3Com Unveils Secure Travel Router

By Eric Griffith

September 20, 2004

The company's inexpensive pocket-sized access point for the road includes WPA and a stateful firewall; it also has a new print server and new low-cost network adapters.

3Com of Marlborough, Mass., today announced a quartet of new products for different areas of the Wi-Fi market.

For business travelers, the company is shipping the OfficeConnect Wireless 54Mbps 11g Travel Router, which will sell for $89.99. Similar to other "pocket" APs out from D-Link and Apple, 3Com's Neal Kaufman, a senior director of 3Com's small-to-medium-business (SMB) product line, says this unit is probably the most secure available.

"We decided not to release it until it had full, rich stateful packet inspection available," says Kaufman. The product also sports a NAT firewall for protection against unwanted inbound traffic. For wireless security, it supports Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). They company is working toward full support for WPA2/802.11i, which would mean adding AES encryption.

The Travel Router will do just about everything any home wireless router can do, but has a more limited number of Ethernet ports. It doesn't support dialup—there's no internal modem like the recently announced WiFlyer product. When asked about support for dialup users, Kaufman says, "there's always a niche market for things like dialup, but it's not big enough for us to go after."

Other products announced today include a $120 OfficeConnect Wireless 54Mbps 11g Print Server; a new high-speed card for laptops, the OfficeConnect Wireless 108Mbps 11g XJACK PC Card ($79), which has the patented retractable XJACK antenna so the card is only in use when the antenna is extended; and a $59 OfficeConnect Wireless 54Mbps 11g Compact USB Adapter that comes in the thumb-drive form factor. All of these products support WPA for security.



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