Technical, Technology, Testimonials

Cisco Doesn’t Sell Routers

So . . . this is an old rant.

I was working on a project to multi-home our upstream Internet connectivity. When I started, I was inheriting something where the telco providing us with the new circuit would also give us a router, and configure it, and take care of all the BGP configuration, and we wouldn’t have to renumber.

I since found that:
– We need to get our own ASN. I went and did that.
– We will have to renumber, but they gave us a /24.
– Oh, and while they preconfigured the router for the circuit, we have to manually input the BGP configuration which they e-mail to us.
– They sent us a router that didn’t have enough physical ports.
– The router also didn’t have BGP capability, nor the memory to store a routing table.

So, at some point I called Cisco to ask them for a router. A wheezy guy gave me suggestions as to which router we might want, but they won’t sell me a router, because we are a dirty little consumer, and they don’t sell to little consumers. We could use a reseller, like the telco we have been working with. I talked to the telco, who made a conference call so one of their guys could get it all straight. I hear nothing for a long while, and start working with Zebra to implement BGP from our firewall. I ping the telco, and they reply that I must never have received their e-mail about how Cisco will not allow them to sell us a router, but there is another vendor, but they won’t believe the telco’s specifications, can we set up a conference call?

I know, for a fact, that all telcos suck major ass. All the same, it is frustrating that I can’t get a router because Cisco doesn’t trust anybody competent to sell their routers to me. What the heck is wrong with the Universe?

Well, fortunately, I have Zebra to entirely obviate the need for a Cisco router on our part. And a few good articles that do a good job of explaining how to set things up:
How to use BGP to achieve Internet redundancy
Use Zebra to set up a Linux BGP/OSPF router

Back when I was graduating college in 1999, I scored a campus interview with Cisco. The two chubby, balding middle-aged guys who had been sent to Champaign-Urbana looked at the URL I had placed on my resume, and asked, with the slightest snicker, about my webcam. I shot them back in all seriousness that I had set up a web cam the year before, but haven’t had it running lately. It all just seems a little funny that a company that sells the core infrastructure for the Internet doesn’t seem to “get” the Internet.

The telco is even worse. They over-extended themselves in the boom and had too much fun with creative accounting, and have had to lay off all the people from the good companies they acquired, leaving a higher proportion of incompetent businessmen whose principal skill seems to be lying to enough people to please their overlords. I would happily name their name, but as this is a relationship that I inherited, I can not tell with certainty where the honest confusion of the project turned in to a tidal wave of bullshitting.

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