AEP Systems has released a Secure Sockets Layer remote access appliance for small business offices.Called A-Gate AG-60, the device supports 50 remote-user sessions at a time connecting to the device from Internet-connected PCs. Its former smallest appliance AG-600 supports up to 400 users at once.The new AG-60 costs $7,000, which sounds like a lot for a business that might get by using a less expensive IPSec VPN appliance that supports the same number of users. But if the flexibility of supporting access from any machine with a Web browser is important - no client software necessary - then this could be attractive.The price undercuts what other SSL vendors charge for a box of similar capacity, and that has been one of AEP's main selling points from the outset. Beyond savings on the initial outlay, AEP says customers save long-term because there are no additional license fees or separate consulting fees.This may sound like something that is convenient for AEP to say, but SSL remote access customers who respond to this newsletter say over and over that they are confused by pricing and sometimes surprised at how much the ultimate bottom line was for these appliances. The sales pitches detail many features that, it turns out, aren't part of the base price.It is a good idea as you are discussing these products with the salesperson to keep a running track of how much each feature costs, if it is not included in a package. This can help avoid sticker shock later on, and is good practice with all vendors, including AEP.The new AEP appliance is available now.