Wireless Storage Ahoy?
Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), has developed the Network Storage Link (NSLU2), an 802.11 bridge that connects to the Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive via a USB port, and then -- via a router -- to the home network.
Essentially, the two devices can act as a simple network-attached storage system for both wired and wireless networks.
As far as Unstrung can discern, no enterprise wireless LAN vendors are working on a similar product for the corporate world yet. But some certainly see the concept as "cool" and usable in the business world.
"[It] might be tricky with gigabyte media files, but basic business usage should be fine with 802.11a and g" says Alan Cohen, VP of marketing at Airespace Inc. in an email reply to questions.
Craig Mathias, principal analyst at the Farpoint Group, has -- it turns out -- already built himself a home wireless storage system similar to the Linksys/Maxtor product [ed. note: someone's got too much time on his hands!].
Mathias agrees that such wireless systems won't be used with "larger data volumes" but can envisage them being used in smaller business.
Cohen points out that Airespace's favored method of communication between its wireless LAN switch and access point (AP), the Lightweight Access Point Protcol (LWAPP), could be used in an enterprise implementation of a wireless storage system.
"You would want a secure way to set up the connection between the wireless client or AP and the storage device," writes Cohen.
"You could use... certificates to make sure all the traffic is encrypted and a LWAPP-paradigm for connecting the storage device to the network, automatically... Then it can follow to the chosen authentication and encryption routine."
Cisco, Linksys's parent company, could be seen as obvious candidate to take this technology into the business world. But the company couldn't find anyone who could talk about the issue by press time. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung