3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway review: 3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Solid performance; easy installation; lifetime warranty; built-in mounting bracket; separate on/off switch for wireless interface.

The Bad No external antenna connector.

The Bottom Line With its simple installation and low price, the OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway is among the best Internet-sharing solutions for home or small-business users.

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With the 3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway, you can easily create a wireless network without spending a fortune. It offers plenty of performance for most small offices and includes a built-in firewall to protect against hackers. Plus, 3Com backs the product with an incredible lifetime warranty. With the 3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway, you can easily create a wireless network without spending a fortune. It offers plenty of performance for most small offices and includes a built-in firewall to protect against hackers. Plus, 3Com backs the product with an incredible lifetime warranty.

Easy setup
For $202, the 3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway comes with everything you need to set up a wireless network. In addition to the gateway, the box includes a printed, foldout installation guide; an Ethernet cable; and a CD that contains a comprehensive, 88-page user guide and 3Com's Gateway Discovery application software. With its small footprint and four rubber feet, the gateway fits easily on a small table or shelf. The OfficeConnect also features a sturdy, built-in mounting bracket on the bottom of the chassis, so you can easily hang it from the ceiling or the wall. The back of the device sports two adjustable antenna, an Ethernet cable/DSL port, and four 10/100 LAN ports.

No experience necessary
Like most gateways, the OfficeConnect features a Web-based configuration tool, which you can access through a standard Web browser. However, because this involves messing with your computer's IP settings, 3Com developed a much easier approach. Just insert the included CD, launch the Gateway Discovery application, and follow the onscreen instructions. The program automatically finds the gateway and opens the Web-based configuration screen--a convenient feature for the TCP/IP challenged.

In addition to a setup wizard, the Web-based configuration tool includes some wireless LAN extras. For example, you can view a list of connected devices, a table of your current network settings, or a log of network and security activity. But perhaps the best feature is the check box that lets you disable the wireless network. By switching off the gateway's radio, you eliminate any wireless security threats.

To serve and to protect
In CNET Labs' tests, the OfficeConnect performed well. It delivered 4.8Mbps on its 802.11b interface, on a par with competing devices such as the Belkin wireless cable/DSL gateway router.

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Where to Buy

3Com OfficeConnect wireless cable/DSL gateway

Part Number: 3CRWE51196

MSRP: $177.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Ports Qty 6
  • Data Transfer Rate 100 Mbps
  • Data Link Protocol Ethernet
    Fast Ethernet
    IEEE 802.11b
  • Type none