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Design fail flashback: This Cisco product may win the award for the worst design of all-time

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:07PM EST
Cisco Design Fail

A group of expensive Cisco Network Switches released a few years ago set a new bar for boneheaded industrial design. Sure, it’s pretty frustrating to potentially damage your Galaxy Note 5 by inserting the stylus the wrong way, but it’s monumentally worse to accidentally and completely wipe an entire server by using the wrong type of Ethernet cable.

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Originally spotted by The Next Web, Cisco in 2013 issued a Field Notice alerting users to be extremely careful about the cables used on the company’s line of 3650 and 3850 Series Switches.

Now the photo below features one of the network switches in question. At a quick glance, everything seems to be above board.

The problem, though, is that the reset button on the switch is located directly above one of the ports. A closer look at the back of the device reveals the glaring design error.

“Certain types of snagless Ethernet cables have protective boots that extend too far forward and above the plastic latching tab,” Cisco’s warning reads. “When this type of cable is installed in Port 1 of any 48-port model of the Cisco Catalyst C3650 or C3850 Series switches, the boot might press and hold the Mode button, which invokes Express Setup and reboots the system…. After this occurs, the device resets. The startup configuration is erased once the device enters Express Setup.”

And a view from the side.

Cisco of course has subsequently rolled out hardware updates to address the problem. While some switches now have the reset button isolated, others strategically place the reset button between two ports, as depicted in the images below.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.