Geekery: the Cisco Valet
If you’re like me, you have a line. A technical line in the sand. Up to that line, you can talk geek with the best of them, but when you cross that line, you are at sea, and you are terrified.Â My line in the sand is hardware. So getting a new wireless router worried me, because I wanted to make sure I got one that was good and useful and powerful and secure, but not over-the-top expensive. I got to try aÂ Cisco Valet wireless router, and in case you have a similar line in the sand,Â here’s what I have to tell you.
In short: I love it. It was exactly what I needed. It works great, the support behind is second to none, and I’m completely pleased.
In long (is that a phrase? shouldn’t it be?): here’s why.
- Technical glitches are minor. Customer service is major. The Valet comes with an Easy Setup Key – a USB drive which, when you plug it in, is supposed to walk you through the process seamlessly and with a minimum of input from you. I have no doubt that it’s normally a great success, but for some reason, my kit kept hanging up. A little frustrating, but I called their customer service, and they were so nice and apologetic and efficient and helpful as they walked me through the process themselves that it was literally a pleasure to have had to call them. How often can you say that about customer service? Nicely done, Cisco.
- Good looks take you far. This little guy is not one of those big chunky black boxes with rabbit ears. It’s cute and blue-and-white and sleek. It sits in my glass-fronted TV stand, and I don’t even mind that you can see it.
- Security is awesome. It was super easy to set up a secured network, and since my AirPort is catching eleven different networks right now at home, it was really important that mine was locked down properly.
- Wireless is a gift from the heavens. That may seem obvious – wireless is everywhere these days – but it’s the kind of gift you only appreciate when you don’t have it. I’m typing this in my library. I was working on my deck the other day. I cook with recipes off the internet with my laptop on the counter. I’ve done Skype tours of my house. I’m used to it now too, but it’s still pretty awesome.
- Strength is sexy. And I have to say, that signal strength is totally hot. Mrowr.
- Resiliency is important. I’ve had cable and power go out repeatedly since I started using it, and my little Valet bounces right back.
- Extras are fun – when they don’t get in the way. It offers me visitors’ guest passes, parental controls, and a lot of management that I don’t need – but it doesn’t do that in such a way that makes it difficult to just do what I want to.
If you’re going to get a Valet… well, get one that irons your clothes and lays them out in the morning. But if you can’t get one of those, get one of these.