance ratio. It just passes straight ethernet frames over, not limiting me to a low ram and cpu device. After that, BSD does everything. altq, firewalling, nat, etc. What problem do you see with this method?

  4. I’ve used that approach in the past, please look here:

    The problems were:

    • MTU issues (MSS clamping required even for IPv6).
    • Lack of reliability of the A-DSL modem.
    • Two devices (with two power bricks) instead of one.

    Back then it was also more tricky to find a small, silent and lower power hardware platform for NetBSD. Thanks to the Netbook boom there a lot of Nettop systems on the market these days which can do that job nicely.

  5. Ah, I see. I have heard rumors that in parts of Europe there are very cheap fiber and ethernet alternatives to dsl? I was under the impression that DSL was a lame USA functionality incorporated so they can save money and set back real connectivity. It’s a shame you don’t have the option of something to the sort.



  6. British Telecom offer neither Fibre To The Cabinet nor Fibre To The Home. They actually don’t even offer ADSL2+ in a lot places, including the exchange my home is connected to. Virgin Media, the largest Cable operator, offer FTTC (at least their advertisment sounds like that) but I don’t want to use their service for a variety of reasons.

    You can get Ethernet To The Home but it is very expensive.

Comments are closed.