Product review: 3Com 56K modem offers simple configuration

With today's workforce constantly on the move, from corporate office to branch office to home office, IT managers feel more pressure than ever to maximise their mobile investments and keep their users connected. 3Com's Megahertz 56K Global GSM & Cellular Modem PC Card and Mobile Configuration Manager provide a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution. This small modem and accompanying software will ease the network and remote configuration processes for IT managers and end-users.

3Com is targeting organisations of all sizes with its latest mobile-computing tool. Xircom and Psion Dacom are close competitors in this market, but unlike this 3Com modem, none of their products currently support both cellular and global features.

The Megahertz 56K Global GSM & Cellular Modem comes with the Mobile Configuration Manager, a 3Com DynamicAccess Technology that lets you enter all the settings for a network or remote connection -- and you only have to do it once for each connection.

You can use the Mobile Configuration Manager to generate LAN and remote settings for your users. Then you can either store the configuration files in a network directory for users to access or e-mail users LAN or remote configurations. The Mobile Configuration Manager was easy to use, and I was able to set up my network and remote configuration settings fairly quickly.

To activate a LAN or remote connection, I just had to be hooked up to my network or phone line and select the appropriate configuration name in the Mobile Configuration Manager. I liked that the modem card lit up when I made a connection, giving me a visual confirmation of my connection status.

Other features include cellular, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), and Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) phone support; WorldPort software, which lets employees use the modem worldwide; and several telephony features, including speakerphone and fax software.

3Com's Megahertz 56K Global GSM & Cellular Modem is a perfect solution for maximising your mobile workforce's productivity. It will save you time and effort, eliminating the need for you and your staff to help individual users configure their systems.

(Senior Analyst Ana Orubeondo can be reached at ana_orubeondo@infoworld.com.)The bottom line: excellentMegahertz 56K Global GSM & Cellular ModemSummary: This LAN and modem PC Card is well-suited for any mobile workforce, getting administrators and users connected to a remote location or LAN quickly. Its Mobile Configuration Manager software simplifies mobile connectivity.

Business Case: 3Com's Megahertz 56K Global GSM & Cellular Modem PC Card is a cost-effective solution. Network administrators will save time and money by setting up each network or remote configuration connection only once.

Pros

+ Lowers total cost of ownership and support+ Simplifies the configuration process for mobile end-users+ Provides speakerphone, Caller ID and phone-answering features+ Data, fax and voice software includedCons- None significantPlatforms: Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0

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