SA520 is GARBAGE and makes Cisco look incompetent

Unanswered Question
Mar 22nd, 2010

I've now bought 3 of these for clients and I look and an idiot for  trusting Cisco.

Cisco isn't putting any effort into  their stuff any more.

I tried setting up a vlan for  a public wifi to separate from the wired lan with the shipping firmware  1.0.15.

Unfortunately this firmware is incomplete.   They're missing the feature to setup the dhcp and network settings for  the vlan subnet.

When you upgrade to 1.1.21 it fixes  this but now they're still missing the dhcp client list for vlans.

I've  tested this on all 3 and they're all the same.  In addition to this I  can't get the optional port to work.

Just  unbelievable how poor this device was created.

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Overall Rating: 5 (1 ratings)
Paolo Bevilacqua Mon, 03/22/2010 - 10:01

Sorry but with Cisco you get what you pay for.

If you want solid results buy only true Cisco with IOS, no SOHO line or Linksys.

Eg and 871 or 881 with adv. Ip feature set.

mark-9898 Tue, 03/23/2010 - 13:26

I've had great problems with this device as well.

The  1.1.21 did fix some problems, there are still problems such as items in the firewall rule list dissappearing & reappearing at random, the DHCP leased clients not showing up at all if you had a static DHCP client.

I've gotten the optional port to work though. It is currently operating in load balancing with protocol bindings. Can you detail any of your settings here of what you've tried? perhaps we can fix it.

I am grealy disappointed with the device. If a feature is clearly defined in the manual, it should operate as stated.

Paolo Bevilacqua Tue, 03/23/2010 - 13:44

Looking at price list, a wireless SA520 is $700, while an 871 is $849.

Sure there is a difference but personally I would not risk using anything but a true IOS router. There are already enough problems with them anyways to add another variable.

Leo Laohoo Tue, 03/23/2010 - 13:39

Unfortunately, nearly every novice thinks that a cheap router can be a substitute for an enterprise-class router.  Before you go out and make un-necessary purchase post it here and maybe we can confirm what you are planning is appropriate with what your are getting into.

mark-9898 Tue, 03/23/2010 - 16:04

Device A having less features than Device B because of cost a difference is completely valid.

Device A's advertised/documented features not working because Device B is more expensive is not

matt.macnish Tue, 03/23/2010 - 16:49

I've had a good time reading these replies.  Probably mostly from ignorant Cisco employees.

Lets start with this.  I'm not a novice nor do I think $400 is cheap for a router.

I bought these for clients that have under 10 users on their network and I'm not going to suggest a $3500 Cisco router for their needs.  With that said I'm also not complaining about this device not doing the same things as a $3500 router would.  I'm complaining about it not doing what it advertises and that the engineers completely overlooked some features it advertises.

If you have settings for vlan but leave out subnet administration, I call that showing up to work drunk and half-assing your work.

When you release a firmware update to fix your past incompetence then leave out DHCP leases for vlans, I call that not getting any smarter.

I didn't buy this because I "hoped" it would do something.  I bought it because it advertises to do the things I needed then found out it doesn't.

As far as I'm concerned I should have just gotten something cheaper and used DD-WRT.  At least that has all the control this one lacks.

Jon Marshall Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:00

I've had a good time reading these replies.  Probably mostly from ignorant Cisco employees.

I appreciate you are are annoyed and irritated with the device but that comment is not really fair. Neither Paolo nor Leo work for Cisco and they are certainly not ignorant as you would see if you looked at some of their other posts. They help many people on these forums by devoting their time and expertise for free.

As for the device, i can't argue whether it is or isn't that bad as i have never used them, but i'm not sure what we can do to help on these forums.


matt.macnish Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:09

That comment isn't fair?

I'm replying to people that tell me that I should be spending thousands on a router because, apparently, a Cisco less than that doesn't offer with it advertises.

Since when is $400 cheap for a small network router?

Since when does a router advertise it can do this and that but in the last 2 firmware versions its added integral settings for just basic operation and it still missing components to successfully administer a network according to its advertisement?

This isn't my first disappointment with Cisco.  I tried to use an Aironet 24120 in 2008 and after having 2 Cisco techs work on it it was replaced because it was found faulty and the replacement was also faulty and eventually issued a full refund.  This SA520 was the first Cisco equipment I've purchased since and my impression hasn't changed.

Last month I had to get an RMA for a Catalyst express 500 because it decided to stop passing dhcp and packets but voip continued to work.  I had 3 Catalyst 2900 get replaced with Netgear switches because they were randomly disconnecting devices despite showing ports as live and active.

Cisco is garbage.  I'm working on getting refunds for these and I never intend to use them again.

