From the horse’s mouth
The Seagate GoFlex Satellite network-attached storage is representing a new breed of network device design that is becoming more prominent with Wi-Fi devices. Here, the device has an integrated access point and DHCP server and works with dedicated client apps or integrated Web server to share files.
There are limitations with this class of device in that they cannot connect to an existing Wi-Fi network. Here, the user has to point their client device to the network-attached storage device’s SSID in order to benefit from the device. In the case of the GoFlex Satellite, the user would have to visit a Web page hosted by the device and / or use dedicated client software to gain access to the files.
Of course, with this GoFlex Satellite, it is intended for the user to connect the unit directly to a computer as an external hard disk using a USB 3.0 connection when loading content on to it or using it as a backup device.
This is compared to some newer “MiFi” wireless-broadband routers that have SD card readers and treat the mounted SD cards as network drives. Here, they use standard network-drive protocols for sharing the storage space and share media-file directories using UPnP AV / DLNA standards.
I find that it would be easier to have these kind of drives work with client devices through standardised protocols. If the device is to work with an Apple iOS client, the manufacturer could license or develop CIFS and DLNA client apps for integration with these devices’ file systems.
As for network connectivity, these devices could support the ability to join an existing Wi-Fi small-network segment, whether through “push-to-join” WPS, Windows Connect Now-USB or manual setup. Then they could serve content to that Wi-Fi segment. Of course, they could still work as their own network if they have to, such as serving content to devices that have no Internet; have Internet served via a wireless-broadband setup with integrated modem or computers in the throes of being commissioned.
The main issue with this design is that it is very much designed around the Apple iOS ecosystem and is not likely to work well beyond that.