Here is a reason good office supplies come in small packages -- desk space in any business is at a premium. As a company grows in size, it requires tools that can handle big jobs, without leaving a large footprint. So whether it's uninterruptible power supplies, networking stations, firewalls, or storage devices, we rounded up some hardware that will fit both modest budgets and compact floor plans. Below are a few of our favorites:
Compact Power Protection
Uninterruptible power supplies are important to protect a business in case of catastrophe, but they're also bulky and unwieldy. The Pulsar Ellipse line from MGE UPS Systems offers backup power for PCs and small servers. The units can keep PCs going for an additional 10 to 60 minutes, and are up to 50 percent smaller than standard UPS devices. They range in power rating from 300VA to 1200VA, and support Windows 95, 98, Windows NT, Red Hat Linux, and Novell NetWare. The USB-equipped Pulsar Ellipse features seamless integration with Windows 2000, and all units include a 360-degree flat rotating plug for those cluttered areas.
Networking to a conference room can be troublesome. Xircom's NetStation makes it easier to connect to a network with its four- or eight-port hub device. Complete with retractable Ethernet cables, the stylish NetStation keeps conference rooms clutter-free. "Daisy chain" up to three NetStations for connecting 24 users with auto-negotiation of 10 or 100 Mbps Ethernet withtwo LEDs per port.
Xircom Inc.; 805-376-9300; www.xircom.com/netstation; NetStation 8100 (8-port), $800;NetStation 4100 (4-port), $500
Stick It Here
The Thumbdrive USB, a portable digital storage device from Ei Corp, is literally the size of a stick of gum, and comes in storage sizes from 16MB up to 128MB. The drive, designed to work in most USB-equipped PCs, requires no additional software or wires. It works with virtually any application and supports Windows 98 and 98SE. Just plug the device into the USB port.
Ei Corp.; 408-956-7950; www.Eiware.com; $70
Privacy In a Box
Those who rely on ADSL appreciate an Internet router with pre-installed VPN/firewall security software. The WebRamp 610i features a high-speed 133 MIPs RISC processor and Check Point's Firewall-1 Small Office. The firewall features extensive logging, alerts, and access controls and uses Network Address Translation (NAT) to protect interior network addresses. The 610i is equipped with an external serial port for ISDN or analog modem backup and a 4-port 10/100 Ethernet hub.
Ramp Networks Inc.; 888-726-7638; www.rampnet.com; $1,100