New to NAS.....Help!

Gazaman

Well-known Member
Hi folks,
I've never used a NAS before and although I think I understand the basics,I just want to make sure I'm on the right lines here..
Basically I have a Sumvision MKV2 encloure (which I'm hoping to change to a new mede8er one at the gadget show live event next week) with an attached 2TB external HDD at the other end of our lounge. Everytime I have a new file I want to add, I have to take my laptop to the TV cabinet,balance it on the edge of the unit,unplug the HDD and connect to my laptop and add the file.
Now, my router is next to our setee with a long ethernet cable discreetly run round the room to the tv cabinet where I have it plugged in to my dreambox.
My plan is to have a NAS next to my router with the attached 2Tb HDD so I can easily add new files and then maybe have a Ethernet switch near my TV so my media player can access the files.
Am I on the right track here? I'm hoping to maybe even try streaming some files wirelessly to other devices.
Thanks in advance
Gaz
 

cjed

Well-known Member
Yes, that's pretty much it, expect that most NAS units work from internal hard disks which they share out to all devices on the network (rather than use external USB connected hard disks).

You could probably remove the 2TB drive from it's external enclosure and put it in a NAS unit, but you would almost certainly lose all files currently on it.

As you will probably want to keep a backup of the files anyway, it would make more sense to get a NAS with a new (internal) hard disk and keep your current external HD as a backup.
 

Gazaman

Well-known Member
Yes, that's pretty much it, expect that most NAS units work from internal hard disks which they share out to all devices on the network (rather than use external USB connected hard disks).

You could probably remove the 2TB drive from it's external enclosure and put it in a NAS unit, but you would almost certainly lose all files currently on it.

As you will probably want to keep a backup of the files anyway, it would make more sense to get a NAS with a new (internal) hard disk and keep your current external HD as a backup.

Cheers mate,
Backup isnt that much of an issue as I dont plan to really share all my files over the network. My sensitive/personal files are manually backed up on another external HDD. Maybe I'll change my mind after getting it up and running....But initially the only stuff on the NAS would be replaceable media files that I want to be shared over my network (movies/audio)

Could you recommend the gear that I should look for please. I really dont have a clue and I want to keep the costs as low as poss to keep the mrs off mY case ;)
Cheers
Gaz
 
Last edited:

cjed

Well-known Member
I don't particularly like to recommend specific units, as what works fine for one person can be a nightmare for another, especially at the low-cost end of the market.

However, your cheapest alternative is probably the Zyxel NSA310 NAS enclosure, often available for around £35 (for example at CCL). You could strip out the bare SATA hard disk from your external drive and put it in this enclosure. As I mentioned before, this would mean re-loading all the data as the disk would be re-formatted by the NAS. I've used this enclosure, it's certainly built down to a price, and it's performance is at the low end of the scale, but it works and is not the worst unit around.

Going up in cost a bit, there's the WD MyBook Live 2TB NAS, this is around £115, (from Amazon), but does include it's own 2TB drive (so you can keep your existing external drive intact). Performance is better than the Zyxel unit, it's quieter (I don't think it has a fan) and there's more info around (as it's made by Western Digital).

Whichever you get, you should also get a Gigabit switch, 5 port ones are < £15 (i.e. the Tenda from Amazon), 8 ports from around £20.

The NAS, router and media player should all plug into the Gigabit switch. You will be able to transfer files between your laptop and the NAS wirelessly, but you will get much better performance (if you're transferring a lot of media files) by temporarily plugging the laptop directly into the switch.
 

Gazaman

Well-known Member
I don't particularly like to recommend specific units, as what works fine for one person can be a nightmare for another, especially at the low-cost end of the market.

However, your cheapest alternative is probably the Zyxel NSA310 NAS enclosure, often available for around £35 (for example at CCL). You could strip out the bare SATA hard disk from your external drive and put it in this enclosure. As I mentioned before, this would mean re-loading all the data as the disk would be re-formatted by the NAS. I've used this enclosure, it's certainly built down to a price, and it's performance is at the low end of the scale, but it works and is not the worst unit around.

