This is a special guest post from Mr. My Wee View (also known as Daddy. He’s a techy)
It has been a few years since I have setup a new router. I had my old Linksys WRT54G running for years up until recently. I finally made the jump to Wireless N technology by getting a Linksys WRT-300, so far so good.
It looks like a few things have changed at linksys as well. This is the first router I have used since Linksys was purchased by Cisco a few years ago. The first thing I noticed is the huge change in packaging. I have to say that the packaging is quite attractive. Defiantly makes the product feel like something special. I was very impressed with the Cisco Flip packaging and this is along the same line. I also like to see the manual missing, sound strange but I never read the manual. I always lookup the pdf in the website, this goes for just about everything I buy.
I never really had a issue setting up a wireless network before. The only time I did was with my latest Wireless N router. I wanted to save a few bucks and bought an open box. Hey why not, maybe someone just had trouble setting up the router. Turns out the WAN port (Port that connected to your Internet Service Provider) was bad. Returned it with no problem and no issues after buying a brand new one.
Anyway, the setup is very easy now with the “Cisco Easy Setup Key”. You basically run the program on your computer and fill in the info required and your done. Security settings, Parental Control even a cool feature I like called “Guest Access”. Guest Access allows a seperate password for guest on your network. Also, you can set a limit on the number of guests and the access they have to devices on your home network. With Parent control features you can block specific websites from being accessed at all. Also you can set the time a specific computer can access the network. For example, say your daughter has a laptop and is only allowed to use the laptop after dinner. You can restrict the laptop’s access to from 5-9pm on weeknights and your PC has full access all the time.
The ports on the router are labled and are easy to figure out what goes where. The webinterface can always be improved. I was able to login and change a few things no problem.
The preformance of the router is as expected. The wireless signal is very strong and the transfer speed over wireless is compariable to the current wireless N router I have. Where I see the huge improvement is the 4 Gigabit ports on the router itself. I currently have a gigabit switch for my network because my WRT-300 could not keep up with my HD video streaming to my PS3. But now I can almost get rid of my switch. One port short.
Overall, The Cisco Valet Plus M20 is a very good product for first time user who wants to setup a wireless network and not miss a step. Everything is covered in the wizard that you would need. If you want something more customizable you might want to look into the Linksys E Series.
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Giveaway closes May 27th @ 11:59 pm PST. Open to Canada & US