By Andrew Liszewski
It’s hard for even IT professionals to get excited about a wireless router, since arguably they all tend to offer similar functionality. You plug in your modem, configure a few security settings, and you can then enjoy the internet without any wires. But believe it or not, Cisco’s Linksys E-Series and Valet wireless routers, which are now available in Canada, have a lot to get excited about, particularly if you serve as your family’s primary source of tech support. Both the Linksys and Valet routers provide the same level of configurability you’re used to, but thanks to the included Cisco Connect software, even consumers without a background in IT should have no trouble setting them up or connecting their PCs.
In fact the Valet routers in particular are designed to be as consumer-friendly as possible. They don’t even feature the term ‘router’ anywhere on the packaging, and come with an Easy Setup USB flash drive that makes configuring the router and your PCs almost as easy as plug-and-play. But besides ease-of-use, both routers also offer some unique consumer oriented features I really like such as the ability to setup up a guest network with a unique password and custom limitations (time limits, blocking nefarious sites etc.) so visiting friends don’t have access to your primary network. I’ll actually be posting a review of a couple of these new routers next week (hopefully) so stay tuned if you’re in the market for a new one, since they’re definitely worth considering from what I’ve seen.
Canadian pricing details and additional product information is included after the jump for my peers ‘up north.’
Cisco Valet Pricing and Availability
The new Valet line is offered in two models – Valet and Valet Plus – based on the size of the home and the mix of wired and wireless devices. In addition, there is a simple Valet Connector to update older computers without built-in wireless capabilities or to upgrade to Wireless-N. Valet users have access to Cisco’s award-winning 24/7 phone support in the unlikely event they have a question or problem. The Valet product line is available at Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples, London Drugs, The Source and other retailers.
• Valet For small to medium-sized homes with primarily wireless devices. MSRP: $99.99
• Valet Plus For medium-sized to large homes with a mix of wireless and wired devices. MSRP: $129.99
• Valet Connector Upgrades an older computer to wireless; an ideal complement to Valet or Valet Plus. MSRP: $69.99
Cisco Linksys E-Series Product Descriptions and Pricing
The new Linksys E-Series line offers a full range of technology options to help users find what works best for them. The new line, including a USB Wireless-N Adapter, is available at Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples, London Drugs, The Source and other retailers.
Linksys E1000 Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $69.99)
* Wirelessly connects computers and other devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps
* Uses four Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports to directly connect wired devices
* Ideal for general wireless Internet usage and home office productivity
Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $99.99)
* Includes four Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps) ports for faster file sharing with other Gigabit-enabled devices, including computers, hard drives and servers
* Features selectable dual-band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) technology to help avoid interference, allowing for smoother file transfers and media streaming
* Ideal for connecting computers, gaming consoles, Internet-enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray players, and other wireless devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps
Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router (Dual-Band) (MSRP: $159.99)
* Features simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), high-performance Wireless-N technology for smoother HD video streaming, wireless gaming and file transfers
* Includes four Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps) ports for faster file sharing and provides connectivity to storage devices for file sharing at home or over the Internet
* Built-in UPnP AV media server, enables streaming of entertainment content to an Xbox 360, PS3 or other compatible device
* Optimized for entertainment, ideal for connecting computers, gaming consoles, Internet-enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray players, and other wireless devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps
Linksys AE1000 High-Performance Wireless-N USB Adapter (MSRP: $59.99)
* Provides Wireless-N capability to Windows desktop computers and laptops
* Selectable dual-band wireless-N,connects to either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless network
* Includes USB extension cable and adapter base for improved wireless connectivity – ideal for hard-to-reach USB ports
* Helps avoid wireless freeloaders and Internet threats using customizable security settings, including WPA/WPA2 Personal and WPA/WPA2 Enterprise.