Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) Releases New Routers Targeting Amateurs and Pros

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) announced it will be releasing two new wireless router lines which will target the more casual user and the expert with the different products.

Named the Valet and E-Series, the Valet will be offered to users at home who want simplicity and ease of use, while the E-Series will be sold to the technology experts interest in things like simultaneous dual-band technology and an UPnP AV Media Server built in to the router.

For the Valet line, the user just takes what's called an Easy Setup Key and insert it into the USB port of their computer. At that point the software to connect is automatically activated and in just three quick steps they have gone wireless.

Another nice feature is the Easy Setup Key can then be used on any other computers in your home to include them in the wireless network. Nice.

This may not sound too revolutionary, but for us that have been wireless for years, we may not appreciate it from a business standpoint for Cisco, as only about 33 percent of all homes in the U.S. are using a wireless connection, which means a huge market is out there for those who can make it really easy for users to set it up and participate.

That also means on a global basis the opportunities are enormous, because if the U.S. only has 33 percent connected, most other countries will be less than that, showing the potential for revenue and profits in the sector. Prices in the beginning for the Valet are set at $99 and $149. The higher priced one is called the Plus model.

The E-Series from Cisco was developed with the power-user in mind, and includes higher transfer speeds, up to 300 Mbps and four Fast Ethernet ports (10/100 Mbps). That model will sell for $79.99. The specs here refer to the E1000 Wireless-N router.

For the E2000 Advanced Wireless-N router, that will include four Gigabit Ethernet ports (10/100/1000 Mbps), which is for the purpose of sharing files at a higher speed. There is also dual-band technology (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) which you have the option to choose with. This lowers the chance of interference with your network.

While there are more in the E-Series offered by Cisco, there is one more I want to mention, and that's the Linux-based E2100L, which includes a UPnP AV Media Server built into it, and that offers a quality streaming experience for entertainment content you want to watch on a gaming system or other device compatible with it. This also has  four Fast Ethernet ports (10/100 Mbps).

Cisco said you can acquire either the Valet or E-Series line at this time through, Amazon or Staples. Other major retail outlets will offer the wireless routers in the near future.
What is interesting about all of this to me is the way Cisco is rolling it all out at once. Because they are targeting two different market, this could work pretty well for them, as it shouldn't cause confusion for the casual users, who are more apt to be confused by too much information and options, which can keep them from making buying decisions.

For the more expert users, they pretty much understand all of this stuff anyhow, and giving them options isn't confusing, and by throwing out a variety of E-Series routers, Cisco can get some quick feedback on what sells and what doesn't, and can then narrow the options down once they evaluate the data.

This could give Cisco a nice revenue push, especially with the Valet series, which targets a much larger market which may be ready for the wireless experience. It seems they've done the design and ease-of-use right, and that should result in solid sales.

Article by Gary B

The views expressed are the subjective opinion of the article's author and not of

Tags: cisco , e-series , valet series , wireless routers

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