Jon Marshall Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:21

That comment isn't fair?

No, i wasn't talking about your whole post, i was referring to the bit i highlighted in italics ie. calling them ignorant, which they most certainly are not.

Cisco is garbage.  I'm working on getting refunds for these and I never intend to use them again.

Fair enough, if that's what you want to do. But i'm not sure why you are posting this on these forums. These forums are populated in the most part by non-Cisco employees who are simply trying to help each other out. There are Cisco engineers who answer questions on these forums but if you want to make a point of how dissatisfied you are with their products this isn't the right forum to do it.

It should also be pointed out that these forums deal with mainly Cisco's enterprise level devices so again this may not be the best place to talk about the SA520.


matt.macnish Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:29

Ok so they're not ignorant, huh?

Unfortunately, nearly every novice thinks that a cheap router can be a  substitute for an enterprise-class router.  Before you go out and make  un-necessary purchase post it here and maybe we can confirm what you are  planning is appropriate with what your are getting into.

I'm not a novice, I didn't purchase a cheap router, I'm not trying to do anything enterprise-class.  Last, not not least, I explained what I wanted to do and I know how to research things on my own.  I didn't purchase a RV042 and hoped it would handle load balancing and vlans.  I purchase something that touts the ability to do everything I wanted but I found the firmware didn't even support what it claims it can.

If Leo wants to come here and back up or explain his words calling me a novice and explaining what's so enterprise about what I wanted to do or just explain why the SA520 isn't able to do what it claims to be able to do.  Then I would "attack" him.  But when someone jumps on here to discredit my knowledge and ability to make a purchase, I'm going to defend myself and my decisions.

Now if you have something to say about my initial post, that's fine.  But don't jump in to play mediator.  If Leo is so smart I'm sure he can handle his own.

Jon Marshall Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:40

Wasn't trying to play mediator.

Have a read of your original post and then have a think before firing off another response. Your intial thread is simply a moan about how the device doesn't do what it is meant to do. Personally i don't tend to purchase without testing ie. i don't just take what the documentation says as true. I'm not saying you are a novice but what i am saying is that if you simply trust the manuals and publicity of any company, not just Cisco, then you are perhaps not as experienced as you think you are.

I have tried to patiently explain that simply coming onto these forums and whinging doesn't really achieve anything and that you are whinging to the wrong people anyway but apparently that is too difficult for you to understand.


Paolo Bevilacqua Wed, 03/24/2010 - 02:18

As John pointed out before, I'm not a Cisco employee and hopefully I'm not ignorant either. BTW the ones reading my posts know that I'm very direct in criticizing Cisco when appropriate.

I never suggested to use a thousand dollars router for branches, neither Leo did.

I have indicated above what is the industry standard for small branch connectivity and put price details too. Me and others have networks made with hundreds of them that do work flawless. You have chosen to get something else, very early in product life, and you got burned. Sorry about that, but be reassured it happens a lot, with Cisco and other makers.

Coming back to your case I think your was a mistake of trust, in my work after 20 years of burns I have learned not to trust anything, Cisco or other brand, meaning proper in-house testing is always required before deploying into customer.

That doesn't change the fact that the product you bought isn't working as advertised and you are right in complaining.

And that doesn't change the fact that Cisco appears to be inflating their product lines with stuff that appears more as a marketing gimmicks, from which the wise engineer stays away.

My recommendation, and please don't be offended by that, when it comes to networking design, product selection and deployment, use the services of a reputable engineer with specific experience.

Chris Jones Thu, 04/01/2010 - 12:49

matt.macnish wrote:

Lets start with this.  I'm not a novice nor do I think $400 is cheap for a router

If you think $400 isn't cheap for a router, clearly you are a novice. Just sayin'.

lamav Thu, 04/01/2010 - 21:11

ms ms is right: Any product should do what it says it does. Thats basic. Also, Leos words do seem harsh and presumptuous -- not recommended, especially when someone is already agitated.

Jon is right: ms should tone down the anger and unleash his criticism to the right people.

Paolo is right: Sometimes Cisco sucks, but usually their stuff is good. Test the set up in a lab before deploying it.

Now cant we all just get along?

antasson Fri, 04/02/2010 - 02:14

Hi ms ms,

did you open a TAC case for these problems? Can you tell me the number?

I work in TAC and I can guarantee you we're usually very keen solving our products' defects.

Best regards,


Paolo Bevilacqua Fri, 04/02/2010 - 03:57


Do not assume the OP has a support contract.That is usually the case with small business casual customers.

Then they become even more irate learning that they need to buy one in order to open TAC cases on a newly bought product.

I do understand their frustration, however that is one reason more to use a partner when deploying Cisco products.


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