3Com Unveils New Wireless Products


3Com Thursday rounded out its wireless LAN line with the introduction of two new access points: one aimed at the SMB market, and the other targeted to enterprise customers.

The new 802.11b-based WLAN access points, unveiled at the networking hardware vendor's partner conference here, address both the low end and high end of the market, said Gilles Ganault, wireless product manager at 3Com.

The company's AP 8000 incorporates the security and centralized management features enterprise customers are asking for, Ganault said. The AP 8000 supports 40-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), 128-bit shared key and 128-bit dynamic security link encryption. The access point also is 802.1x compliant for the various flavors of Windows and supports RADIUS authentication, Ganault said.

The 802.11b-based AP 2000 is targeted at cost-sensitive customers that aren't looking for the enhanced security features of the AP 8000, Ganault said.

The AP 2000 supports 40-bit WEP and 128-bit shared key encryption, he said.

Steve Marks, president of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Starnet Data Design, said the AP 8000 is the kind of solution he's looking for. "Our interest is in solutions where we can provide value-add," he said. "The lower-end wireless products don't leave much room for that."

Tim McNicoll, systems consultant at Heartland Business Systems, Little Chute, Wisc., said the security features in the AP 8000 will help sell enterprise customers on WLAN technology. "The market is demanding the security features," he said. "The enterprise accounts won't roll out with wireless until the security is there."

At Network Cabling and Technologies, "security is the biggest concern among our clients" when it comes to wireless LAN deployments, said Chris Hobbs, vice president of sales and marketing at the Memphis-based solution provider. With the built-in security features, the AP 8000 is "more in line with what our customers want," Hobbs said.

List priced at $229, the AP 2000 is slated to be available at the end of January.

The AP 8000, scheduled to be available in mid-February, lists for $899.

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