NEW YORK — After seeing the success of its recent acquisition of the Flip camcorder line, Cisco has set out to bring the same simplicity message to home wireless networking through the launch of the Valet wireless router line.
The company also repositioned its Linksys router family, by scaling back the assortment while clarifying setup and usage, for more advanced users.
Like the Flip camcorders, the family of Valet routers was designed to be taken out of the box and setup right away with little necessary study of the instruction manual.
The line will include the Valet ($99 suggested retail) and Valet Plus ($149) models, the latter offering an expanded range for larger homes. Both are 802.11n capable.
Also offered is a Valet wireless USB connector ($69), which can be added to a computer without an internal wireless network card to connect to the router.
The name Valet was chosen to communicate the message that “it works for you, you don’t work for it,” the company said.
The package was designed to quickly show shoppers what is relevant to them, — showing all of the tasks that can be performed with a Wi-Fi network in the home without getting into a lot of detail on various features and specifications. The Valet routers promise three steps to getting a Wi-Fi network set up and running.
The router ships with a USB setup key that plugs into a computer, initiating instant software set up. Settings are then saved back to the key, so that if additional PCs in the home need to be connected to the network, the USB key can be plugged in and a network connection is made. The software stays loaded on the computer managing all of the tasks that residents want to do wirelessly.
The software includes a parental control feature using a one-screen dashboard that enables customized settings for each child, regulating when they are allowed to surf the web, differentiating between school nights and weekends, and blocking or unblocking specific Web sites.
For those who don’t know which sites may be inappropriate, behind the scenes software allows Valet to permit or restrict access.