Firmware and Web-Interface
It is interesting to check out the firmware of the NS2300N because Promise doesn’t have much experience in writing firmware for network equipment but it is the firmware that determines a device’s appeal to the user. So let’s see if the developer has done his job right.
The NS2300N was released recently, so Promise’s NASes haven’t yet gathered a numerous user community. No one has made serious attempts to modify the firmware for SmartStor series products as yet; at least we couldn’t find any such projects on the Web. So, you have to rely on the official firmware which is interesting due to its modular structure. It means you can add new features to the basic version of firmware by installing plugins. Although not new, this method of adding functionality is not yet popular among network equipment makers. Today, SmartStor series products have plugins that add an integrated DLNA media server, a download manager (with support for BitTorrent, Edonkey, HTTP and FTP), and an iTunes server. That’s something to begin with. Besides, the basic firmware of the NS2300N has an integrated print-server and a tool for working with certain models of UPSes. For our tests we installed the latest version of firmware downloaded from the Promise website. It was version 1.03.0000.07.
The web-interface of the setup manager available in the NS2300N has a traditional design. Besides the manufacturer’s logo, the header offers a few functional items.
For example, you can choose the language of the web-interface (from a rather long list) in the dropdown menu here. The next item, called Contact us, leads to a Promise page with contact information. To leave the setup manager, click Logout. The Help link leads to a brief informational page. In the left part of the setup manager there is a menu for choosing pages with settings. The menu has only two levels and a logical structure. It is very easy to navigate. The rest of the manager’s window displays the contents of the selected page with settings.
You can open up the Help system by clicking the appropriate button in the top right corner of the settings page. The Help page is displayed in a separate window and shows information pertaining to the current page with settings. Unfortunately, the Help information is always rather too general for the user to make out what exactly the particular settings do.
The pages are limited in scope, meaning that there are a lot of pages and groups but each page contains but a small number of settings. The setup manager offers eight groups, each with a self-explanatory name.
The menu begins with the Wizard group that contains a few quick Setup Wizards.
Users & Groups
The next group of settings is called Users & Groups. Here you can create user accounts for accessing the NAS as well as groups those accounts are combined into. On the Quota page you can specify how much disk space individual users or user groups can use if there are personal folders created for them.