3Com unleashes barrage of small-office network gear


SANTA CLARA, CALIF. -- 3Com has broadened its portfolio of small-office products with 12 new or enhanced offerings designed to make network installation as easy as plugging in a toaster.

3Com has also entered into strategic relationships with Hewlett-Packard and other companies to make it easier for small-business customers to implement its net products.

The new and enhanced 3Com OfficeConnect products have been redesigned with an ergonomic and contemporary look, and a stacking system designed to simplify deployment.

"There is strong, pent-up demand for easy-to-use network/electronic commerce products for small businesses," says Jeremy Duke, president of Synergy Research Group in Phoenix. "The industry has a long way to go to have utility-like connectivity. The rate of technical change is so rapid that complexity will be part of the package for a long time."

The enhanced OfficeConnect products include:

OfficeConnect Fast Ethernet Networking Kit, which includes two 10/100 network interface cards (NIC), a four-port hub, cables and software.

OfficeConnect Network Assistant CD-ROM Version 2, which guides users step by step through the process of setting up and operating an integrated small-business network, including Internet connectivity, network printing and enhanced trouble-shooting.

OfficeConnect Fast Ethernet PCI NIC.

OfficeConnect 10/100 LAN PC Card for laptop users.

OfficeConnect Remote 840 SDSL Router, which is an IP/IPX router with an integrated four-port Ethernet hub that offers symmetrical digital subscriber line (SDSL) access to the corporate network or Internet.

OfficeConnect Dual-Mode Cable Modem, which allows Internet connectivity over two-way and traditional one-way cable television networks.

OfficeConnect 56K LAN Modem, which combines a four-port Ethernet hub, modem and router to enable multiple users to share a single 56K bit/sec Internet connection. It now includes fax capabilities and dial-in access for remote access applications.

OfficeConnect ISDN LAN Modem, which combines a four-port Ethernet hub, modem and router, letting multiple users share a single ISDN Internet connection. It now features dial-in access for remote access applications.

OfficeConnect 56K Business Modem, which features USB and RS232 connection options and is compatible with PC and Apple Macintosh computer systems.

OfficeConnect Internet Firewall 25, which is designed to protect the LAN from unauthorized access and prevents denial-of-service attacks from the Internet. It has two Ethernet ports and supports up to 25 LAN users.

OfficeConnect Internet Firewall DMZ, which offers the same features as the Internet Firewall 25 but supports up to 100 LAN users and has an additional Ethernet DMZ port. This allows public Web or FTP servers on the LAN to be accessed from the Internet without exposing the network to attack.

OfficeConnect Web Site Filter for Internet Firewalls, which can be used with either of the OfficeConnect Internet Firewalls to extend their functionality. It can control access to thousands of Web sites deemed inappropriate for business use.

In addition to the product redesign and the new stacking systems, 3Com has added color-coded packaging to the OfficeConnect products to help people easily identify them. All OfficeConnect WAN products, including the OfficeConnect LAN Modem, are coded in red; LAN products, including OfficeConnect hubs, switches, NICs and PC cards, are coded in blue; and print servers and firewalls are coded in green.

To simplify the purchase and installation of these products, 3Com has teamed with mail-order PC giants Micron Electronics and Gateway, in addition to HP. Micron offers small-business customers a preconfigured and tested network product that includes 3Com's OfficeConnect 56K LAN Modem and OfficeConnect Dual Speed Hub 8.

Gateway Computers is offering 3Com's OfficeConnect Dual Speed Hub 8 and OfficeConnect Dual Speed Hub 16 through its direct, online, storefront, partner and reseller channels. HP is offering its HP JetDirect 170X and 300X Office-Connect Print Servers with the OfficeConnect products.

The Network Assistant CD-ROM costs $49. The list price for 3Com's OfficeConnect Fast Ethernet Networking Kit is $215.

The OfficeConnect Fast Ethernet Network Interface Card costs $75. The 10/100 LAN PC Card costs $99. The OfficeConnect Remote 840 SDSL Router costs $595.

The OfficeConnect Internet Firewall 25 costs $695. The OfficeConnect Internet Firewall DMZ is $1,495. The OfficeConnect Web Site Filter is $195 for a 12-month subscription.

The OfficeConnect 56K LAN Modem costs $349 and the OfficeConnect ISDN LAN Modem costs $499. The 56K Business Modem costs $239.

This story, "3Com unleashes barrage of small-office network gear" was originally published by Network World.

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