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Additional Features

Modern NASes, especially those from the leading brands, offer a number of extra features. Synology is actually one of the leaders in this respect. When enabled, such services appear on the main program menu of the NAS's web interface. Many of them have their own interface available via a special link.

The File Station service can be used for remote access to files. It is a full-featured file manager that works in your browser. It applies access rights, has a special landing page, and can even access your local disks if the browser supports Java. It also features an integrated ZIP archiver, can connect to remote CIFS resources, mount ISO images and play videos (if your browser has a VLC or HTML5 plugin). Its admin version allows viewing Google Docs.

File Station supports mobile browsers, too.

There are two more Stations for accessing content stored on the NAS: Audio and Photo. Audio Station can play audio recordings and online radio via your browser, compatible media player or USB speakers connected directly to the NAS. Client software with the same features is available for iOS and Android. Photo Station helps you organize photo hosting with albums, comments and even blogs. It has a special entry page and user database for higher security. You can upload photos via the web interface, DSAssistant or iOS/Android tools.

Generally speaking, Synology NASes offer broad support for mobile gadgets, which is a serious competitive advantage today.

The DS411slim can host websites using php and MySQL.

As for backup features, the NAS supports rsync and Synology’s own version of this protocol which is supposed to be more efficient. It can also synchronize folders between multiple devices. You can create backup jobs with local folders (including external disks), remote servers and the Amazon S3 cloud service and run them by a schedule. Data encryption and compression are supported. Block access mode is available, too. The additional Time Backup package allows working with multiple file versions.

DLNA and iTunes servers are available for multimedia streaming. The new firmware version allows to choose any folder for indexing. They support all modern multimedia formats and can transcode audio files to reproduce them on any playback device.

The autonomous download system is very easy to use. It supports BitTorrent, HTTP, FTP, Emule, NZB, RSS feeds and two dozen premium accounts for file-sharing sites. It can work by a schedule and offers an integrated torrent search feature. Download jobs can be managed via the NAS’s web interface, the Download Replicator utility or third-party Android tools. You can set up such parameters of the BitTorrent client as connection ports, speed limits, number of connections and seeding options (individually for each download job). The download system is very stable and fast.

If there are IP video cameras on your LAN, the DS411slim can work as a video surveillance system. It supports up to eight cameras but comes with only one license. You’ll have to purchase more licenses for each next camera. The list of compatible products is long, including MPEG4 and H.264, high-res, PTZ and audio-enabled models. Recordings can be made by a schedule or based on a motion sensor. The video surveillance system can be accessed via a separate interface page with a dedicated database of users with different access rights (management or viewing only). You can view the live video and recordings via your browser (browsers other than Internet Explorer are supported, too), a special iOS/Android tool or a separate hardware module with monitor. Multiple monitoring devices can be combined into a single pool for centralized management.

Functionality Enhancements

You can enhance the functionality scope of your DS411slim even further by selecting, downloading and installing ready-made packages from the manufacturer's website using the NAS's interface. There were 10 compatible packages at the time of our writing this. The packages can integrate into the NAS's interface and interact with the NAS as well as other packages. Here are these packages with brief descriptions:

  • Directory Server: a LDAP server.
  • HiDrive Backup: a HiDrive module for backup copying and restoring data.
  • Mail Station: an email server with support for SMTP, POP3, IMAP and web-based access.
  • phpMyAdmin: this package helps manage the integrated MySQL server.
  • SqueezeCenter: this server can stream musical files and radio to SqueezeBox devices.
  • Syslog Server: an event log management server.
  • Time Backup: a backup tool that supports multiple document versions.
  • VPN Server: PPTP and OpenVPN servers that provide LAN access for remote users.
  • Webalizer: shows statistics for the NAS's web services.
  • WorldPress: blog authoring.

The software packages can be updated without losing their data and configuration. Packages developed by users can be installed, too. You just have to download the installation file and upload it to the NAS via the web interface.

Synology was one of the first NAS makers to officially provide console-based access to its NASes. You can use SSH for secure connection but Telnet should suffice for home applications. It allows you to install additional packages into the OS and change options which are unavailable in the NAS’s web interface. Of course, you should be very careful with this powerful feature.

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