By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
FREMONT, CALIF. -Celestix Networks will begin shipping this month its new, fully integrated network server appliance for the home, which is called the Aries and will carry a sub-$1,000 suggested retail price.
The Ariesisa wireless LAN solution, Linux-based microserver that supports the IEEE 802.11b wireless standard. It comes in two configurations: a 10GB with 64MB of RAM unit that will have a suggested retail price of $999, and a 20GB with 128MB of RAM unit that will carry a $1,299 suggested retail.
Sales and marketing VP Umar Hameed said the Aries is being targeted to the SOHO and home user-a market segment not usually associated with server technology.
"We think that next year this will be a $2 billion market, and [the market research firm] IDC puts that figure even higher," said Hameed. This growth, he added, will be "due to the explosion of broadband access into the home, and because of the increasing use of MP3 and digital imaging."
Hameed said that among the applications for the Aries, "people can use the server to publish their own websites without using a third party, back up personal files, and store content that can be shared throughout the home."
The server, in both configurations, will initially retail through Fry's Electronics and Micro Center, along with several office superstores.
Hameed noted that Celestix is also targeting residential broadband installation companies, such as California-based Digital Ready, to offer the server as an add-on product. "We see this as another revenue stream for them," he said. "They do 500-plus installations a week, and when they enter a home they explain that this product" enhances the broadband Internet experience.
To facilitate consumer adoption, Celestix created a CD that walks users through the server setup via a Flash presentation, and it offers an 800 number to provide troubleshooting.
Enabling wireless networking (802.11b) is accomplished by plugging an optional PCMCIA card into the server. The Aries will make all network resources available to its wireless clients.
Weighing just under 2.2 pounds, the Aries features a menu-driven LCD user interface and configuration buttons. It is compatible with all PC operating systems, including Windows for Workgroup, Windows 95/98/ME/2000 and Windows NT. It is also compatible with Apple MacOS, Linux and Unix.
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