Do Not Buy The Cisco Valet Router

I can’t say it any plainer.

Don’t even think about buying the Cisco Valet or Cisco Valet Plus router.

This is the router that has been advertised as the idiot’s answer to setting up a home/small office wireless network.

Well that is a totally bogus claim.

Here’s what they say in their advertising:

Set Up in Minutes

Simply insert Valet’s included Easy Setup Key to launch Cisco Connect software, breeze through the simple screens, and you’re wireless.

Here is the truth:

Set up in SIXTY minutes.

Simply insert Cisco Valet Easy Setup Key, then call Cisco tech support who will tell you to remove it while they stay on the line to walk you through a brazilian steps to install your network settings and WPAs and WEPs and user names and passwords.

Lightning fried our Netgear router. Even with a power strip, it just died. It had been chugging along ever since we installed our Big Ass Tee Vee. Stable and strong, never a blip or loss of signal.

Rather than pay the $39 for 30 minutes of tech support from Netgear to try to revive it (all the lights were kaput),  I decided it was time to replace it. Figuring I could pickup a similar Netgear router for about SIXTY bucks, I headed into the night to buy a new router.

This tech blogger describes it perfectly:

Even for seasoned tech journalists like us, setting up a router can be a chore: try as companies might to make the process easier, it’s too often fraught with confusing instructions and jargon (think WPA2 and WEP) that’s likely to scare off the average user.

(Emphasis mine)

I’m a little above average. I have set up two routers before. But it had been two years since my last router setup. This is the knowledge one doesn’t retain. So I needed simple. Please make my life simple:

  • Tuesday night simple.
  • Nancy had been without internet for hours simple.
  • It was 7 p.m. simple.

My first stop was Office Depot where the Cisco Valet caught my eye. I  remembered seeing all the ads and reading all the great reviews.

The tagline on the box,

Home wireless made easy

and the clean, Mac-like design did me in.

There were two models, the Cisco Valet and the Cisco Valet Plus. No explanation of why one cost $40 more than the other. I was told by the clerk the range was better on the Plus, so I sprang for the $129.99 – $20 trade-in.

What a big, huge, mammoth, super-sized mistake.

I plugged in the key and blammo, hit a wall that had me calling tech support within minutes of cracking the box.

Their first plan of attack REMOVE THE WIRELESS KEY.

Think Raj when you read this:

Yes, Mr. Bixty, I ville assits you vith your vouter. It ville be my pleasure. Please REMOVE THE WIRELESS KEY.

I flipped out! I lost it.

I read the box top to her: “Home wireless made easy with Cisco Connect key.”

I yelled at her. A lot. I cussed. I raved. All the dogs went to their crates. Nancy stayed up past her bedtime as a show of support. (I appreciate that dear.)

Yes, Mr. Bixty, I ville assits you vith your vouter. It ville be my pleasure. Please REMOVE THE WIRELESS KEY.

My desktop and modem are in one room, the router is in the center of the house for better reception around the acreage. The cable is fished through the walls. So I had to do the setup with the laptop with a dead battery sitting on top of the clothes washer near the router installation.

You know the drill: unplug the router, unplug the modem, take out the battery back up in the modem, lose the phone call because we get our phone service through the cable company, get a call on cell phone, put battery back in, plug modem back in, plug router back in. Control panel, click, right click, click, open, OK, close, open browser, put in IP address, shutdown, restart. Walk. Walk. Walk. Talk. Talk. Talk.

Rinse and flippin’ repeat, SIXTY times.

All the while that little wireless key was taunting me. I could hear it saying “neener, neener, neener” with a Bangladeshy accent.

It took over SIXTY minutes to install this idiot-proof, but very expensive router.

Do not buy the Cisco Valet Wireless router.

You hab been varned.

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Do Not Buy The Cisco Valet Router — 5 Comments

  1. Sometimes when we are frustrated with something to begin with we inadvertantly make mistakes.

    Also being a tech support person myself I have to say it does not help when the customer is yelling because that tells me that they are not in the frame of mind of taking direction.

    I got mine a few weeks ago because my step mother who is 70 could not get it to work so she just shipped the whole thing to me.

    We had it up and running smoothly connected to our two towers and one laptop.

    There is reason why tech support had you take out the key first but I wont bore you with the details.

    However I will agree with you that for the average layman the advertisements on the box make it seem like your 4 year niece can hook it up and that is not the case.

    Also the signal will be “lost” after you get it u adn running for some reason even though it will be working the last time you turned on your computer. Then you have to go through the wonderful task of reconfig again so that is about 15 min.

    You got to love technology!

  2. That’s too bad you had problems. I bought a Valet Plus yesterday. Set it up last night. And it was JUST like it promised. On line in 10 minutes or less and haven’t had an issue since. It ‘cured’ my problem with an old “B” router that did not want to communicate with my new laptop apparently. I could not be happier. And setting up the two other computers in the house on the network went just as smooth. I liked NOT having to set up / name my home network and fiddle with entering a password/key just exactly right (the way it was with the old router). This came prepackaged with security already in place with a pre=named home network and a unique password. So far, so good.

  3. @Ted: OK, I officially hate you. That’s exactly the experience I wanted. Maybe they have improved things since I tried. But I gotta say (jinx) that my router is very stable and solid and delivers a strong signal a long way. Have fun!

  4. Cisco Valet Routers are a breeze to setup.

    I purchased the Plus version for myself and loved them so much I got 3 of them for Christmas presents this past year. In fact, I installed this at our family owned radio station and it easily handles small enterprise-class network traffic.

    We were able to get wifi access in parts of the building we previously did not, acceptable receptions over 85 feet away in an old bank building with very thick concrete walls. Also, the MAC Address filtering is easy to work with when securing wifi.

    I could not be happier with this unit! Go Valet Plus!

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