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The app provides remote access to the drive over the internet, and there's a web browser interface also available for Macs and PCs, which allows more advanced users to configure RAID settings and features such as the FTP server - and even to use it as an 'iTunes Server' for streaming music across your network. A five-bay drive such as the 5N2 might be unnecessary for home users, but Drobo has a well-deserved reputation amongst professional and creative users who need a versatile and reliable NAS drive.

But while the nondescript black box isn't much to look at, the 5N2 will earn its keep in your office as it is absolutely packed with features designed to keep your data safe. Drobo claims to offer "the benefits of RAID without the complexity", and the company does a really good job of helping newcomers to get started and showing you how to use the 5N2. Even before you turn it on or install a single hard drive into the 5N2 you're instructed to go to the Start page on the Drobo website.

This installs a pulldown menu into the main menu bar at the top of your Mac's screen, providing instant access to the drive's main features. However, you probably won't need to use Dashboard very often, as many of the drive's features work automatically. Once the drives have been installed there's a series of lights on the front panel that indicate the status and health of each drive, along with a row of blue lights that act as a capacity gauge to let you know when you're running out of storage.

The 5N2 also allows you to 'hot-swap' drives, removing and replacing faulty drives, or simply adding some extra storage without having to restart the unit. It even has a small built-in battery that can protect the 5N2 from power failures, keeping it running long enough to complete the current task and then shut down without losing any data. In fact, most people will probably only use Dashboard to set up user accounts for other people who also need to use the 5N2 for network storage, or to set up Time Machine backups for your Macs - which you can do at the same time as setting up the 'share' for each user.

If you want to explore further, then Dashboard also allows you to install additional apps, such as the Plex media server, or Drobo Access, which provides remote access over the internet. There are iOS and Android versions of Drobo Access available too, so that you can view and edit files stored on the 5N2 with your mobile devices, along with a DroboPix app that allows you to back up your photos and videos. It's probably too expensive for most home users, but the admirable ease of use provided by the Drobo 5N2 makes it an ideal choice for small businesses and creative users who may not have used a NAS drive before.

And, with failsafe features such as its internal battery, the 5N2 can offer rock-solid reliability for protecting your most important data. Netgear's ReadyNAS has been around for a while, and it's showing its age a little, but its combination of strong data protection and good Mac support ensure that it will appeal to both home and small business users alike. The hardware design is a little old-fashioned, consisting of a simple black box with two drive bays for adding storage.

Along with the drives that you choose to install, the ReadyNAS provides some useful features for adding extra storage and enhancing performance. There are no less than three USB 3. Installing the internal drives is a little fiddly, though.

Synology DS 4-bay Network Attached Storage Device

The trays that hold the two drives pop out of the front of the unit easily enough when you press down on a small latch, but the next step is a little confusing as it involves slotting the hard disk drives into a flimsy plastic bracket that then has to be lined up in just the right position before you can push the trays back into the enclosure. It took us a couple of attempts to get it right but, thankfully, once that's done Netgear's ReadyCloud software takes over and setting up the drive on your network proves to be very straightforward. Once you've connected the ReadyNAS to mains power and then to your router, you simply launch your web browser and go to the web page for Netgear's ReadyCloud service.

This web page automatically detects the ReadyNAS on your network, and can also check for any problems if the drive isn't working properly. There are two options for getting started, with simple 'offline' installation allowing you to quickly connect the ReadyNAS to your network and start backing up your files - including using the drive for Time Machine backups on your Macs. The other option is to create a ReadyCloud account, which provides remote access over the internet as well, so that you can connect to the ReadyNAS and retrieve files even when you're away from home.

You also use your web browser to manage the ReadyNAS, but we were pleased to see that the various settings are well organised and easy to use.

