3Com OfficeConnect review

£52
Price when reviewed

3Com’s router is one of three to have a built-in ADSL modem, although only Belkin supplies an ADSL filter, which you require in order to use it. Using Super G, the OfficeConnect is theoretically capable of 108Mb/sec throughput.

But we saw pitiful performance using Super G with 3Com’s matching USB adapter, and had to settle for the 54Mb/sec XR (eXtended Range) setting. Throughput was better but still not great at 18Mb/sec at close range. Plus, it had the slowest long-range throughput at 1Mb/sec.

However, as the name suggests, this is a router aimed at office use, and it has plenty of features that make it well suited for this. Security includes RADIUS authentication, blocking individual PCs and ports, and applying schedules. Firewall alerts can be emailed and checkboxes block Java, ActiveX, cookies and proxy servers. Wireless multimedia extension (WME/WMM) provides QoS, with extensive manual settings in the advanced menu. You can allow access to local servers through port forwarding and trigger incoming ports, both with presets. Plus, there’s a three-year, next-business-day replacement service – not even the Draytek offers this, and at twice the price.

There’s a one-year subscription to a web-filtering service with 41 content categories, and the URL/keyword filter has 30 entries. You can also use a dynamic DNS host to tie a domain name to your dynamic IP address.

Overall, the 3Com offers a good range of features for the money, and a great warranty. Poor performance lets it down, but if this isn’t an issue, it’s a solid business choice.

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