Buffalo Technology Updates Networking Lineup at CESby Ganesh T S on January 11, 2014 4:45 PM EST
Buffalo Technology was one of the first companies to come out with a 802.11ac router. Their LinkStation and TerraStation lineup of NAS units is also well regarded. We dropped by their CES suite to check out their latest offerings.
While most of the products were the standard upgrades (for example, the AirStation Extreme AC 1900 WXR1900DHP is the 3x3 802.11ac solution combined with a N600 solution that every other router manufacturer has added to their lineup and the travel router, WMR 433, is a 802.11ac variant), two products caught my eye. The first was the MiniStation Air HDD, a wireless portable hard drive with a USB 3.0 interface. The unit provides up to 1 TB of storage space for mobile devices while sporting a battery capable of 10 hours of operation on a single charge. The product is very similar to the Seagate Wireless Plus that was introduced last year. The differentiation provided by the Buffalo unit is the fact that there is a dedicated port to charge up a mobile device using the internal battery (i.e, the unit can act as a power bank too).
Buffalo also had their NAS lineup on display. The important announcement in that area was the tie-up with Axis for a NVR device. Based on a 2-bay Marvell SoC sporting NAS, the unit takes advantage of the AXIS Camera Companion (ACC) software to record the feeds automatically to the NAS. With this software, the user doesn't even need to login into the Buffalo NAS. The company claims that recording up to eight 1 MP streams can be guaranteed without any storage bottlenecks (this includes viewing those recorded streams simultaneously). More number of streams are supported (i.e, there is no separate video surveillance license necessary to add new cameras). The downside is that the management part through ACC is available only for AXIS cameras (but, ACC comes free with any AXIS camera purchase).
DELA - High Resolution Audio NAS
Buffalo also had on display a new branded solution in the NAS space for audiophiles. Under the DELA brand, Buffalo has been selling audiophile-grade NAS units in Japan for some time now. Apparently, they are popular enough in Japan to warrant their introduction in the US market. Put simply, these are passively cooled NAS units with a heavy aluminum metal chassis.
Optimized firmware eliminates network jitter so that the audio data is streamed over the network without packet loss to the digital receiver. Personally, I don't believe that the way digital bits are transported to the receiver has any bearing on audio quality (since the digital audio data is most probably going to be buffered in the receiver's local memory before playback anyway), but many audiophiles have been spending thousands of dollars on such equipment, and Buffalo is getting ready to cater to them with the DELA brand.