Customer Reviews: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router
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on April 3, 2010
I had a very old Airport base station and was having trouble connecting my DirecTv wireless adapter to it. I figured it was time to upgrade. I did a lot of research online and was worried about not being able to set up a new router using my Mac. I bought this router with high hopes of a quick set up. I was not disappointed. I had 2 Macbooks, a Wii, my TiVo DVR and the DirecTv system all working within 15 minutes. So far signal is great throughout my three story home. The router is in the basement and my husband is on the third floor Skyping away. I highy recommend this for anyone that wants a quick and easy setup with little hassles!
1717 comments|243 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 19, 2010
Bought the Valet Plus to replace a Linksys G router that occasionally lost signal and that did not offer reliable coverage throughout my (not very big) apartment. Connecting 2 computers went smoothly, and range was definitely improved. Connecting 3rd computer produced error message but seemed to work anyway - attempting to add wireless Canon printer to the network caused another error message and connection failed. Called Cisco Support and was told, basically, that they don't fix printer problems; I insisted that was nonsense, since the product is sold as a "no-brainer" wireless solution and they had to help make it work. During conversation with service rep, the printer suddenly did recognize the Valet Plus (or vice-versa) and started working. Next day, connected iPhone successfully but printing failed again. This time, Customer Support dug a little deeper and checked the settings on the router. Then they told me I had to get a better driver from Canon since the router will only work with printers enabled for WPA/WPA2 security. When I asked why that wasn't listed on the box or anywhere else as a technical requirement for the product, the person had no answer - kept repeating that Cisco used "advanced" technology. After that useless call, I tinkered with the printer LAN settings and tried getting it to accept WPA (rather than WPA2) as security protocol. I was able to print again, but don't have confidence the problem is solved for good. So I have to choose whether to send back the Valet Plus or keep it and hope it works, accepting that I may have difficulty and that Cisco Support is pretty much not supportive at all. Be warned that "plug and play" may not be your experience with this item.

UPDATE: It seems that Cisco takes customer reactions pretty seriously. After posting this review and responding to a Cisco survey in the same vein, I got an email and phone call from a higher-up in the company's support area. He explained that Cisco has to be careful about offering technical advice about other company's products (there are liability issues) but agreed that I should not have been given that unequivocal, unhelpful answer. And the Valet Plus has been working well - haven't had to reset it or fiddle with AirPort settings on computers. Have printed successfully a couple of times, too, so hoping for the best.
1717 comments|336 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 8, 2010
The Cisco Valet is, indeed, easy to set-up; there's only one very significant problem with the wireless network that it sets up - degraded and unacceptable download and upload speed. After setting up my Cisco Valet wireless service with my main desktop PC and a laptop, I noticed that web pages were exceedingly slow. I undertook some speed tests and discovered that my desktop PC was 50% slower when connected to my wireless network as to when it was connected directly to my Comcast modem even after ensuring that my laptop was not connected to the network and was powered off. I called Cisco customer service and the technician advised me that the problem was the "safe surf" attribute of the Cisco valet. After the technician took direct control of my computer and reset my wireless network, he indicated to me that the problem was solved. I then took back control of my computer and ran a speed test. The readings were absolutely the same. When I told the technician that a 50% degredation in service was just not acceptable, he countered with a mantra that as long as I was able to connect with the internet, that's all that mattered. After my protestation that that was not all that mattered, he put me on hold to confer with his supervisor. He then repeated to me that as long as I was able to connect to the internet, that's all that mattered. I determined that any further discussion was futile, advised him that I would be returning the Cisco Valet to Amazon as an inferior product and that a failure to notify the customer that he/she could expect a 50% degredation in service was an unacceptable business practice.
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on April 8, 2010
I had been using a 7 year old Linksys router that was impossible to lock. Not wanting to share my wireless connection with my neighbors I saw a review of the Cisco Valet and knew right away this was for me. The packaging is very impressive....reminds me of when I opened my iPhone box, but much bigger. Set up was a breeze, although I read conflicting instructions on how to do it. But I have a hunch it doesn't matter whether you insert the USB key first or connect the router to your modem before inserting the key.

The Valet recognized my iPhone immediately and all I had to do was type my Valet password (supplied by the Valet) into my iPhone.

Then I put the USB key into my wireless computer and that was a piece of cake. Took about 1 minute to connect to the router.

I guess each router gets its own fancy name....mine is "fancy dolphin", which I decided to keep. The setup does give you the option to change the name or password, but the instructions said something about having to reset the router manually. And I think you would have to update the USB key if you make changes. I decided not to change anything.

My only issue was trying to register the product with Cisco. On the registration screen it asks for a user name and password. Since I did not have either, it took several tries before I figured it out. You need to go the the Cisco homepage and register a username and password and then come back to the registration page.

One other issue was trying to figure out what the center button does. Our of curiosity I pressed it and it started flashing. Not knowing what was going on I unplugged the power and then back in and it reset it self to normal.

Instruction are all there on the Cisco web site...just in different places.

The router is sleek and easy on the eyes.

I would definitely recommend this product.
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on May 27, 2010
I wish to register a strong complaint about the abysmal level of customer service Cisco is providing for the Cisco Valet wireless router.

