241 of 253 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as easy as they say
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...
Published on April 3, 2010 by val
325 of 347 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not easy, either
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...
Published on April 19, 2010 by E. Willinger
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241 of 253 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as easy as they say,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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!
325 of 347 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not easy, either,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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.
145 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So simple your grandma could set this up.,
This is the ideal device for the person who just wants their electronics to work and is not interested in details. It is possible to access the configuration screen from the Cisco software or via the IP address but you're paying for the convenience of never having to look under the hood.
At the end of the process they reveal the name of your network and your password but there are no further instructions. I have not had a guest log on but I understand the process is similar to the login at a hotel. They actually have to open their internet browser and enter the password you provide on a welcome screen. A little more detail would have been nice.
The Valet includes 24 hour live tech support which I consider a big plus. The router has various lighted symbols flashing but none of them are marked. I called to find out what they were and had live assistance in less than a minute. The woman was very pleasant but scolded me when I asked about what looks like a power button in the middle. It seems you could lose your set-up if you press the button.
I have purchased many routers and this is by far the quickest and easiest to set up. The connection speed is also very good.
118 of 127 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Significantly Degraded Service,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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.
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great router,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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.
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally A Network Wireless Router That Is Bonehead Easy,
Despite this, one area I have NEVER bothered to learn about or competently manage is anything to do with network cards, routers or wireless for the home. I guess it's like math. I was turned off to math (but love history, English and politics) because when in high school I did not like the algebra teacher and things went downhill from there. Matter of fact I got my first D in high school in algebra. I digress.
Anyway, setting up a wireless or router on computers never went well for me so I just avoided dealing with it. As Windows progressed through versions I was able to pretty much connect a network cable (that's the one where the ends look like a fatter phone cable that you are used to) and fire things up. But if there were any problems I was stuck. I would simply have to do all kinds of research in an attempt to get things running.
And setting up a wireless router? Forget that. I was lucky if the router worked and was nevertheless always frustrated with those long passkey phrases and codes one had to enter. Before getting this Cisco Valet I was using a NetGear router that worked pretty well, but I still had to find help on the Net and was always ticked off because there would be a new device I wanted to work off the desktop router connection, but it would not (a notebook for example).
Enter the beauty of television advertising. I saw Cisco's ad for the Valet and thought "that makes sense, this USB dongle thing." As coincidence would have it, a local TV channel, KRON 4 in San Francisco, had its tech guy review and test a Cisco Valet. He was going to see if the Valet really did what the TV ads said, plug in the USB dongle, get connected. Well it worked, it got his recommendation, and the rest is history, as the saying goes.
What Is This Thing For:
First, a little history. Before wireless "internet connections" became common on notebooks, netbooks, and now smartphones (via WiFi), people had to "hard wire" their computers to a network router if they wanted to share a single net connection with other computers (even the Nintendo Wii has the option of connecting through a hard wire or wirelessly).
All that meant was that you were setting up your computer to act as a router or hub by which any other computers connected to it with cables could share the router's net connection. This was no different in concept than your house having a main power cable running to your residence and your plugging in devices in the home's various electrical outlets.
Wireless eliminates the need for those wire and cables connected to a router. But the issue with wireless is that while you enjoy its benefits, so too can anyone passing by in a car using "sniffer" program or more likely, a neighbor. (Ever notice when you tell a computer to "detect wireless connections" all kinds of strange-named items pop up. Those are wireless routers that your neighbors have set up.)
So security has always been a concern with wireless setups. Enter fancy and confusing terms like encryption, keys, WPA, and WEP. It's wireless security measures that have made the entire process confusing and frustrating for consumers. The Valet promises to eliminate our having to deal with all that security mumbo jumbo (that usually prevented us from ever getting a connection).
Sidenote: Do you have a desktop computer like mine, where it does not contain a wireless network card (usually attached to the computer's motherboard)? No worry, with the Cisco Valet (or any router really), you can simply connect (hard wire) the computer to any one of the four physical ports on the back of the Valet to share your cable or land line connection. Yes, this is how it was done in the old days and how most offices still network the computers, by running cable through the ceiling to all the offices and cubicles.
Which Model To Buy:
Cisco offers the Valet in various "grades," the lowest being the "consumer model" (the M10). After a little research that's the one I ended up getting.
After seeing the stuff on TV I went to Cisco's website and saw they made different versions, with the more expensive model supposedly being able to do more. Since I really did not know what Cisco was talking about, truth be told all I wanted was a wireless connection in my condo. So I kept that in mind when deciding which model to purchase. (I tend to buy the highest grade model of most electronics, but I figured for the router I should not do that since my needs were simple. Also, I saw that the basic model (again, the Cisco Valet M10) did not suffer in performance/speed, so I was fine with getting the base unit.)
I ended up getting it for $70 instead of the retail $99. I was loving this thing already.
Easy To Set Up?
I was skeptical about this thing, so much so that I was ready to return t for a full refund if things did not happen the same as to that tech guy on TV. When I got home a sat down in front of my computer, my command center, if you will, ready to be disappointed by yet another exaggerated TV ad.
