3Com announced Tuesday new gear aimed at small businesses that allows multiple computers to share a single high-speed connection to the Internet. The OfficeConnect Cable/DSL Gateway, priced at $155, connects to a cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) modem through an Ethernet cable, and can handle up to four Internet connections to single computers or an office LAN (local area network), which is a group of computers in an office or a building connected by a single hub. The box also comes equipped with security capabilities like the ability to defend against by hackers.
About 253 people can share access to the Internet using one Gateway if all four of its ports are connected to a LAN. The Gateway can support an Internet connection of up to 7 mbps (megabits per second), said Robert Winch, a director of product management at 3Com. Winch also said the speed each user experiences also depends partly on the speed of the Internet connection, the number of users on the LAN and its bandwidth requirements at the time.