For a long time we have recommended Cradlepoint Routers. Cradlepoint is one of the pioneers for M2M (Machine 2 Machine), load balanced router, routers with fallback from for example WAN to 3G/4G networks – which is great on boats. In the harbour you are on Wi-Fi – and once you leave – the router automatically switches to 3G/4G or LTE. And when you come back – internet is restored to using your harbour Wi-Fi. Great concept.
On our test boat we have a Cradlepoint MBR 1400 router. Mostly it is a great router – but it has some issues with connecting to a range of access points via Wi-Fi as WAN. We also have (actually .. – had) a few MBR1400’s setup between our offices and homes.
So we tried a couple of months ago to report the issue – here is a basic shortened paraphrased transcript….
Us: We have a Cradlepoint MBR1400 which have issues talking to a range of access points – it slows down a lot when there is a heavy load.
Cradlepoint Support: Uhh sorry to hear that. Can we have your serial and a copy of your invoice
Us: Well our Cradlepoint is about 1 month out of warranty
Cradlepoint Support: Uhh – then we cannot help you
Us: We JUST want to report the bug – nothing else. We are NOT trying to get free support – just help you with an issue. Can you forward our mail with full technical details, debugging code and examples to your engineering department?
Cradlepoint Support: Uhh – no – for us to notify engineering – you need to have a Cradle$care support agreement.
Us: Well we do want to help but if it requires us to have a service agreement we will not buy any more Cradlepoint products.
Cradlepoint Support: Uhhh how many devices do you have?
Us: We have 5 in total
Cradlepoint Support: Please contact your reseller to buy Cradle$care before we can help.
Us: thanks a lot?……..
Okay we thought – we will wait it out and hope someone else reports this HARDWARE / FIRMWARE defect. If they do we can update our firmware and get things to work.
But then today I thought – well lets try and see if there is new firmware. And YES there is new firmware (5.3) which might cure the incomaptabilities in the Cradlepoint system. And darn…..
On going on to the Cradlepoint website – and it says: ”
Notice: Cradlepoint has implemented a New Firmware Policy on December 2, 2014 with the release of Firmware 5.3.0.
New Policy: All customers will have access to router firmware 5.2.x, but access to router firmware 5.3.0 upgrade and beyond, and new modem firmware, will require an active CradleCare Support or Enterprise Cloud Manager subscription.
Thank you very much Cradlepoint. To get bug fixes to your own CRAPPY CODE we now need to PAY $40 a year for CradleCare Basic? We do not need your telephone support? And your Modem support is very small – close to non-existent for non US customers anyway. So what are we paying for?
Thanks but no thanks. We will no longer recommend your products.
We do hope you will suffer long and strong and realise that BUG FIXES to your own products should be free of charge. We do not mind you charge EXTRA for ” advanced features” like VPN and remote management. But keeping your customers SECURE against bugs and potential HACK’s or Zero-Day vulnerabilities – should not cost $40 a year on such a basic product. That was why we ditched Cisco in the first place.
We hope for your staff you will find some suckers who will pay for such a basic thing. But that is not the trend in the market. You are moving AGAINST the current trends. But we do guess your finances are under pressure and had a newly graduated MBA student come up with the new policy change.
Cradlepoint subsequently reversed this policy and makes updates available without charge. Users need to create a login here. https://portal.cradlepoint.com/apex/CommunitySelfReg
Cradlepoint is a troubled company, its CEO was caught trying to steal money and Sierra canceled buying them out. They have greedy VCs who are constantly telling them they need to create service revenue, so this is what they do. They are a bunch of crooks.