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Net appliance targets Internet cafes

Apr 1, 2016 — by Eric Brown 893 views

Aaeon’s four port “FWS-2251” network appliance runs on Bay Trail Atoms and Celerons, and offers three mini-PCIe slots and a SIM slot for WiFi and 3G/4G.

Those of you reading this from an Internet café — otherwise known as “a café” — will likely to see a router hidden away somewhere, typically running Linux. In larger establishments, this may well be a more advanced network appliance. This is the prime market Aaeon is targeting for its FWS-2251, which is billed as “the first network appliance specially created for wireless networks and communications in public and office spaces, regardless of carriers, 3G/4G or WiFi.”

FWS-2251, rear view

The FWS-2251 is a bit more advanced than your typical WiFi router, as it also supports cellular via an externally accessible SIM Card socket and three mini-PCIe slots. The device runs on Intel Bay Trail Atoms and Celerons including the single-core Atom E3815, dual-core Atom E3827, and quad-core, 2.0GHz Intel Celeron J1900.

The FWS-2251 ships without an OS, but Aaeon tells us most of their customers will load a Linux distribution. The appliance supports firewall, IDP/IDS, load balancing, network access control, bandwidth management, web filtering, and anti-spam virus applications, says the company.

FWS-2251 front view with antennas

The FWS-2251 is further equipped with up to 8GB dual-channel DDR3L RAM at 1333MHz, plus four GbE LAN ports, a WAN console port, and a USB 3.0 port. For additional storage, there’s a CFast socket and an optional SATA II connector listed as “SATA DOM Horizontal and no housing type only.”

FWS-2251 front (left) and rear detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Other features include an RTC, LEDs, a programmable, GPIO-sensed push button, and pin headers for VGA and keyboard/mouse. Two of the three mini-PCIe slots are full size. One supports the SIM socket, and the other is listed as “USB 2.0 Signal only Full size with dual SIM socket.” Mounts are available for up to six antennas, but there’s no wall mounting.


The fanless, 8.3 x 4.1 x 1.9mm box runs on 12V power. Vibration and shock resistance are offered at 0.5Grms at 5 to 500Hz and 10 G peak acceleration (11m/sec), respectively, when operating with a SATA DOM. The temperature range is a modest 0 to 40°C.

The appliance is a bit simpler than last year’s Linux-ready FWS-2260, a more generic small-business net appliance. The FWS-2260 has only two mini-PCIe slots, but it offers six LAN ports instead of four, and runs on a more powerful Intel Pentium or Celeron of the latest 14nm “Braswell” generation. The larger FWS-2260 also adds a standard 2.5-inch SATA III bay that supports HDDs, as well as a second USB 3.0 port, optional HDMI, and optional 2-pair LAN bypass.

Further information

The FWS-2251 is now available for order with a lead time of 8-10 weeks. Customization and volume discounts are said to be available. More information may be found at Aaeon’s FWS-2251 product page.

(advertise here)

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