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Thread: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

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    How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking about buying a NAS and setting up a decent organised home network. At the moment I only have a desktop and a laptop, but am thinking about / planning on getting a NAS, another desktop, a new TV that will play media from a NAS / internet, and a PS3 [considers how much all that will cost and weeps!].

    I live in a house with really thick walls, so I am planning on going gigabit ethernet as its quicker than wireless! At the moment I have Orange broadband, but the speed is quite slow where i live, so I am thinking about switching to Virgin who do a cable service in my area. So whatever network / NAS solution I get, it needs to be quite adaptable!

    In terms of a NAS, I would ideally like something with:
    • at least 2 hard disks (for a mirror raid)
    • the ability to attach a USB hard disk
    • an NTFS file system so I can copy the contents off / to either of the hard disks in a PC
    • Gigabit ethernet connection

    Other things it might be nice to have (but not absolutely necessary):
    • An iTunes server (although i have no idea how that works: I have an iphone and my wife has an ipod, but I've never really looked into howthe itunes servers work - maybe someone can elaborate?!
    • Possibly the ability to host web pages / an ftp site or something; again, I've not really looked into this, but i am interested in trying it!
    • Printer server
    • Some kind of skype functionality

    The way i see my self setting it up to give the most flexibilty is to use the ISP provided router / modem (with the wireless that comes with every ISP modem/router) and use a couple of hubs to connect the NAS, a bit like this:

    Code:
                         Internet
                            |
                            |
                         ISP Modem----built in wireless--->[laptop / iPhone / anything else]
                            |
                            |
          Laptop------Gigabit Hub------TV
    (occasionally)    (downstairs)-------PS3
                            |
                            |
         Desktop 1----Gigabit Hub---Desktop 2
                      (upstairs)
                            |
                            |
                           NAS
    If this set-up will work, I would like to leave dynamic DNS on using the ISP router/modem as the DNS server.

    Can anyone see any moajor problems with my propsed set up, and also can anyone suggest a NAS that fits my requirements?

    Another option might be to build a dedicated server - possibly running windows home server, but i think this might end up being more expensive and less reliable than the a dedicated NAS - anyone care to comment?

    All comments welcome, thanks in advance!!

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    looks fine, do you mean DHCP?

    Also I think you mean switch, not hub.
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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Not sure if I understand the NTFS point, can you elaborate?

    What kind of Skype functionality you have in mind? I'm pretty sure that none of the NAS providers mention Skype.. Look at your telly instead?

    iTunes server allows you to play music via iTunes clients on your network, it appears under 'Shared' and you have access to your music as if it was on your PC.

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    looks fine, do you mean DHCP?
    Yes, sorry, I mean DHCP not DNS!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Also I think you mean switch, not hub.
    Well this is where my lack of network knowledge shows!! Whats the difference, and why does it need to be a hub not a switch?!

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Switch is more intelligent and doesn't broadcast on all ports lol

    I don't think you can get GigE hub anyway?

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_ View Post
    Not sure if I understand the NTFS point, can you elaborate?
    A lot of the NAS's I have seen use some kind of Linux as the OS and therefore the disks are not formatted with NTFS. Ideally, I would like it to have and NTFS disk so I can store large files on it, and also so that I can take it out of the NAS and put it into a PC if I need to copy a large amount of data onto or off the disk. But, if the speed over gigabit ethernet is really good, then there may be no need for the 'hot swappable' disk, as long as it can store large (~ 4GB) files.

    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_ View Post
    What kind of Skype functionality you have in mind? I'm pretty sure that none of the NAS providers mention Skype.. Look at your telly instead?
    Yeah, I wasn't sure if this was going to be possible!! I was just thinking about my Orange Live Box that has the 'second line' on it and wasn't sure if there was some kind of similar featiure on any of the NAS's. its not a show stopper! Good point about the TV - i think Pansonic have some that can do that, I'll have to investigate.

    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_ View Post
    iTunes server allows you to play music via iTunes clients on your network, it appears under 'Shared' and you have access to your music as if it was on your PC.
    Ah, thanks for the iTunes server explanation; as simple as that, eh?!! One quick question on that: I occasionally have to go away with work for long periods of time, and I take my laptop with me with films & music on it. Is this likely to cause problems if I sync my iPhone to the laptop when the shared music / films aren't there (as I'm not connected to the network), or is iTunes clever-er than that?!!

