The phrase kill switch gets overused, but it looks like it might apply here.
I noticed several stories this week from people reporting problems with their Linksys DMA2100 Media Center Extenders. I have one of those devices hooked up to our TV in the bedroom. I’ve been traveling for the past two weeks and didn’t have time to read the details. And because we tend to watch TV in the living room (where the Media Center PC is directly connected), I haven’t had a chance to see whether I was affected until today.
This morning I read an excellent summary of the issue from Dave Zatz:
Now we’re hearing dozens of reports that those extenders mysteriously stopped working over the past few days, and indeed a thread over at The Green Button is full of hundreds rightfully disgruntled users. Thanks to a lot of investigations by members it’s been determined that the boxes are trying to dial home to an address that no longer exists. Naturally this is causing wild speculation about DRM checks and the boxes being remotely disabled, but for now there are some manual work-arounds, including configuring your router to explicitly block any traffic from the Extender or simply assign an invalid gateway. This seems to work for many, but not for all.
Here’s the Green Button forum thread, which started on November 4.
I just tried to use my Linksys extender and can confirm that it is unable to connect to the Media Center PC. It powers on, but all I get is a black screen. At some point I’ll try the suggestions in that thread, but knowing my router and its capabilities I’m not optimistic that it will work for me.
This is, of course, an abandoned product, so I don’t expect updates or improvements. But as a consumer I do have a right for that device to continue working as long as it’s not damaged. For Cisco to pull the plug, either deliberately or through incompetence, is unacceptable.
I also know from experience that trying to reach anyone at Cisco to discuss this issue will be an exercise in frustration. Nevertheless, I’ll try.
Anyone else affected by this issue?
Update: As predicted it was difficult to reach anyone at Cisco. I did, however, ultimately hear back from Cisco’s Director of Corporate Communications, who apologizes to customers and notes that the issue is now resolved. See the comments at the end of this ZDNet post.