Because the software runs in the router, it also protects devices such as Internet-enabled game consoles and handheld Wi-Fi devices such as iPhones.
The parental control features provide for full access for adult members of the household, with with progressively greater restrictions intended for 16-17 year olds, 13-15s, and under 13s.
Online access can be limited to particular times for each user, and there's also provision for custom content restrictions.
Having these functions handled by the router makes for easier ongoing management compared with security software that runs on individual PCs.
It also reduces the processing load on those computers - comprehensive security suites have a noticeable effect on the performance of older PCs.
Which routers can run Home Network Defender, and how much does it cost? See page 2.
It's also possible that technologically astute offspring will find it harder to work around this router-based approach to parental controls, providing Mum or Dad sets an effective password.
The downside is that if any of the PCs - notably laptops - connect to the Internet outside the home, a full security suite may still be advisable.
The Cisco package also includes four licences for Trend Micro's PC-based antivirus and antispyware software. This makes a lot of sense, as such malware can be introduced on removable media as well as via the network.
Home Network Defender is currently available for the Linksys by Cisco Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router (WRT610N) and Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WRT310N). A firmware update and the latest version of the EasyLink Advisor software are required.
The Wireless-N Broadband Router (WRT160N) will soon be added to the list.
A 30-day free trial is offered; after that, a subscription costs $US59.99 per year with an introductory special of $US49.99.