Networked-attached storage (NAS) is damn useful. In addition to providing a convenient means of backing up important data stored on your computers, today’s consumer-orientated models typically incorporate a DLNA media server.
As a result, they’re able to stream multimedia files to any device that’s capable of accepting them. Synology’s stylish, white box does all that for only £85.
Synology’s Mac/PC-compatible USB Station 2 has much the same footprint as a small margarine tub.
It can be installed anywhere the necessary Ethernet feed is available (and supports Gigabit Ethernet).
The use of USB storage devices gives you a considerable amount of flexibility. Supported file systems include NTFS, FAT32 and EXT2/3. Thanks to a comprehensive web interface, it’s a doddle to create users and administer access privileges.
The onboard DLNA media server worked well with a variety of media players, while Apple’s iTunes is also supported. A potentially useful feature is audio-format transcoding, ensuring that older players can handle music encoded in FLAC or OGG amongst others. Other features include peer-to-peer downloading technologies such as BitTorrent.
The USB Station 2 is not the fastest and most responsive NAS by current standards – relative to more upmarket NAS products like Synology’s DS410, network file-transfer speeds were on the sluggish side – but what we have is more than suitable for the streaming of files to networked devices. HD video was streamed without interruption.
You don’t get the more advanced features such as web server compatibility with networked security cameras and remote backup.
Synology USB Station 2
Price: £85 Approx
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