Well, if you explained it to support like you did to us, I can see why they said no. To set your mind at ease, the answer is yes, you can access the drive!
You see, one does not “access a hard drive through the cisco router”. The way it works is that you access the drive from within the network – just like you can any drive shared on your network. Maybe that is what you meant.
I have a similar setup, in that I have a small portable 1TB drive connected to my Asus router’s USB port. I could even have a second one connected if I wanted to. I have duplicated my iTunes music on it, as I have done for a drive directly connected to my WD player. The difference is, I cannot easily access my WD drives via the Internet, but I can for the drive connected to the router. So, I can stream my media from the router’s drive from anywhere to a mobile device.
I can also access the drive from my WD player. Although it can be accessed in two ways, I recommend using Network shares from the WD player and not via Media servers. All kinds of files can be accessed via shares, but not from the server access. For example, ISO movie files can only be accessed via network shares.
Another bonus of having a drive on your router is that the router will likely become the Windows Master Browser. A lot has been written in these forums about the master browser, so I won’t go into detail, other than to say that when the router is the master browser, you will not have master browser problems when you have multiple media players. Some newer routers actually have a setting (usually in the LAN settings) to make the router the master browser. Look to see if your router has this capability, and then do it.
A word of caution: if you plan on accessing your drives wirelessly instead of via wired, you can likely experience streaming issues like pausing and stuttering. Even though I have a fast wireless network and don’t have negative streaming issues, my media player is connected to the gigabit network via ethernet cable. In fact, anything I can connect wired, I do so. Less problems that way.
I also have two high capacity hard drives with my media on them directly connected to the media player. I do not stream anything I don’t have to. The only streaming I do for the most part is when using the wireless mobile devices.
Oh, and a word about drives: I prefer to use drives that have a sleep/idle mode so they stop spinning after 5-10 minutes of inactivity. There is no need for drives on a network to spin 24/7. Both the portables and larger external drives I use have this feature.
Good luck setting things up.