This NAS system delivers a better than average level of speed and performance. Will handle HD video files nicely, delivering high quality playback. Good built-in data security measures. Uses QuickConnect so you can access your files over any internet connection.
Uses a dual-core CPU, so it's not for extremely busy environments. Doesn't ship with hard disks.
NAS system is built for home or small office usage with just two drive bays. Merging into an existing network configuration is easier than with some others. Can access your files over an Internet connection from any device. Has basic data protection features built into the system to get you started in this area.
Doesn't include a powerful CPU or much RAM, so it's not going to be the fastest performer around.
The affordable price-point on this unit means that anyone can purchase it for personal use. In keeping with its “everyman” identity, this NAS device provides easy access for your smartphone as well.
Setup may be slightly complicated for the novice user because it only comes with a “quick setup” guide.
Numerous built-in features to protect your data, including easy cloud access. Will support up to 40 people using it at the same time. Squarish design looks great with a display screen to keep you updated. Works nicely for storing video, such as from a security camera system that features multiple cameras.
Would be nice if it operated at a faster level, especially considering its price. No disks included.
NAS system will handle HD video nicely with a quad-core CPU, giving you high-quality data transfer speeds. Can use a mobile app to access your files from anywhere. Gives you a slightly below average price point for a diskless four-bay NAS system. Will deliver good speeds if you're using gigabit Ethernet.
You will have to add your own hard drives. May suffer from incompatibility issues with some camera systems.
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Data storage in the 21st century is a valuable commodity. With so much of our lives happening now in the digital realm, we all need a place to keep our ever-expanding cache of files. NAS devices fill that void. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. These devices are storage units that include one or more storage drive bays. They connect to computer networks and provide access to a related group of clients. They are basically computers unto themselves, with hard drives, processors and operating systems, whose main function is data storage. These devices are compact and are capable of handling files of all sizes. They are often used to store video, music, and other media files.
A NAS device is equipped with built-in security features to help safeguard your sensitive data against cyber attacks. Additionally, a NAS device can be used in a home or office and allows you to access files over an internet connection. Some NAS devices even offer mobile apps that ensure you can access your files on a smartphone or tablet, too.
Be aware that a NAS device should not be considered a one-stop storage solution, as like any storage device, a NAS device can fail or become disabled or destroyed by fire, flooding, or power surge. You should have a redundancy plan, such as backing up to a cloud or to an external drive.
If you are purchasing a NAS device, it’s because you need storage space to house your most important files. For some, that means work files such as documents, spreadsheets and data sets. Others are hoping to house their most precious family memories in the form of photos and videos. Regardless of your individual use of a NAS device, you want to be sure to get the right one. Consider the factors below when researching the best NAS device for you, and you won’t go wrong.
This will be the most important consideration when choosing your NAS device. What good is a data storage unit if it can’t hold all of your files? Most NAS devices range from a few gigabytes of storage space, all the way up to a massive 40TB. Assess your storage needs before choosing your unit.
Any device that will store massive amounts of data will have variations in functioning speed. There are a lot of differences in NAS device designs and processing, so do your research on the MB-per-second specs of each unit, remembering that they usually have separate speeds for writing and reading.
When you have a need for speed
The Synology 2 bay DiskStation is one of the fastest processing NAS devices in its range. Perfect for HD quality video, it is nicely balanced between price and quality. QuickConnect compatibility gives you access from anywhere.
One of the biggest advantages of a NAS device is that it can be set up for multiple users to access from remote locations. This allows a team of people to store data even when they are not located in the same office. Check the specifications of each NAS device if you have specific user-quantity requirements. Some of the higher-end units allow up to 40 users on a single NAS device.
Because NAS devices have a relatively straightforward utilitarian design, there aren’t multitudes of differences between them. That being said, some have a few special features that make them stand out from the rest of the pack.