First thing I did was open the Valet box. To emphasize how easy this is to set up, Cisco puts the USB dongle/thumb drive on the inside of the top half of the box and the blue/white router in the lower half of the box. That certainly implied to me that this was going to work as advertised.
To make things even more clear how easy a time I was going to have setting up my Cisco Valet, outside the box flap it says:
"Welcome to the new home wireless experience"
Inside above the USB dongle it says:
"Your key to simple setup"
And below the key are abbreviated install instructions (for people like me who never read directions and always screw things up):
"1. Insert the Easy Setup Key into a USB port on your computer.
2. Click 'Connect to your Cisco Valet.'
3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install your Cisco Valet."
Before anything I wanted to see what else was in the box. There was a small pamphlet, a power adapter and one network cable.
Fishing around I noticed THERE WAS NO CD OR DVD CONTAINING DRIVERS OR INSTALL FILES! That was promising to me because an install CD or DVD usually means for me that things are going to get messed up. "Heck this actually might work" I thought. (Note: while there was not a CD or DVD containing the drivers and install files, what Cisco did was simply put those on to the USB dongle, that looks like a typical USB thumb drive. In fact, a check of the dongle in Windows Explorer indicated the Cisco Valet "thumb drive" is 1GB in size and Cisco put about 45 MB of files on it.)
So with great curiosity and anticipation the four of us continued with the install. (Me, the dog and two cats).
Cisco included a little pamphlet that had big illustrations and very little printing on it. It was simply a puff piece "ad" telling us how easy this would all be.
As mentioned above, the "key" (pun intended) to all this is to simply connect the USB Key (a dongle or thumb drive) to any computer in which you want to establish a wired or wireless internet connection. (While most people want a wireless connection, there's still millions of desktop computers in the U.S. that do not have a wireless card inside.)
So I did as instructed, I plugged the USB Key into one of my desktop's USB ports.
EUREKA! The USB Key detected I did not have a wireless card on the desktop. It said something like "Looks like this computer does not have wireless hardware. Please click 'Next' and follow the directions."
It then said which cables to connect. One cable from the broadband modem (my net connection coming from the wall, so to speak) to back of the Valet, into yellow-labeled port that says "Internet." Then I was told to connect a cable from the back of my computer's network port (a hard wire connection) to any of the Valet's ports numbered 1 to 4. (Note that this is how all routers have worked since the eighties.)
After that is says to click next, next and then it SILENTLY detects the computer, what it is, type of network card, which OS it was running, etc. About three minutes later it said "Sorry, cannot find a connection." But it said to fix this, turn off the cable modem for two minutes then turn back on.
(Note: this is an important step because typically any time you connect a new or different router to a Comcast cable modem, you need to turn off the modem so it can reset itself and set itself up to connect to the new router. Don't hit the reset button if your modem has one. To be absolutely certain your old settings are cleared from the modem, power it off.)
When I turned the modem back on, the Cisco Valet gave me a Net connection and everything is running fine.
Wow... that was easy!
I then grabbed my HP notebook that I bought recently. Now it does have a wireless card. So even though it also has an RJ45 network port, for hard wire connections, I was going to see how the Valet did with that.
As above, I simply connected the USB dongle to one of the notebook's USB ports. The same "setup" menu appeared. This time, however, it detected the notebook had a wireless card. So all I did was click a bunch of confirmation "next" buttons. Within about two minutes my notebook was connected to the Cisco Valet's broadband output (net connection)!
Note: After an install you remove the USB Key, as its work is done. You do NOT ever have to use it again on a computer that has successfully installed or connected to the Valet.
So yeah, this thing worked exactly as advertised, for both wired and wireless connections!
I can safely recommend this to anyone. Yes, there will be those people who have problems, no matter what. But if this worked for someone like me (who is "wireless challenged") it should work for most anyone.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to temporally turn off any anti-virus or security software BEFORE starting an install.
Bonus Tip: Each dongle gives you a user name and password. While you can change it in the Advanced Settings, unless you don't trust your family members, I would leave it alone. If you do try to change the user name and password an ominous warning pops up that doing so may prevent the USB Key working the way it does (it probably always pauses to ask for your name and PW. Whereas if you don't change it then the Key will always bypass that step, asking you to log on, so to speak).
Bonus Tip: Cisco says to not lose your USB Key (dongle) because it is only through the Key that you can "one click" connect to new devices. To keep track of mine I taped a lanyard to it. (There's no lanyard or strap hole on the dongle, hence my using 3M clear strapping tape on it.
Bonus Tip: Again, if you have no problems with your family members or roommates, you can write your user name and password on the dongle (it's white) using a Sharpie laundry marker.
50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cisco Service A Dissappointment,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Easy and Works Well,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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.
66 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Happy,
This review is from: Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router (Personal Computers)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
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It didn't work out for me.,
Honestly, it could have been me, but the product's claim was that it was suppose to be simple. I'm fairly determined when I want something to work, but in this case, I was not willing to spend hours on the phone with technical support to get it going. So, I took it back.
After I did some research, I purchased the Cisco-Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router and had wireless in my home within 30 minutes and it works great. So, perhaps I just got a lemon Valet router.
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Cisco-Valet Plus Wireless Router by Cisco