This week, 3Com Corp. will announce a new wireless access point that brings enterprise-class features to its small-business product line.
The OfficeConnect Wireless 108M-bps 11g POE Access Point supports power over Ethernet, a feature that has appeared on enterprise-level WLAN (wireless LAN) hardware for years but is still uncommon in SOHO (small office/home office) devices.
The technology, however, is a boon to offices of all sizes dealing with a dearth of access point outlets. "Small businesses dont have the money to hire someone to place an outlet in every place that an access point would make sense," said Alan Miano, a product manager at 3Com, in Marlboro, Mass. "This makes it easy for them to deploy a wireless LAN."
The new access point includes security features that best 3Coms previous products. In addition to basic WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), it supports AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and 802.1x. It also supports up to four SSIDs (service set identifiers) and the ability to handle a different security protocol on each SSID so that the network administrator does not have to adjust the WLAN to the lowest common client denominator.
In addition, the access point includes RADIUS client authentication, authorization and accounting, and support for up to four VLANs (virtual LANs). Also provided is an Atheros Communications Inc. radio that can process data at up to 108M bps when working in a proprietary SuperG mode.
The access point comes with a three-year hardware warranty and is available now for $199.
At the same time, 3Com is introducing an adapter card for notebook PCs. The OfficeConnect Wireless 108M-bps 11g XJack PC Card features the companys patented retractable XJack antenna. It costs $79.