Setting up a wireless network at home is not exactly a walk in the park for most home users. For those who aren't tech-savvy, even the networking terms themselves, such as SSID, encryption key, LAN, and WAN, are already very intimidating. For this reason, last week Cisco announced a new line of wireless routers,, that takes the "Flip approach" when it comes to ease of use (Cisco acquired the maker of the Flip, Pure Digital, ).
I just had a chance to review the Cisco Valet Plus, the high-end router of the Valet product line, and it's indeed a wireless router that anyone could set up easily. The Valet Plus comes with a thumb drive, called an Easy Setup Key, that does everything for you. All you need to do is insert the Key into a computer's USB port, Mac or PC, then follow the instructions, which includes a clear guide on how you plug the router in, turn it on, pick a network's name (or the SSID), turn on the encryption, pick an encryption key, and so on.
After that, whenever you plug the Key into any other computer with a wireless adapter, the software will connect that computer to the wireless network. Though this information takes some time to describe, the actual work takes only two or three mouse clicks.
The Cisco software allows you to further customize the network and manage it; it also includes a parental control feature.
All in all, for around $130, the Cisco Valet Plus is a great investment for those who don't know much about networking and computers but want to get a wireless network up and running properly by themselves. For more information on this, check out