HeadToHead: 3Com Office Connect vs. NETGEAR Wireless 54Mbps Travel Routers

Wrap Up and Conclusions

3Com OfficeConnect Wireless 54Mbps 11g Travel Router

NETGEAR 54 Mbps Cable/DSL Wireless Travel Router

I'm frankly surprised at the gusto with which name-brand networking companies like 3Com and NETGEAR and others (except for Linksys) have jumped into the mini wireless router game. I wouldn't have thought that there would be that much demand, but according to a recent poll we ran, about 40% of respondents were positive about buying one.

The 3Com / NETGEAR twins get points for their easy captive-portal setup, ability to support multiple wireless clients behind their NAT routing firewalls and WPA-PSK and MAC address filtering for wireless security. And 3Com gets additional points for including a Client mode and enhanced router configurability.

But the poor range performance of both products could prove disappointing to buyers expecting to connect anywhere other than in their own room, especially since neither 3Com nor NETGEAR advertises that these products have intentionally-limited range. If you can live with this limitation, however, either product should serve you well, with the advantage going to 3Com for its more extensive routing feature set and ability to be used as an Ethernet-based wireless client.