Some NAS devices come with internal hard drives that fit into the device’s storage bays for expanded storage as well as backups. Others merely have the open storage bays and the drives must be purchased separately. If you plan to handle backups in this manner, consider getting a NAS device with up to four storage bays to house more internal hard drives.
Many NAS devices allow access from any remote location where you have internet access. Some now have their own mobile apps, giving you the ability to access your files in an efficient manner directly from your smartphone.
The first commercially available NAS software, Novell’s Netware server operating system and NCP protocol, was released in 1983.
This is an invaluable feature for those who want extra protection for their important data. Some NAS devices have a function that will run automatic data backups straight to a hard drive built into the NAS. Although it isn’t an absolute necessity, this feature is a nice addition that will give you extra confidence that your data is being protected on every level. However, as stated earlier, for even more peace of mind, it’s wise to back up the data on a NAS device to a separate remote location, such as a cloud server or external drive.
As with any of your computers, automatic online backup is available for your NAS devices. These are generally subscription services which you pay for on a monthly or annual basis. The price is determined by the amount of data you will need to store. This backup feature is a must for anyone wanting to protect their valuable files housed on their NAS device.
Microsoft didn’t enter the NAS development market until the mid to late eighties, well after other software and hardware companies had made their mark.
NAS devices in relative terms are not inexpensive. That being said, considering the important role they play in protecting your data, it’s well worth the cost. Furthermore, you still have a number of price options from which to choose, so shop around and decide which features you want to pay for and which you can do without.
Inexpensive: A dependable NAS device in the $100-$200 range is easy to find. The main differences between these units and those that cost more are storage capacity and processing speed. Many will find what they need in this price range, but if you’re looking for a NAS device with some more teeth, then move up in price.
Mid-range: Between $200 and $300, you will find an excellent assortment of high-capacity NAS devices with various levels of “extras.” A preponderance of NAS devices are priced at just below $300 in what appears to be a fierce competition for consumer dollars. You can use this competition to your advantage and find an exceptional unit at a reasonable price.
Expensive: The NAS devices between $300 and $600 are the most powerful and high-capacity units on the market. Many of them will hold up to 40 terabytes of information, which is far more than most of us could ever produce. Most of these models will likely be used for business purposes.
In 2009, NAS vendors began to introduce online backup solutions integrated into their NAS appliances, for online disaster recovery.
Perfect for the NAS device newbie!
Anyone looking to purchase their first NAS device can’t go wrong with the Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218J. With ios, android, and windows compatibility, you can access your photos, videos, and other files at the drop of a hat.
Data storage needs for the basic consumer have changed drastically with the advent of the smartphone. We are practically drowning in data and need a home for it all. This has created an atmosphere of rampant competition amongst NAS device producers. There are a number of impressive options we researched in addition to our top five. The Netgear ReadyNAS RN212 2 bay diskless personal cloud NAS is an inexpensive NAS device that has a powerful desktop app for maximum convenience at a low price. In the mid-range category, we also liked the Netgear ReadyNAS RN214 4 bay diskless personal cloud NAS. It has all the benefits of its less expensive counterpart, but the additional storage space means you’ll have more room for your files and multimedia data. On the expensive end, the Buffalo Terastation 3210DN NAS device does not disappoint. With 4TB of NAS hard drives included, this is a professional-level powerhouse.
Q. Is a NAS device the same as an external hard drive?
A. No. A NAS device is an internet-connected device that allows remote users to access data from other locations. An external hard drive simply stores information and may or may not have the ability for remote access.
Q. Is the price of NAS device directly related to storage space?
A. Generally, yes. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, you will usually need to spend more in order to get more storage.
Q. Is a NAS device easy to set up?
A. Yes. If you are generally adept at using electronic equipment, hooking up a NAS device is relatively straightforward. Once you’ve connected it, choosing the options for how you would like to utilize its functions will take a little more time.
Q. Will my NAS device be obsolete shortly after I buy it?
A. As with any electronic and computing device, new technology is under constant development. Nevertheless, your NAS device should continue to offer you the storage you need for as long as you wish to use it.
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