If you’ve ever logged into a Cisco/Linksys router in the past, the new dashboard interface will be a pleasant surprise. On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll find six widgets that show you the status of your router. On the left side of the screen, you find the six built in Apps arranged at the top, and four top level menu items under Router Settings. Let's briefly explore each one.
Apps - Device List
This first entry in the Apps group shows a list of all devices connected to your EA series router (Figure 8). If you click on the “i” icon at the bottom of each device box, you’ll see the MAC address, IP address, device name and other information.
Figure 8: Cisco Connect Cloud device list
From the device menu, you can also add devices to your network as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Adding a device
Figure 10 shows the supported WPS options. There is support for push button, router PIN and Device PIN. One really nice feature is the Push Button. If you click on the Push Button icon, it is the same as walking over to your router and pressing the WPS button on the back. This is a really handy feature if you are in different rooms configuring new wireless devices. For example, using the smart phone CCC app, you can put your router in WPS setup mode while setting up a new laptop.
Figure 10: Wi-Fi Protected Setup options
Apps - Guest Access
This menu allows setting up a guest network to allow guests access to the internet. Much like a hotspot, this network is an open network and doesn’t use wireless security. In fact, you can't enable any level of wireless security on the guest network. However, it is password protected, so your guest won’t have access to the internet unless they type in a password that you provide them. As has been Cisco's practice, the Guest network is supported only on the 2.4 GHz band.
You can configure the network name, guest password and the total number of guests allowed in increments of five guests up to a total of 50. You can also disable guest access altogether. From a security standpoint, your guests are placed on a separate VLAN (192. 168. 3. 0), so they can't see or access devices on your wired or wireless network.
Apps - Parental Control
This menu allows you to restrict all internet access for each client on your network (always, never or on a schedule), or to block specific sites. Figure 11 shows each of the clients on my network. With my MacBook highlighted, you can see that it is restricted from going to Amazon. com. I tested restricted sites on different clients, and parental controls do, indeed work. But deny-only website filtering is pretty basic and very limited in practical use. An allow-only option would have been an easy addition and much more useful.
Figure 11: Parental Controls – you can control internet access for each device on your network.
Figure 12 shows that you can control time in one hour increments. Note that the default schedule blocks internet access after 9:00PM on school nights. You can easily change the schedule for each device by clicking on a time box to toggle allowed/blocked times. Again this applies to all internet access. You can't schedule the "Block specific sites" feature.