What Is It, What Is It For, And How Do I Choose A NAS?

Network Attached Storage (NAS) has a lot of practical value for the comfortable use of your media devices in your home network and for organizing your media library: you can store various data (music, videos, documents, and more) on it and access it whenever you want. 

You can use your data not only on your computer but also play your media from your Smart TV and other devices connected to your home network (smartphones, tablets, laptops), as well as over the Internet using the client program.

How Many Hard Disks Should I Use In My NAS?

This type of device connects to your home network, allowing you to access data from all of your devices. Using two or more drives will enable you to reliably protect yourself from data loss in case of HDD failure. 

For this purpose, the storage should work in RAID 1 mode. Thus, you can not worry about the safety of photos and music collection, but you will have to sacrifice a decent amount of disk space. Two drive bays in a NAS is a reasonable minimum for home use. Depending on the number of available hard disks, the NAS array wizard will offer only available options.

Installing And Configuring NAS

When choosing a suitable NAS, you will see that they often come with hard disks. But there are exceptions; for example, in the case of several models, you will have to buy and install at least 2 HDDs yourself. Initial NAS configuration is performed in the included program or through the web interface accessible from a browser. As a bonus, the storage comes with a program that allows you to perform automatic backups. Of course, you can use alternative scheduled backup applications as well.

How Do NAS Devices Differ From Each Other?

The main components of NAS are the processor and network controller, which determine the speed of copying and data transfer over the network. When used in a home environment, the noise from NAS drives devices is also essential to consider. Network-attached storage devices, like regular hard drives, vary in noise level. For example, some models are virtually silent, which is not the case with other models. 

Since network drives tend to operate around the clock, power consumption is an important consideration when shopping for one. If you emphasize this parameter, make sure that the storage has a standby feature. The convenience of management also characterizes the devices. 

The Main Features Of A Network Attached Storage

  • Playback: Today’s TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and other network-enabled devices support media streaming on your home network. Most modern NASes have a built-in media server for this purpose. When you activate the “Media Server” or “DLNA-server” function in the NAS settings, it becomes possible to play music and show photos and videos on other devices connected to the network, for example, on a Smart TV. Both audio and video are streamed, eliminating the need to copy files to the appropriate playback device.
  • Rights: You can access the data stored on your network drive from any network-connected device. However, it is possible, and sometimes necessary, to restrict or even grant access to specific folders to specific users. When creating a new account, the NAS administration panel allows you to assign access rights to exist directories, set quotas for the disk space to be used, select the protocols by which the new user will be able to access the storage and set access speed limits for each of these protocols.
  • Remote Access: Uploading photos to your smartphone or tablet is no longer necessary: virtually every NAS model is accessible via the Internet, allowing you to relieve the memory of mobile devices without losing access to content.
  • Security: NAS automatically backs up data on your computer’s hard drive. This significantly reduces the risk of losing important information in the event of disk failure or PC theft.

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