Network Attached Storage (NAS) is cool. Cheap external USB
drives are cool. Addonics makes it easy AND cheap for you to hook up an
external USB drive to your network and get some cheap NAS.
I was in conflict, spend some pretty big bucks on a full blown
NAS device or hang another USB drive off my computer and lug it around. I wasn't
big on the idea of springing for the money that a nice, big NAS was going to run
but still, lugging around a USB drive and safely removing it didn't appeal to me
Wow, wouldn't it be great if I could just hook up a USB drive
to the network, that'd solve all my problems. Unfortunately I can't figure out
how to make an RJ-45 network connector fit into a USB receptacle. Of course even
if I could it wouldn't work, two different "languages".
Then I ran into the "NAS Adapter" from Addonics which promises
to add any USB storage device onto your LAN so I promptly got one ordered from
Addonics. I didn't pay too much attention to the
size when I order it and when it arrived I wondered if something so small could
actually "do" anything. After all, the actual NAS Adapter is smaller than the
I plugged it in and ran the "discovery" program that
immediately identified the device on my network. Logging into that IP address
from my browser instantly brought up the administration panel. Set up was easy,
I made some quick modifications to configure it to my network specifics;
workgroup name, use DHCP, don't be a DHCP server and the like. Ready to go I
attached a drive.
Attaching the drive I found my first "gotcha"; the adapter
really wants to format the drive. No, that's wrong, it's going to format the
drive regardless. I was hoping to cheat and put some really big files on the
drive while it was attached to a computer so they'd go faster but no way, the
NAS adapter insists that it do the formatting which is did (and quickly as
well). It formatted a 1Tb drive with FAT32 in less than a minute. After the
drive was formatted by the NAS Adapter it could be removed from the NAS
adapter and hooked directly to a PC USB port with access to all the files.
Another disk feature that bears mention is the ability to put
the attached USB drive to sleep after a set period of time.
Once formatted the drive was immediately visible to my
network. A couple of clicks later and I had ftp up and running which was a bit
speedier since it bypassed the overhead of Windows networking. Both worked
flawlessly. It couldn't have been easier.
There were also three other features that bear mention.
There is a "Media Server" facility that apparently works with
the X-box for photos, music and video. I don't have an x-box so I couldn't test
it but I'm guessing this supplies the same facilities as XP-MCE and the Windows
Home Server. Again just a guess.
There is a printer server facility which, again guessing, you
could hook up a USB printer for network sharing. Don't have one to try.
Finally, and perhaps most interesting, there is a BitTorrent
client included with the NAS Adapter firmware. Simply set up the torrent using
the file chooser, select a download path and off it goes. It's not that a
BitTorrent client uses a huge amount of PC resources but some of those super
slow 2 day downloads might prompt you to keep your computer running full time.
By using the NAS Adapter client you can do whatever you like with your PC and
the torrent does its thing on the NAS Adapter.
It'll take up to 4 active torrents at a time and highlighting
them in the download queue and clicking the "show" button returns some pretty
detailed info, less that you'd get with a full BitTorrent client, but still
plenty of information to let you know what's going on. In addition it's possible
to set it up to email you when the download is finished.
Overall this is one handy device, just what the doctor ordered
for attaching an inexpensive USB drive to your network.
Get some network storage for cheap. Pick up the
for $80 or so.
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