Cisco Promises 'Simple Design' In New Consumer-Grade Routers


One new product line, Cisco Valet, is expected to compete in the home and consumer markets with other ease-of-use-centric products like Apple's AirPort. Specifically, Cisco says it can configure a PC or Mac for Valet routers in as few as three steps, thanks to Cisco Connect, a new package of simple router and networking software.

Cisco got a lesson in ease-of-use and simple designs, its executives said, through Cisco's March 2009 acquisition of Pure Digital, the maker of the Flip video cameras.

"Valet is home wireless made easy," said Jonathan Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products, in a statement. "With complementary backgrounds and expertise, our Cisco and Flip teams have combined forces to change the rules for home wireless with a product line that empowers consumers to easily set up, enjoy and manage all of their wireless devices anywhere in their homes."'

The Valet line includes two routers -- Valet and Valet Plus -- and Valet Connector, which upgrades older computers that don't have built-in wireless configured.

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The basic Valet router, intended for small and medium homes and principally wireless devices, has an MSRP of $99. The Valet Plus, intended for larger homes with a mix of wired and wireless devices, has an MSRP of $149.99. The Connectors run $79.99.

The Cisco Valet line also marks the first time Cisco has released new home market and consumer-centric routers that aren't branded as Linksys. That said, the Linksys name will appear to live on for some new product lines.

The new Linksys E-series, also announced Wednesday, includes four routers with a price range of $79.99 to $179.99. All of the E-series routers include Cisco Connect, and the more advanced models add features like gaming console connectivity, compatibility with Internet-ready HDTVs and Blu-ray players, and, in one case, Linux OS utilization.