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Additional Features

The DS210+ being targeted at SMBs, we want to describe the serious addition to its basic functionality first. We mean the integrated backup system. There can be four recipients: a folder on the NAS itself or on an attached external disk, another Synology server on the LAN, an rsync-compatible server on the LAN, and the Amazon S3 web-storage. You can specify multiple backup tasks to be executed manually or by schedule. Encryption and/or compression may be turned on for transferring data over the network. Backup copies of the MySQL, Photo Station and video surveillance databases can be made. The utility’s interface allows to restore data at its original location.

File Station is yet another useful feature. It supports all popular browsers (including a few mobile versions), drag-and-drop, uploading of files, background operations, assigning rights to files, working with ZIP archives, etc. You can add more ports and slightly change the appearance of the interface. Its HTTPS support ensures privacy when using public communication channels.

 

In fact, the DS210+ has a lot of Web services. Besides the mentioned File Station, there are a few more Stations working via a web-browser. For example, Audio Station offers access to media files stored on the NAS as well as to Internet radio stations. Music is reproduced via USB speakers or your PC’s audio subsystem. Another LAN media server (including the one integrated into the latest versions of Windows) can serve as the source of files.

Photo Station is for publishing photos and video clips, commenting and blogging. This Station has a separate user database, so publishing albums on the network is going to be rather secure. Even if you create publicly accessed albums, a captcha has to be passed to write a comment to a photo.

Photographs can be rotated, reproduced as a slideshow and even compared with a map. You can also view their EXIF information. Photo Station offers rich options for changing the design of the blog. The single inconvenience is that photos and videos are all stored in the shared folder called photo.

Similar to the previous Station, photographs can be accessed via mobile devices. There is a special iPhone application for downloading images.

Winding up the description of Web services, we can note the opportunity to host Web sites with support for php and MySQL. Using the virtual host technology, you can run up to 30 of them (differing in their domain names or port numbers). Each user can create his own site if necessary. The system supports HTTPS using an uploaded certificate (or it can be generated by the server automatically).

Two media servers are implemented in the NAS: iTunes and DLNA/UPnP AV. The former indexes files in aac, wav, mp3, m4a, m4p, mov, mp4, m4v formats located in the predefined folders called music and video. The user can define playlists using tag filters.

AppStore offers applications for listening to music from the NAS on the iPhone or compatible devices.

The other media server works via DLNA and is compatible with many modern TV-sets, LAN players and game consoles. Here is the list of supported formats: jpeg, bmp, png, gif, tiff, wav, mp3, wma, aac, m4a, ogg, ape, flac, avi, divx, wmv, m2ts, ts, mpeg, mkv, mov, vob, mp4, m4v, iso. It must be noted that compatibility depends on the client/player you use, especially as some formats (e.g. mkv and iso) are not officially supported by DLNA.

If your media player doesn’t support such formats as flac, ape or ogg, the NAS’s processor is good enough to transcode them into WAV. You can also listen to Internet radio via the media server (the list of channels is the same as in Audio Station).

The only downside is that the system uses predefined folders for indexing, which is not convenient.

Of course, the DS210+ can download files autonomously as all modern NASes do, and we guess Synology’s implementation of this feature is among the best available. Download Station can work with FTP, HTTP, BitTorrent, eMule, NBZ, RapidShare and MegaUpload. Using the module settings you can specify its operation schedule, send notifications about complete downloads, choose ports, limit the speed and number of connections, work with DHT and encryption, seed files for a certain time or until a certain rating (these parameters can be assigned individually to each download task), download only certain files from a torrent. You can manage download tasks via the above-described program from the included software bundle or using the module’s web-interface. The maximum number of active tasks is specified to be 20 but the system can actually serve more than 50.

The last feature you can find in the firmware from Synology is a video surveillance system for IP web cameras. If you plan to use it, you must take note that the NAS comes with a license for one camera only. If you want to use more cameras (from 5 to 20 depending on the NAS’s performance; the DS210+ supports up to 12 cameras), you have to buy more licenses. The list of compatible devices is available at the manufacturer’s website. At the moment of our writing this, it includes over 50 models from all major makers including Axis, Mobotix, Panasonic and Sony. Cameras can use MJPEG, MPEG4 and H.264 codecs. PTZ and audio are supported. A motion sensor is set up in Surveillance Station or in the camera itself, depending on the camera model. The system allows specifying the duration of prerecording and postrecording when the sensor is triggered on. An individual operation schedule with up to 1 hour accuracy can be specified for each camera. The recorded data is saved into a system folder that can only be accessed for reading by the admin (if you don’t use the console, of course). Recordings are stored for a specified period of time for each camera; the total disc space for recordings can also be limited. The recordings database can be searched using different filters. You can watch images simultaneously from multiple (up to four) cameras. If necessary, you can export the whole database and then connect it to this or another surveillance system later to manage the recordings.

Event notifications can be sent via email or SMS (you can change the default settings, e.g. the recipient addresses). In large infrastructures you can cascade multiple devices and manage them all from a single location.

It is easy to use a web-browser to manage the cameras but the full set of features is only provided by Internet Explorer via additional ActiveX modules. The administrator can create a list of system users and assign access rights to them.

You can also buy an additional device called Visual Station. It connects to a VGA monitor and a mouse to work with the surveillance system without a PC.

This is a rather interesting feature overall. Considering that you can connect nearly any MJPEG camera via HTTP, the single obstacle to using it may be the requirement of purchasing additional licenses.

 
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