Small-business customers that need enterprise-level features but cant afford enterprise-level prices have new options from 3Com Corp.
Rolling out through the fall, the products include a travel access router, a wireless print server, a high-speed PC Card adapter and two access points.
"The way we position ourselves is to deliver enterprise-class products to SMBs [small and midsize businesses]," said Neil Kaufman, senior director of the small-business product line at 3Com.
The OfficeConnect Wireless 54Mbps 11g Secure Travel Router, which is roughly the size of a PDA, is designed for business travelers who want to wirelessly access an Ethernet connection in a hotel or conference room.
The router supports as many as 16 users with both WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and the more secure WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) protocol. It includes a firewall. Users said such security is key, especially in a hotel.
"When you browse available wireless networks in a hotel room, you find about 50," said Aaron Rosenbaum, principal at Ambleside Logic, a residential systems integrator in Burlingame, Calif. Rosenbaum tested the router earlier this month. "I wouldnt have felt comfortable using a travel router unless it had a decent firewall in it," he said.
The router is available now for $90.
The OfficeConnect Wireless 11g Print Server connects a printer to an 802.11g WLAN (wireless LAN) via a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. The device also supports WPA, besting previous models, which supported only WEP. Available now, it costs $120.
3Com is also launching an 802.11g PC Card with 3Coms patented xJack retractable antenna. The card supports Atheros Communications Inc.s 108M-bps Turbo Mode and 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). 3Coms new 802.11g USB adapter with a swiveling, hinged antenna costs $74, compared with the current fixed-antenna model, which costs about $59.
In November, 3Com will launch one access point for 802.11g networks and one that supports 802.11a and 802.11g concurrently. The pair will add POE (power over Ethernet) and AES support, as well as removable antennas.
3Com, of Marlboro, Mass., will lower the price of its current 802.11a and 802.11g access points when the new ones come out, officials said. But this doesnt mean the older products will be phased out. 3Com has customers that are most interested in cost savings— namely, service providers that supply hardware packages to home users, officials said.
Meanwhile, Cisco Systems Inc. is unveiling a program aimed at migrating customers from its entry-level Linksys line to its higher-end enterprise products. Through a rebate directly to the user, the Linksys-to-Cisco Trade-up Program pays up to 100 percent cash back for Linksys products when customers upgrade, said Cisco officials in San Jose, Calif. The program includes trading in Linksys line of consumer-level access points for Ciscos popular line of Aironet 1100 and 1200 access points.