DiskStation DS416play 4 Bay Networked Attached Storage Enclosure

All the key features are organised under simple headings, such as Shares for creating individual user accounts, or Cloud for setting up remote access or syncing with other cloud services such as Dropbox or Microsoft Azure for business users. There's good support for Mac technologies too, with options for 'shared' Time Machine backups, which store the backups for multiple Macs in one folder on the ReadyNAS, or 'private' backups for individual users that are all kept separate. You can even specify the amount of storage space that is allocated to individual Time Machine backups so that no one person can hog all the storage for themselves.

It can handle a spot of video transcoding, too; this is limited to p HD video, reflecting the age of the RN, but that should still be fine for most people. And, of course, there's a ReadyCloud app for iOS devices too, which allows you to back up photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad, as well as streaming files that are stored on the drive.

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Synology is best known for its high-end network and storage systems for business users, but it does have a 'value' range for home users and small businesses. The DS makes a good first impression. It's sold 'unpopulated', which means it is up to you to buy and install the drives you want, but Synology makes it easy to get started.

There are no nuts, bolts or screws to worry about, as the empty drive bays include two trays that pop out with the press of a button. We were able to insert our drives into the trays with no trouble at all, and get started in a matter of minutes. There's one Gigabit Ethernet port on the back for connecting the DS to your router, and three USB ports - one on the front, and two on the back - that can be used to plug in a memory stick, camera or external hard drive so you can transfer files on to the DS The USB port on the front even has a 'Copy' button just beneath, which can be used to automatically back up any files on your storage devices on to the DS The only oddity here is that the front port is USB 2.

The File Station is where you go to manage files and folders, view and share different file types, configure remote connections to files, and browse file-sharing activities for all users. In the upper-left corner of the DSM home screen is a button that takes you to the Main Menu, where you can access a detailed Resource Monitor and use the Storage Manager utility to create volumes, configure RAID settings, create disk groups, and view detailed disk-health statistics, such as bad sector count, estimated lifespan, operating temperature, and firmware version.

The Security Advisor scans the NAS for malware and makes sure that all users have strong passwords and that all the apps are up to date. There's also a handy Help feature that you can use to get help with the DSM operating system and all installed apps.

It ships with two LAN cables, a power cable, and two disk tray keys. I launched the utility and followed the instructions to download the latest version of DSM, which proceeded to partition and format the drives. This took a little more than 10 minutes to complete. I then created an administrator account and set up QuickConnect. With five drive bays and a wide assortment of RAID options, you can double down on redundancy for extra protection or use it as a giant repository with up to 50TB of storage. A wealth of Synology-branded and third-party apps are available to let you use the NAS as a primary backup for your PCs and press it into duty as a media server, a mail server, a website host, and much more.

A year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs most recently as Director of Operations , John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. I will buy a such an expensive Synology NAS when they will make it … I will buy a such an expensive Synology NAS when they will make it compatible with ring surveillance cameras.

Should be no need to change to R5 if you are using SHR at the moment. If not then Buy NAS. Buy 2 new drives. Configure 2 new drives as SHR. Copy the contents of your original drives to the new ones. Format old drives. Add them to the SHR raid group. You may want to add a gap between 4 and 5 just to make sure the new drives don't fail early.

That's Ring's fault, not Synology's, and it's entirely deliberate. If Ring … That's Ring's fault, not Synology's, and it's entirely deliberate. If Ring made their cameras work with local NAS's and NVRs they wouldn't be able to milk their customers for subscriptions to overpriced cloud storage. I understood. Is there any other way round to make ring compatible with … I understood. Is there any other way round to make ring compatible with Synology?

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Will have to see if Synology make any statement not gone through that long thread yet otherwise will be cancelling. We use cookies to improve and personalise your browsing experience, to perform analytics and research, and to provide social media features. By continuing to use our site, you accept our Privacy Policy.

Installing a Synology NAS

More information Agree. Unfortunately, this deal is no longer valid. Revhead Get deal Get deal. Posted 18th Sep. This deal is expired. Here are some options that might interest you:. More NAS deals Find more like this. See all deals Discover more deals on our homepage. Set alert Create an alert and get notified of similar deals. Best price I've ever seen for this. Usually dispatched within 1 to 2 months.

Synology DS119j review

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