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_ View Post
    Switch is more intelligent and doesn't broadcast on all ports lol

    I don't think you can get GigE hub anyway?
    Ha ha!! OK - I'm not sure but i thought i saw a GigE hub somewhere - maybe it was just my imagination!! So a switch is just a more intelligent hub, makes sense! If it doesn't broadcast on all ports, does that mean its basically more secure?

    Also, are all GigE switches bi-directional (or whatever the phrase is!), as in do they operate at gig speed in both directions simultaneously, or is that way more expensive?

    EDIT: Jut noticed my sig is well out of date - better adjust that at some point!!

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    If it doesn't broadcast on all ports, does that mean its basically more secure?
    It means that if your PC is connected to port 1 and your laptop to port 2 on the switch they talk to each other directly. Like the other ports never existed. Hubs aren't that clever and basically broadcast until they find the receivers. Very lousy explanation that is lol

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    A lot of the NAS's I have seen use some kind of Linux as the OS and therefore the disks are not formatted with NTFS. Ideally, I would like it to have and NTFS disk so I can store large files on it, and also so that I can take it out of the NAS and put it into a PC if I need to copy a large amount of data onto or off the disk. But, if the speed over gigabit ethernet is really good, then there may be no need for the 'hot swappable' disk, as long as it can store large (~ 4GB) files.
    Right, Linux files systems i.e. ext3/ext4/zfs are way more capable than NTFS will ever be..
    4GB limit in a single file applies to FAT32 file system.
    As you already said most NAS'es run some sort of Linux which almost excludes NTFS as a OS file system, not necessarily as supported file system.
    You've mentioned you want to mirror drives in your NAS - this point on its own excludes possibility of removing drive(s) from the NAS and attaching it to your PC to copy data. This simply doesn't make much sense... NAS OS controls the mirroring and you cannot just pull the drive like that. You can copy stuff over the network instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    Ah, thanks for the iTunes server explanation; as simple as that, eh?!! One quick question on that: I occasionally have to go away with work for long periods of time, and I take my laptop with me with films & music on it. Is this likely to cause problems if I sync my iPhone to the laptop when the shared music / films aren't there (as I'm not connected to the network), or is iTunes clever-er than that?!!
    I don't think you can sync shared music via iTunes server to your iPhone... You can stream it but not sure about syncing.

    Some NAS boxes made by QNAP/Synology offer appa for iPhones btw.

    If you want to stream music from your home network while you're away you need to look at VPN solutions...

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    Also, are all GigE switches bi-directional (or whatever the phrase is!), as in do they operate at gig speed in both directions simultaneously,
    Its called duplex and yes switch will be fully capable of running all ports on full duplex [or bi-directional if you like]

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_ View Post
    It means that if your PC is connected to port 1 and your laptop to port 2 on the switch they talk to each other directly. Like the other ports never existed. Hubs aren't that clever and basically broadcast until they find the receivers. Very lousy explanation that is lol

    Right, Linux files systems i.e. ext3/ext4/zfs are way more capable than NTFS will ever be..
    4GB limit in a single file applies to FAT32 file system.
    As you already said most NAS'es run some sort of Linux which almost excludes NTFS as a OS file system, not necessarily as supported file system.
    You've mentioned you want to mirror drives in your NAS - this point on its own excludes possibility of removing drive(s) from the NAS and attaching it to your PC to copy data. This simply doesn't make much sense... NAS OS controls the mirroring and you cannot just pull the drive like that. You can copy stuff over the network instead.

    I don't think you can sync shared music via iTunes server to your iPhone... You can stream it but not sure about syncing.

    Some NAS boxes made by QNAP/Synology offer appa for iPhones btw.

    If you want to stream music from your home network while you're away you need to look at VPN solutions...

    Its called duplex and yes switch will be fully capable of running all ports on full duplex [or bi-directional if you like]
    Ha Ha!! Thanks for the info. Right, so GigE is fast enough so i dont need to attach the drive to my PC to copy the files, and it wouldn't work anyway because of the RAID mirror. Linux OS will allow file sizes of larger than 4GB. iTunes server may be an issue with regards to syncing shared music, but thats not the end of the world. Switches will be duplex.

    OK, cool, now that i have more of a clue about what i need: can anyone suggest any suitable switches and/or NAS's for me - they obviously need to be able to handle DNLA so io can share my medial around the house?

    Or is aWindows Home server a good way of doing the NAS part of it?

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Big vote here for home server; It'd do your NAS functionality in it's sleep. It'd happily be a media portal, give you a solid backup solution, easy to manage shared files, a free SSL'd web portal access to your files and DDNS too.

    Depending on your timescales, you may want to hang on as it's just in the process of getting a rewrite; You should still be able to pick up a free 30 day eval version from MS here.

