It is with great disappointment that I will no longer be recommending Cisco Linksys routers to my friends and family. I used to swear by these devices for home use. They have always had the best features and were the most reliable devices around.
However, I have discovered that with the latest products (EA3500 (N750) and EA4500 (N900)), Cisco has forced firmware updates to their customers that automatically opt them in to using the Cisco management cloud, and had initially, automatically given Cisco the ability to monitor and in some cases control your Internet activity.
While there has been multiple apologies, explanations, and even a change to their terms of service as noted below, the forced firmware update and participation in the Cisco cloud persists.
I was on my way to purchase a new EA4500 (N900) today at Best Buy, when I did a little research and have decided against the purchase.
I also note that the new hardware is proprietary, and protected, and you are not able to load your own firmware on to the device. You are stuck with what they are giving you. I have found an alternative from ASUS, which not only allows you to replace the firmware, but there IS a free alternative already developed called DD-WRT.
The device I’m now considering purchasing is the ASUS RT-N66U
As if this writing, my decision is not final. But I felt it necessary to publish this opinion and inform my friends of the risks of purchasing Cisco home router products.