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Pros: Generally speaking Cisco hardware is good. I've used their PIX 501 router/firewall and the ASA 5505 which is the replacement for the PIX 501 with additional features. Reliability has been good.
Cons: Cisco's GUI software (ASDM) is so defective as to be unusable for most customers. The only way you might get it to function is if you install an old Java version such as Java 6 update 27 with IE V6-V10. Cisco's ASDM software will NOT work with IE11 or IE9 (server edition). It also will not work with Java 7 without creating and installing security certificates, etc. or with Java 8 - the current version of Java.
See the Cisco link for the many problems attempting to use ASDM software because it will drive you mad trying to use the software or find this information which is NOT included in any of the installation documents included with the appliance or the online install documents.
Other Thoughts: I would NOT recommend Cisco hardware to most people as it's a real hassle to install and maintain and Cisco's fees for licenses and support, (even for defective products) is absurd.
Cisco's failure to provide proper 21st century GUI software to configure their hardware appears to be costing them dearly according to their 10Q reports. That and their fees for licenses and support (because their software fails to operate) are outrageous. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should be forced to use archaic CLI to configure and maintain Cisco hardware. It's a disgrace IMO, in addition to being a PITA requiring other software and cables to configure the hardware because Cisco doesn't know how to write proper software.
If in doubt check the Cisco website Support area to see the issues for yourself.
This review is from: Cisco ASA 5505 10 User Bundle Firewall
Pros: Cisco makes excellent hardware and they charge a premium for it. The ASA 5505 is an updated model to the PIX 501. Both are decent router/security appliances but the ASDM GUI software is basically unusable for most users.
Cisco makes HORRIBLE GUI software that does not work for most users so you are forced to use CLI, which is a PITA unless you work with it daily. Then you need all of the accessories to connect and use stone age command line inputs. Even then there are literally tens of thousands of properly trained Cisco users who are unable to make CLI function reliably on many Cisco products for a variety of reasons. See the Cisco website Support section for proof.
In regards to Cisco's ASDM graphical user interface (GUI), it is so poorly written and not updated properly that it literally will not work with the latest versions of Java so you must revert to an old version of Java to get any use from Cisco's ASDM software. Be advised that ASDM also does not work with IE11 or IE9 (for servers) or with a number of other browsers. See the link below for the gory details because this is VERY IMPORTANT if you plan to buy any Cisco product and use the ASDM interface to adjust the settings - which is required.
Telling customers to use CLI because the Cisco software is inoperable - is totally unacceptable and ignorant. Cisco should be sued for fraud, IMO.
Cons: Cisco ASDM software is so defective as to be almost unusable by the majority of Cisco customers. Unless you are familiar with CLI, I would suggest that you NOT BUY CISCO products as the hardware is fine but unmanageable due to Cisco's cobbled crapware GUI.
The cost of Cisco hardware will pale in comparison to support charges and license fees - so buyer beware.
Other Thoughts: Cisco charges for everything including installation information so you can determine that their software is defective and non-functioning. They also require a support license for any help with new products. Cisco does not want to be bothered by customers, they just want to sell the hardware and collect money, license fees, support fees - even without support, etc. It's an unscrupulous Biz model and it appears to be crumbling based on their 10Q reports.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: CISCO ASA5505-BUN-K9 Cisco ASA 5505 10-User Bundle
Pros: The ASA 5505 is the successor to the PIX 500 series Cisco security appliances with additional features. The ASA 5505 offers a lot of security for a moderate price. Cisco equipment is designed for professionals and as such Cisco assumes a lot and is anything but consumer friendly. This is not a useful operating philosophy for small to medium business looking for IT security.
Setting up the unit via Cisco software can be a real PITA as noted by many other reviewers. If you're not an IT pro you may be forced to hire a pro to install this appliance properly. Cisco support will cost you as much as the unit.
Cons: It's amazing Cisco insists on being so difficult to work with as they are always looking to charge for support and licenses, etc. in addition to premium prices for all of their hardware. This ASA 5505 states wired speeds of 10/100/1000 Mbps. It is NOT 1000 Mbps speed contrary to the misleading product overview.
Other Thoughts: This Newegg offered ASA 5505 appliance specifications show 256 MB of RAM and 64 MB flash. According to Cisco they discontinued shipping this model with those sizes of RAM/Flash in 2010. So it's possible these are really old units if this is true. The cost to upgrade the RAM/Flash to the current 512 MB and 128 MB, costs almost as much as the entire ASA 5505 appliance. The 512/128 MB RAM/Flash are required to upgrade to the latest requirements.READ FULL REVIEW