If you are new to Cisco routers, and especially the SOHO range, Security Device Manager (or SDM) can be an absolute god send – especially if you are only used to working with routers via their web interface.

If you pickup a SOHO Cisco router you can find if SDM is installed by simply pointing your web browser at it’s IP Address. But be sure to check both http and https, as you can easily configure them to only respond on https (which is obviously the more ideal situation).

However, if SDM is NOT installed, and you want to install it, here are the steps to carry this out – note that you need the SDM installer first, which is available from Cisco CCO. At the present time the latest version is 2.5, which is actually rather ancient but still does the job.

So, to work.

Start off by unpacking the zip file to a decent folder on your computer – somewhere temporary is fine.
Open up the folder and run setup.exe
You might get a warning about not having JRE installed – you will need this, so if you haven’t got it installed follow the prompts and install it.
Follow the wizard through until you are asked where to install SDM. You have three options.
This Computer, Cisco Router, and Both.
If you install on “This Computer” or “Both”, the installer will unpack SDM onto the computer itself – and if you select Both or Cisco Router, it will be installed onto the router – so you can access it anywhere (that you have JRE installed) through your web browser by pointing it at your router. This can save you some hassle later, but needs space on the router – if you have the memory upgrades installed, this shouldn’t be a problem however. For this example, I’m installing on the “Cisco Router”.


The next prompt you will have is for the IP Address and login details of your Cisco. Note that your users will need to be Privilege level 15 in order to carry out this install.
You will be prompted to select the suitable modules to install – I would select Typical as this will get the installer to inly install what your router is capable of (based on your IOS install).
… and after a while, the install is done Smile
To confirm simply fire up your browser and point it at your router …


Now, once you have gotten used to your router, it’s time to start exploring the command line – for that, you want putty!


I’ve had a lot of problems with SDM on some newer machines – because of this I keep an XP Virtual Machine handy – with plain old XP, running IE 6, JRE 1.4.2_19 – these work, and don’t seem to cause any problems …
You can get the old version of JRE here.