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3Com plans low-end net gear

The company on Monday will debut new easy-to-use networking gear for small businesses.

3Com (COMS) is one of many vendors that continues to saturate the low-end networking hardware market with simple, easy-to-use boxes for small businesses.

The latest salvo in this price sensitive space will come Monday when 3Com will announce a new remote access server, new wide area network (WAN) routers, and a new shared hub.

Elements of the announcement include:

  • The OfficeConnect Remote Access Server 1000, a two-PC card slot box that includes support for analog as well as ISDN dial communications. The easy-to-use model, which is shipping now for $1,195, is intended for small offices that need to offer remote access to their employees, but may not have personnel on staff to handle installation of a remote access server.

  • A new NetBuilder router, available immediately with prices starting at $895, which offers the opportunity for enterprises to extend their network out to smaller sites. The new router includes an Ethernet and WAN port that supports popular network links like TI lines.

  • A new OfficeConnect unmanaged 16-port Ethernet hub that extends the product line from its current four-port and eight-port models and, like the new remote access server, offers small offices a quick setup for office connectivity. The product is shipping now and is priced at $255, which is in line with similar unmanaged hubs on the market.

    Some 3Com users may be a bit perplexed at the state of the company's remote access strategy due to the upcoming merger with U.S. Robotics, but 3Com officials have made it clear that, at least in the low end, little will change.

    "I really don't think there is any great reason for confusion here," said Chandy Nilakantan, general manager of 3Com's enterprise access division. "Clearly, U.S. Robotics is targeted at the enterprise-Internet service provider space."