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Thanks for the tip about the re-write Jiff - any idea when the new version will be out? it seems silly to fork out for the current version if there is a newer one about to come out!!

    Also, what are the hardware requirements like? I have some old motherboard bits lying around, but I don't think it would be a very environmetlaly friendly set up, and the motherboard is about 10 years old so probably wont even be supported, or be able to get drivers for it!

    I have seen a couple of adverts for Asus dedicated home servers but it might be easier / cheaper to build my own. Any thoughts?

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    OK,

    I've been looking into the windows home server, and it does look good, but i have a few concerns:

    1. It isn't DNLA compliant out of the box: you have to buy and install a 3rd party app.
    2. It doesn't have support for RAID either, it uses some kind of MS proprietory system instead.

    I'm not sure if either of these are going to be in the new version (anyone know when its going to be out?), but the new version will be 64-bit only and therefore I will need to buy new hardware, i think (the bits i've got lying around may be 64 bit, but are all v old, so prob wont have drivers!).

    Back to the other bit - what switches to use? Can anyone reccommend some for me - I've seen a couple - they'll need to be DLNA certified and have 4 or so GbE ports on each.

    Cheers!

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    1. It isn't DNLA compliant out of the box: you have to buy and install a 3rd party app.
    2. It doesn't have support for RAID either, it uses some kind of MS proprietory system instead.

    Back to the other bit - what switches to use? Can anyone reccommend some for me - I've seen a couple - they'll need to be DLNA certified and have 4 or so GbE ports on each.
    Just buy a dedicated NAS? I’m on my second Thecus and they do everything you want and more. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more but it’s less hassle with a small footprint (compact cases).

    All Thecus units should be DLNA compatible. Both my N5200 and N7700 are and were tested with streaming directly (well, over homeplugs) to my Yamaha AVR which is DLNA certified as well.

    Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and JBOD without the need to mess around with any BIOS settings first. Just load the tray and everything is web GUI driven.

    Most switches within a similar price bracket use the same 1 or 2 chipsets so just go for a reliable brand. The switch doesn’t need to be DLNA certified as that’s merely a communication format. Binary is binary as far as the switch is concerned.

    The main difference between Thecus and other popular brands like QNAP, etc. is the support for XFS (and ZFS if that’s your thing). Recent models may be different but when I was looking earlier in the year the equivalent QNAP servers didn’t offer XFS. XFS has some nice performance advantages when dealing with large files.

    Hitting on your original requirements: (based on Thecus NAS – Not saying they’re the best, just the only ones I personally have experience with)
    - Can support 2 to 8 drives depending on model and how deep your pockets are.
    - USB two way copy from front panel.
    - File system is EXT3/4, XFS, ZFS but it won’t matter. Moving data will “convert” it to whatever native format you like.
    - Gigabit support.
    - The newer models all have iTunes server support. Allows you to browse to and stream music from the NAS directly to the iProduct.
    - Most if not all models support FTP (not full SFTP without modification), Web hosting, MySQL, and IP Webcam via modules available for free download.
    - Most if not all models (definitely the higher range) can act as a print server.
    - No Skype support that I’m aware of but not sure why that would be needed?

    I recently sold my N5200BR Pro that does all of the above, otherwise I’d ask if you were interested .

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Am also looking for a new home NAS that must support RAID. Also have a PS3. Would love to hear recommendations particularly around NAS and PS3 compatibility. I am considering stuff like:

    1. Netgear's RND2000 ReadyNAS (£130)
    2. Icy Box IB-NAS5220-B (£110)
    3. 1TB Buffalo Linkstation Duo 2xSata NAS (£156)

    HDD's are cheap. £33 delivered for a 500GB drive for example.

    Warning: I notice there are a gazillion warnings and posts from Thecus users (e.g. the N299 unit) stating they do not play well with the PS3 at all e.g. will not stream MP3 or video to the PS3. So I have excluded Thecus from my shortlist. No smoke without fire.

    This may interest you in your networking quest: I run ethernet around the home over the mains power using "Comtrend powerline" units. They are excellent and I recommend them - I find them to be 100% reliable, set and forget. Throughput spec of these particular adapters is "200Mbps" so it isn't up to wired gigE speed, but more then enough for my media streaming to PS3 and stuff. They are about GBP40.00 a pair on eBay so very inexpensive.

    HTH,
    -Mez

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    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbait View Post
    Just buy a dedicated NAS? I’m on my second Thecus and they do everything you want and more. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more but it’s less hassle with a small footprint (compact cases).

