Valet Wireless From Cisco – Surprisingly Easy?

An Oakland, California high school is receiving a gift of Cisco Valet Wireless routers and wireless adapters for its students.  The Valet Wireless Router, a new offering from Cisco intended for home use, purports to be one of the easiest to use and set up in the industry.

The purpose of the gift is to give students at the high-risk ARISE high school the access they need from their homes.  The ARISE program prepares low-income students to be the first in their families to attend college.  The graduating class of 2010 had a 100% college admission rate, which is phenomenal.  With the help that Cisco is now offering, it can only help to continue this high rate of transition to college.  Students with online access have a much better shot at success than those without, and Cisco hopes to breach this digital divide for the ARISE program.

What is unique about the Valet is how easy it really is.  As a person who has had to set up multiple home-based wired and wireless networks, I know what a pain it can be.  And after you’re gone, the client is left having to deal with the network and its complicated setup and potential issues.  No wonder many routers supplied by phone companies and other ISP’s have the SSID hard-set and the password printed on a sticker on the bottom of the device.  Really unsecure, but easier for the client to access and work with than some complicated setup a geek did for them.

Valet promises a 3-step setup process and an easy access system right from your computer to enable parental controls, open or close guest access, and add devices like the XBox to the setup.  Both the Valet and the Valet Plus devices offer four ethernet ports for expansion to non-wireless devices, as well.

The routers are a bit pricier than the Linksys model Cisco is known for, but still reasonable.  I paid not much less for my latest Netgear router, purchased because my six-year-old Linksys router box had finally failed.  I should have held out for the Valet.