Articles: Networking

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Prep Work

It is easy to assemble the NAS: you fasten the frames to your HDDs and install them into the device. You can attach included stickers to the frames and mark the HDDs in some way. The NAS takes no more than a couple of minutes to boot up. For further setup you can use the SmartNavi program or a web-browser. The first method is recommended for beginner users.

SmartNavi is version It is written in Java and comes with a Java installation. SmartNavi is used for setting the NAS up and managing its connection to your PC. Besides, it allows viewing NAS’s notifications. The program can take the form of a tray icon, a small window for choosing a HDD, and a program window. When you start it up, you will be asked to enter a username and password for SmartNavi to use to communicate with the NAS.

The tray icon can be used for quick connection of HDDs, for evoking an administration page or turning on the download station’s Dropzone icon. When you double click the icon, a window pops up, suggesting that you select a NAS. Here you can also change the user, choose the default NAS (if there are multiple NASes on the network), enable a search system (you can try to find the device in your office using the sound signal), connect network disks, launch a backup procedure or open the NAS’s web-interface. There is also a detailed multilingual help system available.

But the main thing is that you can launch the big interface of the SmartNavi program. Depending on whether a simple user or administrator is specified, the interface and capabilities will differ. We will first describe the admin version.

Photo Album is the first item of the interface. This feature allows using the NAS for storing photos and organizing them into albums. With this NAS model, you can use SmartNavi to not only download photos but also view them as a slideshow. You can also use a browser for that, but without the slideshow option. Frankly speaking, the implementation of this feature is not optimal. A DLNA media server (which is available in the NAS) together with a Sony PlayStation 3 as the player would be far more effective.

The second page is Media Center. It is about watching video and listening to audio. This feature is not very useful, however, because you can instead use the handier Windows Media Player or some third-party product (the latest versions of PowerDVD and WinDVD support UPnP AV/DLNA).

The download station is based on the popular MLDonkey software. We will discuss its capabilities later on. Here, we can note that SmartNavi can be used to manage downloads. You can also change some of the client’s settings. The current version of SmartNavi occasionally has problems communicating with the client, though.

Managing shared folders is easy. You can add/remove/connect network folders and assign usage rights to users and user groups.

The backup tool integrated into SmartNavi allows doing just the basic tasks. Besides the option of quick backup by dragging and dropping a folder into the program window, you can create tasks for scheduled backup. The subfolder on the NAS that user files are backed up into is in a private folder. You cannot change this setting. And you cannot save multiple copies of a file, either. Although no special data formats are used, data can only be restored using SmartNavi.

The initial setup of the NAS can be left to wizards (the Setup Wizard page). The first wizard is exceedingly simple. You do not even have to enter anything. Just check out the data and click the button to set the name, time and network address. If you want to change anything, you should choose Advanced Setup and specify your own settings.

User Management is about users and groups. You can create/remove a user or group, change the password, change group membership, and specify disk space quotas.

The address and name of the NAS can be changed in the NAS Management section in which you can also manage the installed plugins (particularly, the download manager, DLNA server and iTunes server). The NAS’s event log can be viewed right here. The last page in the group is for shutting down and rebooting the NAS. Surprisingly, you can read the firmware version here – the developer must have found no other place for that information.

The last section is called Volume Management. As the name suggests, it is meant for managing disk volumes. The option of automatic array mode selection should be useful for beginner users.

These are the administrator’s options. A simple user has fewer options in SmartNavi, namely photo album, media center, download station, and the option of connecting network folders. SmartNavi is overall a handy tool but some of the NAS’s features are not accessible through it.

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