    All Thecus units should be DLNA compatible. Both my N5200 and N7700 are and were tested with streaming directly (well, over homeplugs) to my Yamaha AVR which is DLNA certified as well.

    Support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, and JBOD without the need to mess around with any BIOS settings first. Just load the tray and everything is web GUI driven.

    Most switches within a similar price bracket use the same 1 or 2 chipsets so just go for a reliable brand. The switch doesn’t need to be DLNA certified as that’s merely a communication format. Binary is binary as far as the switch is concerned.

    The main difference between Thecus and other popular brands like QNAP, etc. is the support for XFS (and ZFS if that’s your thing). Recent models may be different but when I was looking earlier in the year the equivalent QNAP servers didn’t offer XFS. XFS has some nice performance advantages when dealing with large files.

    Hitting on your original requirements: (based on Thecus NAS – Not saying they’re the best, just the only ones I personally have experience with)
    - Can support 2 to 8 drives depending on model and how deep your pockets are.
    - USB two way copy from front panel.
    - File system is EXT3/4, XFS, ZFS but it won’t matter. Moving data will “convert” it to whatever native format you like.
    - Gigabit support.
    - The newer models all have iTunes server support. Allows you to browse to and stream music from the NAS directly to the iProduct.
    - Most if not all models support FTP (not full SFTP without modification), Web hosting, MySQL, and IP Webcam via modules available for free download.
    - Most if not all models (definitely the higher range) can act as a print server.
    - No Skype support that I’m aware of but not sure why that would be needed?

    I recently sold my N5200BR Pro that does all of the above, otherwise I’d ask if you were interested .
    Hi Bugbait,

    Thanks for the info - i am kind of swaying back and forth between a NAS and a home server!! The Thecus ones you reccommended are a bit out of my price range - the N5200 and N7700 seem to be going for around £400 and £600 new respectively - thats quite a bit more than I am hoping to spend (about £150-200)!!!

    The thing that is bugging me about windows home server is the lack of RAID. Is the MS version, Drive Extender, as good as RAID - it seems to be more flexible, but that doesn't make it better?!! Any thoughts?

    Also, I have seen a couple of relatively cheap switches, but in the comments of one (here) a couple of people say it doesn't support uPnP or DLNA. Is this right that some dont support these technologies, or has the poster got it wrong?

    Cheers!

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      • Samsung 960 EVO 500GB, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB, SS 1TB, WD 2TB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce WB Xtreme Edition
      • PSU:
      • Antec HCP-850 Platinum
      • Case:
      • Corsair Obsidian 900D (Dual D5 in series: 120.7 - EX360 + EX480) Noctua F & P12 Fans
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • LG 31MU97
      • Internet:
      • VM Cable (100Meg)

    Re: How to set up my home network & what NAS to get...??

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    The Thecus ones you reccommended are a bit out of my price range - the N5200 and N7700 seem to be going for around £400 and £600 new respectively - thats quite a bit more than I am hoping to spend (about £150-200)!!!
    Have you considered used? I sold my N5200BR Pro (basically the top model of the 3 you can get) for £250. You can always look into the 3 and 4 bay solutions to reduce the price, more so if purchased second hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    The thing that is bugging me about windows home server is the lack of RAID. Is the MS version, Drive Extender, as good as RAID - it seems to be more flexible, but that doesn't make it better?!! Any thoughts?
    I haven’t played around with Drive Extender version 1 or 2 but Anandtech did a short preview here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3677/w...r-v2-dissected. Something regarding performance here: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r210...g-my-transfers.

    TBH, it sounds a bit rubbish.

    Quote Originally Posted by cocksy_boy View Post
    Also, I have seen a couple of relatively cheap switches, but in the comments of one (here) a couple of people say it doesn't support uPnP or DLNA. Is this right that some dont support these technologies, or has the poster got it wrong?
    I’m not a network specialist but I’ve never even thought about a switch supporting a particular communication format. As far as I’m aware a network packet is a network packet, ie. It’s all binary and the switch doesn’t care. DLNA and uPnP are communication formats as far as I’m aware and it really shouldn’t matter. Having said that and assuming what I just wrote is a load of BS, just get some ZyXel switches. The 5 (Gigabit) port is £21.37 and 8 port is £29.95 from Scan. I use the 5 port ones and have never had any problems. I use a Gigabit connection for all the devices in the same room (PC to NAS is 55+ MB/sec write and 80+ MB/sec read) and it streams to my Yamaha AVR via DLNA without issue.

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