Summary

Our Score

3/10

Review Price free/subscription

3Com OfficeConnect ADSL Wireless 108Mbps 11g Firewall Router - 3Com OfficeConnect ADSL Wireless 108Mbps 11g Firewall Router

During testing we found it worked well with the filter blocking the majority of sites that fitted into categories we had set to deny. Each request is relayed to the selected web site for checking and we found there was virtually no hit on general browsing performance. No custom warnings can be sent to users as their browser will simply display the standard message that a web site cannot be found. You do get URL blocking as standard but this requires a list of up to thirty URLs or keywords to be manually created. However, you can also create policies that block or allow Internet access for LAN systems during scheduled time periods on selected days.

We ran wireless speed tests using 3Com’s neat little XJack 108Mbps PC Card which has a pop-out aerial allowing it to be pushed safely inside the card body when not in use. With it installed in a 1.6GHz Fujitsu Siemens notebook running Windows XP SP2 we saw Iometer report an average raw read throughput of 42Mbps over a line of sight unsecured link with a Pentium D PC on the LAN. With WPA-PSK encryption in the mix speed dropped down to 38.4Mbps.
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This 3Com package does offer a lot of valuable security features in a compact unit but it was really annoying to find that virtually any modifications to the router required a reboot and this even includes any changes to the content filter categories. Of more concern was the fact the base of the router got quite toasty during testing and occasionally the alert LED would come on showing that the system had failed and required a complete power down and restart.


Verdict

At first glance this looks a good value communications package but the numerous problems we experienced leave us with no option but to recommend avoiding it. The setup routine is fundamentally flawed, all modifications no matter how small all require a reboot and the review unit suffered from a number of system failures during testing.

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