3Com unleashes barrage of small-office network gear

By Jim Duffy, Network World |  Networking

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.

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