As noted, you can't ask for a simpler setup process. There is, however, a potential glitch. For those still running XP, Cisco Connect will only work with SP3. If you elected not to upgrade from SP2, as I did on one of my computers, Cisco Connect won't run.
Parental control seemed to work fairly well. I enabled parental controls for one system as "child" and tried to go to various web sites. In appropriate sites were blocked with the message below in Figure 11. Note that for the Child profile, social networking (MySpace, Facebook) and IM was blocked. Optionally, parents can type in the parental control password to provide one hour of unrestricted surfing.
Figure 11: Blocked content
While the Valet does provide a secure wireless connection and a password to secure the device, they are the same password. And, on any computer with Cisco Connect installed, there are actually three ways to get the password. First, if you select Add Devices the WPA-PSK key is shown. Second, under Valet Settings (Figure 12), the WPA-PSK key is shown on the left. Finally, the password is stored in an XML file on each computer that has Cisco Connect installed.
Figure 12: Valet settings page w/ plaintext password
A click on "Advanced settings" takes you to a page where you can copy the key to your clipboard and then be routed directly to Linksys/Cisco's standard web user interface designed for the more technically inclined. (Figure 13). A popup warns that if you use the web utility to configure the router, you may no longer be able to use Cisco Connect.
Figure 13: Web admin interface (via Advanced Settings link)
Testing and analysis by Tim Higgins
Although the Valet's target customer isn't supposed to care about performance, I know that most SmallNetBuilder readers do. So Table 2 summarizes the results of the Valet's routing tests (described here), which are decent for a router with 10/100 ports.
|Test Description||Throughput - (Mbps)|
|WAN - LAN||88.2|
|LAN - WAN||80.2|
Table 2: Routing throughput
Figure 14 shows the IxChariot aggregate plot for WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous routing throughput tests, which shows steady throughput in both directions.
Figure 14: Cisco Valet M10 routing performance
The Maximum Simultaneous connection result of 8,180 leads me to believe that there is an 8K session table, which should be more than enough for gaming or P2P use.