Mental Ward

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Why I Hate the Cisco VPN Client

If there is an award for "worst product by a major computer vendor", I nominate the Cisco VPN client. In fact, if I was making a list of the 10 worst products by a vendor, the Cisco VPN client would take all 10 spots.

Let me explain. My main work machine is a MacBook Pro, dual-core Intel with 2GB RAM. Last week I finally upgraded to the Leopard OS, from Tiger. The upgrade went smoothly (although I didn't appreciate the fact that Leopard needed more than 4GB of space to install; I thought it was Windows OSes that were supposed to be bloated?) Then I tried to log on to my company's VPN using the Cisco client.

Nada. No connection. So I trolled around the Internet, looking for solutions. Cisco allegedly has an upgraded version for Leopard. Although the company has one of the most obtuse support sections of any vendor on the Internet, I eventually found the upgrade and installed it.

Zippo, once again. Very exciting.

This forced me to turn to the IT department. I hate doing that -- not that they aren't good, which they are -- but because I'm a "do-it-yourself-er" when it comes to computers (the opposite of how I am with home repairs, where I'm about as useful as my dog). Our Mac specialist recommended I upgrade to the latest version of Leopard, which is 10.5.3 (my install was 5.1). He said that fixed the problem with his Mac. So I did it (the upgrade required another 445MB of space -- joy!) And, to my (sarcasm alert) great shock, it still didn't work. So now I'm waiting for a call from the Mac guy to troubleshoot.

Before you ask, I did all the reboot sequence stuff, along with the Terminal commands to restart the VPN. This means for that for a week now, I've been using Outlook Web Access. Words cannot possibly describe how much I loathe using OWA. To begin with, I run it on my Windows XP VM (VMware Fusion is my VM of choice), so there's a performance hit from having the VM open all day. And why, you ask, do I run a VM instead of accessing OWA through Firefox (my browser of choice) or Safari, the Mac Web browser? Because OWA stinks on ice when viewed through a non-Microsoft browser. Come to think of it, it stinks like spoiled fish even through Internet Explorer, but it's certainly more functional than it is on other browsers.

This isn't my first experience with CISCO VPN client problems. Every time I make a change to the OS, it breaks. Even when it allegedly works, it doesn't work well, and crashes more than any program I have. In short, it makes my work like a lot more difficult, instead of better. That should never happen.

If you, wise readers, have any solutions I haven't tried or thought of, I'm all ears.

Posted by Keith Ward on 06/30/2008 at 12:48 PM


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