Having looked through the user’s manual I realized that the upcoming installation process shouldn’t cause me any trouble. The most important thing was to have a screwdriver and a few hard disk drives with Serial ATA interface ready.
The HDD installation was amazingly simple. All I had to do was to undo 6 screws, remove the HDD chassis, slide the HDDs all the way into the chassis, put the chassis back into the box and fasten the screws.
Just in case you cannot figure something out, there is the entire procedure step by step inside the user’s manual, and the pictures there are so big and detailed, that you can hardly make any mistakes. Moreover, the LEDs of your N2100 Box will definitely show you if something goes wrong: in this case one of the LEDs will start blinking. It is a nearly ideal way to let the user know whether the device is ready to work.
The next thing you need to do, is to install the necessary management software on your computer. The main goal of this tool is to guide the inexperienced computer user through the entire process of preparing the device and connecting it to the network. If you can deal on your own with such things as IP-address and DHCP, then you may only need this software tool to restore a forgotten password for the device. All other functions, such as creation of RAID arrays or enabling iTunes server can be accessed from the Network Configuration page.
Once you typed in the server address in the browser, you get to see the front page, that allows you to access any of the available services as well as the network management options. Once you logged in as Admin you get onto the server management page. All menu items are very logical and intuitively simple.
First of all you have to tell the server what hard drives should be used and what needs to be done with them. You can only use the discs that have been installed into the box to create JBOD, RAID0 and RAID1 arrays. The entire storage space on the array will be available for user files and folders. Except for 545MB that the server requires for its own needs. Building arrays has become a very simple procedure: the only atavism here is actually the selection of the HDDs for the arrays – external hard drives connected via the USB port are not available in this case and inside the box there can only be two drives at most. JBOD and RAID0 arrays take about 2-3 minutes to create. As for RAID1 array, it takes about 2 hours: the system needs to make sure that both HDDs do not have any read/write errors on the entire surface.