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B3 Wi-Fi home server review

by Russell Barnes

The world’s best Linux home and small business server has apparently just got better. Russell Barnes tests the B3, Excito’s latest Bubba home server…

This article is due to appear in issue 93 of Linux User & Developer magazine.B3 Wi-Fi home server review Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

Specifications:B3 Wi-Fi home server review
Operating system
Debian Squeeze-based ( kernel)
Processor ARM 1.2GHz
Memory 512MB DDR2-800
Ports 2x USB 2.0 and one eSATA
Dimensions 11.5 x 4.5 x 18.5cm
Power consumption 8-13W (hard disk dependant)
Network connectivity 2x Gigabit Ethernet / wireless 802.11a/b/g/n interface
Price From £310 (

In his review back in issue 88, the revised Wi‑Fi edition of the Bubba 2 was extremely well received by Linux User regular, Dmitri Popov. Not only did he call it ‘the best home and small-business server on the market’, but he also scored it top marks for its incredible ease of use, convenience, size and near-silent operation. In fact, he loved it so much, he now helps share the word about it as a platform evangelist and community manager.

The more sensibly named B3 (‘Bubba’ rather unfortunately puts us in mind of the character of the same name from the movie Forrest Gump) follows very closely to the formula Excito has been working on since the company’s inception back in 2002. It provides exactly the same mix of home and small business server duties and still comes in the same tiny (11.5 x 4.5 x 18.5cm) matt black, unassuming package.

There are so many ways to use the B3 that’s its easier to think of it as a complete home server solution than a means to a particular end. It’s a wireless router and firewall, file and print server, video and audio streaming server, backup server, web server, download manager, and you can even use it to share your photo albums around the internet.

.B3 Wi-Fi home server review
The photo album setup has been streamlined for the B3. Albums can be viewed anywhere in the world using your free and unique Excito login

So what’s new with the B3? First and foremost it features considerably more horsepower courtesy of a combination of faster hardware, more RAM and a new Debian 6.0 Squeeze backbone. As well as enjoying Debian’s excellent track record for stability and reliability, users can use openSSH (which is set up out of the box) to access the server via an SSH connection and even make use of the thousands of packages available via Debian’s extensive repository.

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    • Jim C

      looked at Bubba a while back and is sounds good however it is still underpowered I reckon,specially for browsing large picture galleries
      will check on their forums again to see if anyone complains

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    • James

      I am a bit confused as to why I would buy this rather than a Linux based NAS from the likes of QNap or Synology. These are cheaper and support the features mentioned in the article.

    • Johannes

      Jim C: The new 1.2 GHz processor makes it quite well-powered, it’s actually outperforming many other new NAS:es right now. We have over 50 MB/s read speed over SMB for example.

      /Johannes, Excito

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    • Spock

      Nice thing, but the price tag is much over the top, as with all ARM gadgets. You get a full Linux-compatible HP MicroServer with AMD Neo Dual Core for around 190 GBP incl. 1 GB ECC memory and a 250 GB hard-disk

      B3′s competition is the Seagate Dockstar, which sells around 50 GBP.