I purchased such a device (Model No. M20, S/N CVK01K213675) through Amazon a few weeks ago and have had a terrible time trying to get it to work. I first spent several hours on my own, following the directions, trying to get the device to operate properly, without success. I gave up and called Cisco's Customer Service organization. I was assigned a Case Number.

The first technician I spoke to did provide some early assistance but it was short-lived and I had to call again and this time got a different technician. She spent over an hour working with me without success and finally elevated my problem to a Cisco Advance Support Engineer. It was several days later before that Advance Support Engineer finally contacted me! She was indeed much more familiar with the product and was able to initially get me going. It seems there was some firmware missing on my device, it not having been installed by the factory!

After working for just a short time, however, my device failed again and I called the Advance Support Engineer again. She did not return my calls. I then called a higher level Cisco manager whom I was told by one of the earlier reps was the Manager for such cases. This manager told me to just be patient and that I would eventually get good service from his Advance Support Engineer, but he made no other promise, commitment or offer to help. I haven't heard from that Advance Support Engineer since.

I have never experienced such unreliable product service, especially when that product was known to be defective when shipped from the factory. I did not bargain for, nor expect, such atrocious service when I purchased a Cisco product. The appropriate positive motivation and attitude towards providing good customer service seems to be absent in many of the Cisco people to whom I spoked.

Ironically, I am reluctant to criticize Cisco publicly since I am a long time shareholder - but such poor product support takes priority and needs to be corrected immediately - hence this comment.
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on April 9, 2010
As advertised, set up was a snap. Plug it in, turn it on, stick the included thumb drive into a Windows pc and it does the rest. The thumb drive doesn't work on Linux machines but the manual set up is easy. I have both N and G wireless devices as well as wired devices and they all work with no issues, no fuss. Better range and much faster wireless, the N device connects at about 130. The control sw runs great on a Vista box. Overall I'm very happy with this router.
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on June 12, 2010
I ordered the Cisco Valet Plus for my brother's house. He and his wife are VERY low tech. I wanted something that would be as low maintenance as possible so I did not have to run over there every time there was a problem, I bought it for them. Set it up. Everything was fine till they had a brown out. It did not reset after the power went out. We called Cisco spent an hour on the phone. Did a lengthy troubleshooting procedure. Finally ended up removing all the Cisco software from the PC and reinstalling everything fresh. The tech got it working again, till there was a power outage, same thing no reset. Sent it back to Amazon. Got a new unit, set it up, worked fine until a momentary power outage, no automatic reset, So I returned the second defective unit to Amazon. Cisco is billing this unit as easy setup and maintenance for people who need help with networking. It misses the mark. I ordered an Apple Airport Extreme, from Amazon,to replace it. I KNOW these units reset themselves after a power failure. I have had one at my own house 3 months and it is bulletproof.- jeff in Putnam
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on May 11, 2010
Supposed to be automatic. No written instructions. It cancelled my existing home network and failed to setup a new wireless network. Spent an hour on the phone with a Cisco technician who repeatedly referred to the item as "bolly," apparently her version of valet. The technician didn't know much about the product and said she needed to research something and would call me back in 15 minutes - I waited over two hours and she never called back. I ended up paying $125.00 to a local computer service company to reinstate my previous DSL wireless network.

I believe that Cisco's intent was great: a simple wireless interface. BUT, no written instructions and customer service techs who don't speak adequate English and who don't know the product is unfair to the customer.
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on June 30, 2010
After reading various reviews and seeing ads on how easy the setup is I decided to replace my failed wireless router with the Cisco Valet Plus, my mistake. The special thumb drive never worked properly, I spent roughly 3 hours total on the phone with their support staff before finally getting the device to function properly and at no time did they offer to just replace the unit or the special key even though they acknowledged the apparent failures. They never were able to get the thumb drive key and its software working properly. The device is now functioning properly but the access to its controls is far from easy and requires the same process of internet address insertion I used on my much less sophisticated (and cheaper I might add) old router. Look elsewhere is my advice.
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on August 9, 2010
This product is absolutely awful - it is by no means plug-and-play. On 7/30/10, after I took it out of the box and followed the instructions, my computer would not recognize the router. I tried it on another laptop and had similar issues. I called tech support and although the rep was trying to be helpful during over 2 hours while having to do a manual installation, the Windows O/S got corrupted requiring Windows to have to be reconfigured. Finally, we got the product working on both laptops. I was offered a next-level tech support call back within 24-48 hours if I wanted to be able to use the software that comes with the product so I said yes. After hanging up the phone and rebooting my computer, the Windows O/S got corrupted again and it took several more hours to get that working again. Needless to say, the router configuration on that laptop was removed. On my other laptop the following day, I couldn't get wireless to work - no surprise - but I did get the Ethernet cable to work through the router. Calling back to tech support resulted in them telling me that I needed to wait for the next level tech support to call back since the case was still open with them. After waiting until 8/4 and getting an email from them, I called that number back and left a message but I still have not received a call back after 5 days. This product is being returned. No one should have to try this hard to get a product to work!
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