Cisco today announced a revamp of its consumer wireless router line that includes the first Cisco-only branded products.
The announcements establish a new separately-branded product line for "average consumers" and positions the Linksys line for "tech experts and enthusiasts".
The Cisco Valet (M10) and Valet Plus (M20) Wireless Hotspots are aimed at "the average consumer", who, according to Cisco, hasn't been buying home wireless products "largely due to the complexity of current offerings that are too technical...to install and manage on their own".
Both Valets use an Easy Setup USB key that works on computers running Windows or Mac OS. All the consumer needs to do is insert the key, follow a few simple screen prompts and a WPA2-secured wireless network will be set up within a minute or so.
The Cisco Connect software installed by the key can be used to add other devices to the network, enable a secure, separate, Internet-access-only "guest" network and enable parental controls. An advanced web interface that provides access to all router functions can also be accessed.
Both Valets are dual-stream, single band N routers, with single WAN ports and four switched LAN ports. The Valet has 10/100 Ethernet ports and a two antenna design, while the Valet Plus has Gigabit Ethernet ports and a three antenna N radio.
Both products are available now at MSRPs of $99.99 and $149.99 for the Valet and Valet Plus. Also available is the Valet Connector, a single-band USB N adapter for $79.99.
In a related announcement, Cisco rolled out a complete overhaul of its Linksys-branded 802.11N router line, dubbed the E series. The lineup also comes bundled with the same easy setup Cisco Connect software used on the Valet line. But the Easy Setup USB key isn't included with these products.
The new Linksys line is intended to replace the current WRT series routers to streamline and simplify consumers' choices. Models include:
- E1000 Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $79.99)
Entry-level single band with 10/100 Ethernet ports
- E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $119.99)
Single-radio dual-band with Gigabit Ethernet ports
- E2100L Advanced Wireless-N Router with Linux OS (MSRP: $119.99)
Single band with 10/100 Ethernet ports, external upgradeable antennas, UPnP AV server and USB port for storage sharing aimed at fans of alternative router distros like DD-WRT, OpenWRT, etc.
- E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router (Dual-Band) (MSRP: $179.99)
Two-radio, dual-band with Gigabit Ethernet ports, UPnP AV server and USB port for storage sharing
Also announced is a new dual-band AE1000 High-Performance Wireless-N USB Adapter (MSRP: $69.99). All products are available now.