With its new line of Valet wireless routers, Cisco is promising to take away the strain of setting up and managing a home network. Getting the network ready to go is claimed to be as simple as placing an Easy Setup Key into a USB port and following three short steps offered by the Cisco Connect software.
In the Flip Video camcorder, Pure Digital made capturing memories a relatively painless affair. Now Cisco is putting its acquisition of Pure Digital to good use by combining its networking expertise with the simplicity behind the Flip to take the strain out of setting up and maintaining a wireless home network.
An Easy Setup Key is included with both flavors of the Valet Wireless-N router. The Key is plugged this into a USB port on a PC or Mac and the included Cisco Connect software pops up to act as guide for the three step setup process. As the Key retains configuration settings, extending the network should be no less complicated than plugging it into any additional computers or laptops.
The software is also claimed to make management of the new network a frustration-free experience - simplifying the process of adding new devices, the setting of parental controls, the provision of Internet access for guests on a separate guest network (which keeps the main network secure and private) and the management of security and device settings.
Cisco is claiming that its new Valet system is the "first wireless product line to make it simple for anyone to set up and manage their own home wireless network". Whilst this is perhaps a contentious claim, empowering more users to benefit from a wireless home network is undoubtedly a positive step.
There are two Valet routers available, the basic model for small to medium households for US$99.99 and the Plus model for anything larger for US$149.99. There's also a Valet Connector to bring wireless capabilities to older computers or to update systems to 802.11n, for US$79.99.