updated 09:00 am EDT, Wed March 31, 2010
Cisco Valet and Linksys E series routers arrive
Cisco completely overhauled its router lineup on Wednesday with seven new models, including its first purely Cisco-branded routers for the home. The 100Mbps Ethernet and 802.11n-equipped Valet and the gigabit-toting Valet Plus both avoid the network setup process entirely through their namesake valet key: a small USB adapter plugs into a Mac or PC and cuts the setup process down to three steps. They keep the connection data intact and can port over to other computers.
The optional passkey system also works to the advantage of parental controls. Parents can filter or time-limit access per adapter rather than having to specifically identify computers on the network. In software, users can create a guest network with limited access.
Either router has single-band, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and four Ethernet ports. They should be available immediately, and the Valet will start at $100 while the Valet Plus will cost $150. The Valet Connector, a combination Wi-Fi dongle and access key, costs $80.
More traditional users are served by the Linksys-branded E series. The E1000 is the core model with 2.4GHz wireless and four 100Mbps ports. Moving to the E2000 adds more interference-proof 5GHz wireless and gigabit Ethernet; the E2100L is limited to the features of the E1000 but uses Linux to give hobbyists full control over the firmware. Performance users get the E3000, which supplies simultaneous 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band, its own UPnP server and a USB port for network-attached storage.
The whole E series, along with the AE1000 USB adapter, is also available today and ranges in price from $80 for the most basic version to $180 for the E3000. The AE1000 costs $70.
E1000, E2100L, E3000