Going up in cost a bit, there's the WD MyBook Live 2TB NAS, this is around £115, (from Amazon), but does include it's own 2TB drive (so you can keep your existing external drive intact). Performance is better than the Zyxel unit, it's quieter (I don't think it has a fan) and there's more info around (as it's made by Western Digital).

Whichever you get, you should also get a Gigabit switch, 5 port ones are < £15 (i.e. the Tenda from Amazon), 8 ports from around £20.

The NAS, router and media player should all plug into the Gigabit switch. You will be able to transfer files between your laptop and the NAS wirelessly, but you will get much better performance (if you're transferring a lot of media files) by temporarily plugging the laptop directly into the switch.

That helps me out a lot mate, thanks.

After a bit of googling it seems that a gigabit switch improves transfer speeds to and from devices attaches to it and that the switch should be connected directly to the router....Am I right?
The only issue I have is that my router is at 1 side of the room but my media player is at the opposite end of the room. I have an ethernet cable going from my router to my dreambox(which is next to my media player) so maybe I could disconnect the ethernet cable from the dreambox and connect it to the switch and then connect the dreambox and media player to the switch??
Could this work?
Cheers
Gaz
 

cjed

Well-known Member
After a bit of googling it seems that a gigabit switch improves transfer speeds to and from devices attaches to it and that the switch should be connected directly to the router....Am I right?

Domestic Ethernet systems generally come in two flaours nowadays, what's called Fast Ethernet (100Mbit/s) and Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbit/s). If you have a Gigabit switch you can plug Fast Ethernet devices into it. A Gigabit switch will NOT improve transfer speeds for Fast Ethernet devices, they'll still be running at 100Mbit/s, however, it WILL allow Gigabit devices to operate at higher speeds when communicating to other Gigabit devices.

The only issue I have is that my router is at 1 side of the room but my media player is at the opposite end of the room. I have an ethernet cable going from my router to my dreambox(which is next to my media player) so maybe I could disconnect the ethernet cable from the dreambox and connect it to the switch and then connect the dreambox and media player to the switch??
Could this work?

Yes, but you really want the NAS plugged into the Gigabit switch as well. Provided the NAS isn't too noisy I'd try keeping the router where it is and plugging in a Gigabit switch at the other end of your cable with the Dreambox, Media Player and NAS all plugged into the switch.

Which router do you have ? Some of the more modern ones have Gigabit ports which may make things a bit easier.
 

Gazaman

Well-known Member
Domestic Ethernet systems generally come in two flaours nowadays, what's called Fast Ethernet (100Mbit/s) and Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbit/s). If you have a Gigabit switch you can plug Fast Ethernet devices into it. A Gigabit switch will NOT improve transfer speeds for Fast Ethernet devices, they'll still be running at 100Mbit/s, however, it WILL allow Gigabit devices to operate at higher speeds when communicating to other Gigabit devices.



Yes, but you really want the NAS plugged into the Gigabit switch as well. Provided the NAS isn't too noisy I'd try keeping the router where it is and plugging in a Gigabit switch at the other end of your cable with the Dreambox, Media Player and NAS all plugged into the switch.

Which router do you have ? Some of the more modern ones have Gigabit ports which may make things a bit easier.

Thanks again mate,
Its starting to come together now:smashin:
So......Router>Ethernet cable to other side of room coming from router>dreambox,media player and NAS connected to switch?
Its actually an old sky router that I have.Its a Netgear DG934G
Gaz
 

cjed

Well-known Member
Also,would this switch be ok?? ON NETWORKS DSG005-199UKS 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Deals | Pcworld
They are in stock down the at my local currys so could pick one up today.

It's not one I'm familiar with, but should be fine. You may want to consider an 8 port version as with a 5 port you'll have :

1. Cable from router
2. Dreambox
3. Media Player
4. NAS
5. possibly temporary cable for laptop connection

If you wanted to add a TV, Blu-ray player or PVR Box at a later date then an 8 port would allow for expansion.
 

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