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Wireless NAS Seeks a Niche

More wireless NAS servers are showing up, but where are the customers?

Tritton Technologies this week launched WiFi NAS servers (see Tritton Cuts NAS Chord). Last month, Iomega Corp. (NYSE: IOM) began shipping its 100d wireless NAS servers and Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) Linksys enhanced its wireless NAS family. In August, Palmchip Semiconductor was born with the intention of creating chips for wireless NAS and other storage devices (see Palmchip Targets Wireless NAS).

The file server products are similar: they include up to 250GB of storage with built-in wireless access that cost in the $500 to $600 range. Nothing complicated. But it's worth asking: Is this an emerging technology worth watching, or a trend looking for a market?

The product people at Procom Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: PRCME) weren't sure what their market would be when they launched their Taurus wireless NAS in July of 2003 (see Procom Tunes in WiFi Appliance and Procom Drags Its NAS to Europe). "A lot of people here didn't know where it was going to stick," Procom VP of engineering Bill Long says. Privately they may have wondered if Taurus was a lot of bull.

Long says Procom has found two primary markets for wireless NAS. And although most vendors pitch them as consumer and SOHO products, Procom didn't get much response in either of those markets.

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