LEADING United States router specialist Cisco Systems has released the first personal computer-based router. The card was in a range of five products unveiled for the small branch office and remote PC local area network market. The products - all cheaper than US$1,000 - were made as extensions to the entry-level 2500 router series, said Jeffrey Paine, Cisco's director of corporate marketing. It was Cisco's intention to extend the usefulness of the network to individual users, he said. The Access Pro Server card fitted into a PC chassis, and 'offers the full multiprotocol functionality of a standalone router', Mr Paine said. The card effectively made the PC a router, he said, and as it had its own chip, the card did not affect normal server applications. Mr Paine said because most companies were run on PCs, the PC card would be well received. The plug-and-play nature of the device meant there was less to do for the remote user. William Messer, Cisco's managing director of Asian operations, said: 'The Access Pro Server will open up routing technology to a whole new level of users. 'These are the companies that, previously, had not considered using routers, because they perceived them as being too complicated, too expensive and requiring a vast amount of technical expertise.' The card includes ethernet and token ring ports, with one synchronous serial port and one asynchronous port. An ISDN Basic Rate interface may be added later. Mr Paine said that among Cisco's new products was the 2500 Router/Hub, which was to compete against Bay Network's much talked about Access Node Router Hub. The combination router-hub was designed to be used in small offices - it is small, compact and easy to use. Mr Messer said: 'Customers need only install, configure and manage one box, without worrying about externally cabling two devices together.' The four other releases are all in the 2500 Access Server range. These let mobile users gain high-speed dial up access to corporate networks.