Pros The setup was a snap - it did it itself
Strong, steady signal so far
Cons None so far
Summary After struggling to set up a Belkin N+ on a DSL connection for a friend, Belkin tech support gave up and so did I. More than 10 wasted hours and no steady connection. I must say that Buy.Com was wonderful about taking it back. So I went to a local Staples and bought the Valet Plus. Staples gives a promise of 15 minutes or less to set it up or they give you a $25 gift certificate. I told the sales guy that I'd be back in an hour to get my certificate.
I erased the Belkin wifi connection in the laptop, inserted the flashdrive that comes with the router into the laptop, turned on the router, clicked on the icon from the flashdrive file that says "connect", waited FIVE minutes. I was rewarded for doing nothing with a banner congratulating me and that I was connected.
Everything worked perfectly including the VPN!
It is one of the few times that a piece of technology has fully lived up to its hype. Way to go, Cisco!
Pros The most simple set-up of any pheripheral I've ever used, and I'm old. You literally just insert the flash drive that comes with it into your computer and simple directions pop up on the screen. Plug in the router, connect it to the modem and done.
Cons None as of yet.
Summary I'm a Mac household, and very familiar with 'plug & play'. This router couldn't be easier to set up. No magic numbers to enter. No cute network name to think up (it comes with a name, but it's easy to change it). No 14 digit number to use as a password. The Cisco software allows easy copying of the flashdrive information onto another flashdrive, so you always have a backup.
As I mentioned, the router is already set up with a name. I don't know if they are all the same but mine was named BigDolphin. When I check the networks that are available under my AirPort icon, there's BigDolphin and BigDolphin-Guest. The primary network is encrypted (password is on the flashdrive), and the 'Guest' network has a different password that any guest would enter from their browser when they try to connect to the internet. You can change either or both passwords, but the benefit of the Guest network is you don't have to give out keys to the kingdom to anyone you allow to use your network: Anything else on the main network (printer, etc) wouldn't be usable/visible by the guest. Plus you can limit the number of guests using the secondary network at any given time from only one user up to ten. And if from time to time you want to change just the Guest password, that couldn't be easier.
This product is so easy to use, it should have an Apple on it.
"NOT NAS friendly"on by avagodro
Pros Very easy to setup using the Easy Setup Key.
Cons Web based configuration, for advanced setup, is hard to maneuver. The router has a built in universal plug and play feature, as does my windows home server, but the router doesn't recognize the server.
Summary I bought this router based on CNET's recommendation, but the router is going back to the store in the morning. My only recommendation is that if all you want to do is connect computer to the internet using a router, then the Cisco Valet is a good option. However, if you need more advanced features, such as attaching a network storage device to the router, then keep looking elsewhere. I'm not a networking novice, and after spending 3 hours trying to get the router to talk to my Windows Home Server, plus an hour on the phone with Cisco support, we still couldn't get the router to see the server, which was connected to a LAN port. Of course, support said it had nothing to do with their router, but was an issue with the server. I have an old Belkin wireless G router, and immediately after plugging in the server the router detected it. I was setting up the server in under 5 minutes.
Once again, if you need simple routing for multiple computers to the internet, the Cisco Valet may be a good choice for you. But to connect a network accessible storage device, forget it.
Pros The product does configure very easily using the USB key - but its really no different from the CD based software tha comes with every other router.
Cons The parental controls are not an effective filter. Valet does not filter the searches in search engines. If you search for porn images, the search engines will find them. Valet will only block them when you click the image to go to the websites.
Summary This router is a huge dissapointment. I gave up a perfectly functional Netgear G router with extended range and spent $200 for a Valet Plus (M20) and a Valet Connector to provide internet to a new game computer for 11 yr old son. My #1 concern was internet filtering - so I bought the Valet since it parental controls are a big selling point. My #2 concern was Wireless Range - so I bought the more expensive M20 version.
The Parental Controls are a joke. You can set it to Child or Teen - thats it. It will block out all WEBSITES that are inappropriate to the age setting. Google is an appropriate allowed website - as it should be but the Valet does not filter the search results - so you go to Google Images - type in "porn" and up pops 10,000 porno images - of course if you click on the actual image The Valet will block that link, but it doesn't block the search - so you have to go to Google, and Bing, and etc... setting up Locked Search controls. Do not purchase this thinking that it is a filtered firewall like the kids have in school. Its a half baked concept. For example - AdamAndEve.com is not a blocked site - the Valet thinks its a legitimate shopping site for kids. I navigated to the site by going to Google Shopping and searching the common name for popular toys. The front page of AdamAndEve.com has plenty of graphic photos of adult toys that you would expect Valet to filter. If you click on the Sex Toys tab, Valet will block that. The Valet allows you to block individual sites - up to a total of 8! Why only 8 custom blocked sites - why not thousands? If you are buying this to protect your kids, forget it. Go with Net Nanny or something.
As for range - and the Valet Connector - I am 75 feet from the router and I have two of five bars. The Valet Connector is just a USB wireless adapter plugged into a stand - its nothing special. The Valet Connector cost $75 or so - for this price you'd think the base would be properly weighted - but its not - its just cheap plastic. It has a heavy cord so the cord is always trying to flip the cheap plastic usb adaptor off the desk. Might want to buy some tape to tape it to the desk.
If you are a total computing moron and don't know how to configure Microsoft Word, then this router is for you. If you do not know what USB stands for, buy this product. If you are comfortable using the words router and ethernet, then buy any other product for half the price with double the features. Here is a simple test. If you have any knowledge whatsoever that Unsecured Wireless Network and WPA Encrypted Wireless network are not synonyms, then you will be very disspointed at the functionality of this product for the price. However, if you are tired of fielding tech support phone calls from your retired in-laws - then this might be the product for them.
If you are intimidated by your computer settings or if you have never owned a wireless router, and if filtering is not an issue, then you will probably like this product very much.
Pros Nice aesthetics
Cons Sporadic connection
Very slow speeds
Terrible customer service
Summary I chose the Cisco Valet Plus router because it received the highest reviews on CNET. When I purchased the product, I found it easy to set up and install on multiple machines utilizing the supplied the thumb drive. The thumb drive is a cute marketing tool although all it is really being used for is to save your password on an XML file and spare you the trouble of writing it down. Shortly after installing the Cisco software, I lost conenction to the internet. I discovered that my internet connection would come and go, and when it did connect the speeds would be very slow. I logged several hours of calls to Cisco support which were semi-knowledgeable as long as you had some basic knowledge to help them out. Cisco product support sometimes lacked key pieces of information such as the correct IP address for the router, however, being in IT I was able to help them out with this. Product support had me upgrade the firmware and restart my modem and router until I was reconnected. About 15 minutes I lost connection again and called them back. Product support insisted that either something was wrong with the modem or the computer. I explained to them that I had no problems when I connected directly to the modem which would rule out a problem with that device. I also explained to them that I experienced connectivity problems simultaneously with 4 different computers, 2 iphones, and a wireless printer which would rule out a problem with the computer. They had no additional answers on how to fix my router. I reinstalled my old router which was also a Linksys (Cisco) router and instantly had consistent, high speed internet connection. Clearly there is something defective with the Cisco Valet Plus judging by my experience and the many similar experiences recorded by others. The Valet has potential but I would definitely wait until it is out of the Beta stage before purchasing it.2 weeks after my review I receive a call from Cisco rep and she explained that they reviewed my case notes and the customer service rep provided me with wrong information. I explained to them that I had already returned my router at a loss (restocking fee). The Cisco rep did not offer an apology but asked me if I would consider buying Cisco again. Are they serious?
Updated on Aug 30, 2010