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Apr 14th, 2014
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Today I would like to mention something that has nothing to do with old-to-new CSC upgrade.

 

I'm rather new member of CSC (since Sep 20, 2011). I'm very active member of Small Business ATA and IP Phone spaces.

 

I fully recognize that support of end-users is time consuming and costly. Most of questions are trivial questions related to something well documented, end-users lack basic experience with networking as well as VoIP.  It's ideal task for community self-support. More experienced users will help those less experienced. No job for Cisco professionals here.

But few questions are different beast. It reveal a firmware bug. The issue become fully analyzed (either by originator or with the help of more skilled community member) and there are almost no doubt about the reason. Something like it can't solved by enthusiast, even most skilled. It require Cisco staff attention. 

I has been satisfied by Cisco approach in the year 2012. The space has been monitored by Cisco employee and those question exceeding self-support ability has been answered by staff. It has been just few question about quarter, but few firmware bugs become solved and documentation bugs resolved because of it. Or CDET has been created, at least.

Unfortunately, something changed in the summer of 2013. Cisco professionals has evaporated from the space. Firmware bugs, despite analyzed, remain untouched. Questions that can't be responded by enthusiast (mostly because lack of documentation or bugs in it) remain unanswered. Documents created by Cisco staff are not updated (and with the new UI even amateur enthusiast can't update it because of lack of rights).

I don't want to be considered thankless - I appreciate I has been designated to be Cisco VIP. It is honor for someone registered just two years ago. I like all those gifts I received from Cisco within past few months. But my primary motivation is to make the Cisco products to be better. Just because I'AM using them. I have no problem to spent uncountable hours of my time to help others to solve the issues I'm able to help with as long as the Cisco will use at least the fragment of the support time I saved to them to solve the issues unsolvable by enthusiastic amateur.

Such kind of cooperation worked in the past, but it seems it is working no longer.

I'm providing support for the Cisco customers for free, but when I found the product bug that can be solved by Cisco professional only it seems I should pay even for the right to report the issue. Shouldn't be the Cisco's goal the bugs in their products become patched ?

I'm disappointed a lot. I'm not sure if it is still a "cooperation". May be the "exploitation" is the word better describing the current CSC mode of operation.

Well, no information about about spaces other than SMB ATA and IP Phones. May be it is just "former Linksys division" problem only. But it change nothing I mentioned above, it just mean the impact is more limited.

I wish Cisco professionals will return soon to us ...

 

 

Note the English is foreign language for me. Read with open mind, please.

 

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Leo Laohoo Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:54
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Documents created by Cisco staff are not updated (and with the new UI even amateur enthusiast can't update it because of lack of rights).

It's not just in the realm of ATA's that the lack of accurate and/or updated documents are found to be wanting.  In routing and switching (R&S) and wireless there are documents which are found to be conflicting and, in some cases, misleading.  

 

I also agree that there was a time that if the document(s) were in need of correction, one is to just go down to the bottom of the page and hit the "Feedback" link and some caffeine-induced Cisco staff (or contractor) would contact me/you within 4 hours.  Not anymore.  I have no idea how many "Feedbacks" I have made and I can only count in one hand the response I would get in 4 WEEKS after the feedback.  

 

A good example is the downward "spiral" in QC.  Take a look at THIS Cisco link.   And you will notice that the author of the document has left a note to the document reviewers ... and the document was made public.  The note for the document reviewer(s) is:  Hi reviewers, please specify the threhold size of the log.  

 

We had a good laugh.

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Gordon Ross Tue, 04/15/2014 - 00:24
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"Shouldn't be the Cisco's goal the bugs in their products become patched ?"

 

I would argue that Cisco need to start by being more open about their bugs. There are numerous times when CCIEs and I have searched BugTrack for bugs, only to find nothing. We log a call with TAC, and suddenly the bug appears, with a creation date months or years ago. And I'm not talking about security bugs here. Just plain old feature not working type bugs.

 

When the bug does not exist in BugTrack, it can take months (and usually only with the help of my account manager or SE) to persuade TAC that I *have* found a bug. The last few bugs I've logged took about three months for TAC to acknowledge were bugs. All the while, they tried to claim the product was "working as designed". It's almost like the first line engineers are told "Don't create new bugs"

 

When I have a down system, TAC are usually quite good at fixing stuff. But trying to persuade their first line engineers to register a bug...*sigh*

 

As you say, though, once you have a BugID, the next Herculean task is to get a fix out of Cisco...

 

GTG

Dan Lukes Tue, 04/15/2014 - 02:11
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So, you trying to say me that even in the case I will pay for the right to report the bugs, it will not help me so much unless I have systems down at the same time.

Well, then, there is nothing more to say about my topic.

 

According the Leo's example above ....

There are severe security issues ignored by Cisco. I discovered unauthenticated API in SPA IP Phone that can be used over network. It is turned on by default and not documented anywhere. It can be turned off (if your white hat will advice you to do it) but then the WWW UI (I mean the casual, authenticated WW UI) became broken and can't be used anymore. So, it can't be turned off by casual small-business-end-user.

Damn, it is severe security bug. Bill fraud is imminent. Anytime I'm helping an unknown unskilled end user to install this Cisco product I feel like cheater. I can take countermeasures against the bug, but casual SMB customer has no necessary equipment nor knowledge and I know I'm putting them on risk.

There is another issue related to list of Certificate Authorities preinstalled in the phone. There is another issue - provisioning server certificate expiration time is not honored by phone.

So sorry not taking your example so seriously, but small document problems doesn't upset me so much ...

 

Leo Laohoo Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:24
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Hi Dan, 

 

There are so many factors which affect the way your discovery is "swallowed" by Cisco.  One probably is the lack of resources.  In my recent trip to Cisco Live 2014, a US-based speaker basically told the audience that Cisco's biggest challenge (in VoIP) is to get traction in Jabber.  And Cisco has "re-allocated" a significant amount of resources into Jabber.  The speaker heavily emphasized the word "re-allocation" and he didn't mean sales.  He was talking about technical.  

 

My last contribution to a bug was the short-lived IOS version 15.0(2)SE3.  I found it while doing testing but didn't bother to raise a Case because past experience have taught me that TAC would love to do WebEx and "see for themselves" before doing anything.  I mean, this method is fine with me ... if you were talking to a novice.  Instead, I was mildly surprised that a few people were making posts so I basically went into each posts and warned everyone about using this version.  After a few days, someone technical from Cisco chimed in and identified the fault and created a bug ID (internal) and about 10 days later a public-facing BugID was published.   Currently, I'm sitting on an open TAC Case about another CPU-related bug (surprise, surprise) with 15.2(1)SE2 since 26 March 2014.  I've basically told TAC to replicate it.  As of 02 April 2014, Cisco TAC told me that they are still in the process of getting the right equipment (please note my sarcastic comment).I've provided them the config and until now, I've yet to receive the public-facing BugID.  

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