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
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.