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Linksys Releases New NAS Device

Looking to expand hard drive storage capacity for home and office networks, wireless network specialist Linksys made its new storage device available to the public Monday.

The EtherFast Instant GigaDrive (EFG80) is a network-attached storage (NAS) device that makes possible file and printer sharing for small office/home office (SOHO) network users. Out of the box, the "plug-and-play" appliance offers users 80 billion bytes (GB) of IDE hard drive storage space, but additional storage capacity can reach a maximum of 240 GB by adding a 120 GB hard drive to the first and second hard drive bays.

The Instant GigaDrive also supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), an architecture for pervasive peer-to-peer network connectivity of PCs of all form factors, intelligent appliances, and wireless devices.

The device runs on the Linux operating system and includes a 10/100 Mbps port that adjusts to network speed on the fly. It can also connect to wireless network devices or be put in areas where there is no Ethernet connection by using the Linksys Instant Wireless Ethernet Bridge (WET11).

The EFG80's operating system lives separately on 16MB of flash memory, making the device accessible should a hard drive failure occur or if a drive needs to be changed. The device also allows back up from first to second drive and can be configured to be password protected.

In the tradition of storage drives, the EtherFast Instant GigaDrive allows users to: share files while preserving space on the PC hard drive as well as relieve file sharing off the file server; retrieve files remotely through a Web browser; upload and download large files easily via FTP Internet protocol; access printer remotely via Internet printing protocol (IPP) support; automatically assign IP addresses to separate workstations via a stand-alone dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) server; and back up data from one hard drive bay to the other.

The EFG80 is the latest device to join the thick and chunky soup of NAS devices from the likes of major vendors Network Appliance and IBM , as well as smaller manufacturers such as Maxtor and Iomega. Linksys' delivery of the new drive comes days after IDC posted low results for the disk storage system market, although the research firm acknowledged the call for NAS products remains strong.

The EtherFast Instant GigaDrive is currently available for an estimated price of $549 through resellers, e-commerce and catalogs.