3Com recently unveiled high and low-end wireless access points for 802.11b networks.
The low-end products are designed to let users quickly set up small and very inexpensive 11Mbps wireless LANs. At the high end, 3Com has added a range of security and management features for enterprise deployments.
Both products include an HTTP server and feature a Web browser-based administration interface. Once the device is plugged into a wall outlet the built-in Ethernet LAN software automatically finds and selects the least crowded of the three 802.11b channels available to it, within a maximum range of 328 feet (100 metres).
The company says the device will support up to 128 wireless users. The high-end AP 8000 includes several long-range antenna options to extend the device's range to 1000 feet (305 metres) and a program called Site Survey Utility that figures out how many access points are needed and where.
Many security and encryption schemes are incorporated in the device, including the basic 40-bit wireless encryption protocol encryption and 128-bit shared key encryption; and the Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service protocol, which works with a central authentication server.
The AP 2000 has a list price of $US230, and the AP 8000 is priced at $600. Both are available now.