The Cisco Valet Wireless N-Router makes setting up a wireless network and getting wireless internet running a snap. Honestly, we didn’t know setting up a wireless network could be so easy. This is by far the best and most simple option we have ever tried for setting up a wireless home network.
The design of the Cisco Valet is quite attractive, which is a welcome change from the usual hideous look of wireless routers. It comes packaged in a very pretty and simple box, which we are sure was done on purpose to emphasize just how simple and painless this router is to set up. All you see when you open the box is the pretty blue router and the Easy Setup Key. There is no extensive manual, no series of instructional CDs, nada.
Setting up the Valet is as simple as plugging the little USB Easy Setup Key into your computer and following the 2 or 3 steps. With literally 3-4 mouse clicks, you can have wireless internet in your house.
The easy setup key essentially finds your router, gives it a name or SSID (LittleMoose for us), and password protects it automagically. After that, if you want to connect another computer to the network, you just insert the little USB key into their computer, launch the little program, and in 3 clicks they are on your network. No software is installed or anything!
Quick Tip: When setting up your new network, be sure you unplug both your router AND your cable or DSL modem. Plug your modem back in after a couple minutes and let it boot up first, THEN plug in your router to the wall and the modem. This will allow everything to reset and discover each other quickly and easily.
There are a few cool features to the Cisco Valet router. First – it automatically sets up a second ‘guest’ network for your guests to connect to the internet. This guest network is separate from your home network and has its own password. This is quite handy because it prevents guests from having access to your personal password and computers wirelessly. So if you happen to share your internet with lots of guests, you can rest easy knowing your PCs are much safer.
There’s also built in parental controls that you can use to restrict the times your kids can be on the internet, and the places they are allowed to go to. The router also has a Safe Web Surfing feature that will warn you when you go to a website that could be unsafe.
The Easy Setup Key lets you change just about everything an average user would want to change. However, if you want to go in and monkey around with the router yourself and setup fancy things like port forwarding and Dynamic DNS services, and so on, you are more than welcome to via its web interface. However, once you change those configurations, the Easy Setup Key no longer works. But chances are that you wont need it anymore anyway if you know how to do all those things.
Our only gripe with the Cisco Valet Wireless-N router is that Windows XP users must be using Service Pack 3 or else they will have to install the route manually and then they’ll be missing out on its key features. That said, overall, the Cisco Valet is a gem of a router which we highly recommend. The fast and easy setup is to die for, and its wireless range and throughput speed is very good too. It doesn’t get easier than this folks! The Cisco Valet Wireless-N Router retails for around $89.99 or as low as $64.99 on Amazon.
The Good: Ridiculously simple setup, automatic guest network, good range and speed, easy network management for the average home user
The Bad: Windows XP users must be using Service Pack 3 to really take advantage of the Cisco Valet
Want to win a Cisco Valet of your own?
How the “Your Valet Life” Contest Works:
1) Create a 60-second video telling us why you need a personal assistant in your life and how you could use a dose of the “Valet Life.”
2) Upload your video submission to the Cisco Valet Contest Tab on Facebook.
3) The contest submission period is open from now until February 16, 2011.
4) The five videos with the most “likes” on February 23, 2011 will move on to the final judging round.
Additionally, everyone who submits a video will be automatically entered into a weekly drawing to win a Valet Plus Wireless router. For more info, go here: http://bit.ly/fFKs0A