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Small offices get connected

Subsidiaries of Bay Networks and the Linksys Group aim new offerings at small offices and medium-sized businesses needing Internet access or using multiple heavy-duty applications.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada--Small offices may get a boost from low-end hubs, switches, and Internet access devices announced here at Comdex.

New offerings from subsidiaries of Bay Networks and the Linksys Group are aimed at small offices and medium-sized businesses needing Internet access or using multiple heavy-duty applications.

Bay Networks Netgear subsidiary--created in January of this year--continues to roll out products for the low-end, announcing the EN516 16-port Ethernet hub for the SOHO (small office/home office market). The new hub is available now for $349.

A four-port Fast Ethernet hub with a three-by-six-inch footprint will debut in the first quarter of next year for about $300, according to Patrick Lo, director of Netgear products. An eight-port version will also be introduced for about $500.

Separately, the Linksys Group announced two new EtherFast Fast Ethernet switches due to ship in December. A five-port model could offer a dedicated Fast Ethernet migration path for medium-sized networks. The five-port model includes simple network management protocol-based management software and integrates into SNMP-based networks. The five-port TX switch is priced at $2,999. A two-port TX model for small Fast Ethernet networks is priced at $399, but does not include SNMP-based software.

Bay Networks also introduced a new version of Instant Internet, a combined hardware and software Internet access device that Bay acquired as part of a $12 million deal for Performance Technology completed in March of this year.

Instant Internet addresses the needs of local area networks built on proprietary protocols, such as Novell's IPX, according to Paul Finke, vice president and general manager of Performance Technology.

By simply plugging an Ethernet cable from a hub or switch into the box at one end and plugging a line into a phone jack at the other, the latest version Instant Internet can provide Internet access for up to 20 users. Support for up to 50 concurrent users can be added. Base price for Instant Internet starts at $2,500.

The software includes Internet Protocol (IP) traffic for the LAN, providing firewall capabilities for small businesses as well as user access management and logging and monitoring capabilities.