New York Times's David Pogue finds Cisco Valet doesn't quite meet an admirable target: Following up on my post a few days ago in which I explained how Cisco managed to get a fair amount of attention for releasing yet another "simple to set up, simple to use" home router, the latest in a long, long series of such efforts by the entire industry, David Pogue weighs in on whether it meets the bill (I haven't tested one). His verdict is that the Valet makes a lot of good efforts in the direction of being as simple as the Flip--team behind Flip is responsible for the Valet's approach--but still puts bars in the way of a friction-free and comprehensible installation.
He also notes that the $100 unit has 2.4 GHz built in, which seems inadequate for an 802.11n router. It's a tricky tradeoff. Simultaneous dual-band devices can be made inexpensively, but perhaps not as cheaply as that yet.
Pogue notes, by the way, that Valet creates cutesy names for your network, like MonkeyTree, TinyFish, PeachLion, or HappyDog. This is a clever move. The master key material used in WPA/WPA2 is derived from a combination of the passphrase a user chooses or that's created for him or and her and the network's SSID or network name. There are precomputed databases of common SSIDs, like default and linksys, and pushing a unique combination of words for SSID does both make your network easier to identify and improve security. (Apple has long appended the last six hexadecimal digits of the base station's BSSID--a MAC address-like identifier--to create a unique network name partly for security reasons.