Articles: Networking

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Additional Features

A browser-based file manager is available for remote access to files stored on the NAS. It is called Web Disk and offers just the basic functionality comparable to FTP access. You can download and upload files (up to 1GB), create directories, remove files and directories, and change your user password. Thus, Web Disk is only handy because you don’t have to run a FTP client. Besides, it supports SSL encryption.

There is one more method of web-based access called Photo Server. It allows to create photo albums, load photos into them and view the photos by browsing or as a slideshow. I guess this feature has little practical value because you cannot assign access rights (for example, to prohibit others to view your albums) whereas the photos are only accessible through the web-interface (they are unavailable via network folders). You cannot leave comments to photos other than a photo name and author’s text.

By the way, the administrator has no access to these two features. When entering them, he is automatically transferred to the pages with settings.

The iTunes server allows to establish a network media library for devices and programs from Apple. It only works with a single folder called iTunes_music and indexes mp3/m4a/m4p/wav/aiff files. The server is based on the popular Firefly software. Its own web-interface is not very functional while its configuration file is created in a temp directory and there is no sense in editing it. So, if the default parameters do not suit you, you will have to install an alternative program.

The DLNA compatible media server is based on Mediabolic’s software. It is handy that you can choose any folders to index media files in. Images in JPG, BMP and PNG formats are supported. Files are organized only by the original folders (called “albums”). By the way, photographs from the above-mentioned Photo Server are not indexed. For audio, WMA and MP3 formats are supported. You can sort the files by genre, artist, album or folder. Indexing also covers video files in formats AVI, MPEG and WMV, which may disappoint people who prefer high-resolution formats like TS, M2TS and MKV.

The integrated download system is somewhat disappointing, too. It supports FTP, HTTP and BitTorrent. The first two protocols are provided by the wget program. For FTP you can specify a username and password to access the remote server with, mode (active or passive), limit the download speed, and choose a local folder to save the file in. Only the last two options are available for HTTP.

BitTorrent downloads are performed by rtorrent. A copy of this program runs for each individual download. The user can specify the following settings for each downloaded file: uplink and downlink speed limits, minimum and maximum number of peers (up to 50), and a folder to save the file into. You cannot choose the port, so the program seems to use the default ones (6890-6999). If you’ve got console access to the system, you can correct some drawbacks (for example, change the ports), but that’s not convenient. When a download is complete, it is not seeded, and you cannot change the parameters of downloads while they are being downloaded. You can only pause, start or remove them. Oddly for such an advanced NAS, there can be only five simultaneous downloads, and the option of scheduled downloading can’t make up for that limitation. Thus, the download manager is not a strong feature of this NAS when it comes to BitTorrent downloads.

The last feature I’d like to note here is the integrated backup tool called Nsync. You can create multiple tasks and specify original folders and a schedule. The target server can be a second NAS from Thecus (in this case traffic is encrypted using VPN) or an ordinary FTP server (port 21 only, without encryption). FTP is used as the data transfer protocol in either case, though. To start the copying process you have to read the manual: some procedures must be done first to set the target server up. You can restore data from the NAS’s web-interface.

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