Wireless Network Storage at Home
Cloud storage is a wonderful thing. If you’re paying for a decent amount of online storage (like terrabytes) and if the NBN is really on the radar for you in the foreseeable future, you probably don’t have an issue with keeping things like family photos or business data backup save.
But if you have dozens of Gigabytes of photos, or even megabytes of confidential data that you want to be able to grab on your way out of a burning house, or would just like to know is safe from a failed hard drive or dead motherboard, you may like to consider a wireless, networkable storage device, for home.
These devices are known as Network Attached Storage NAS – and can be as cheap as $100 for a couple of Terrabytes of storage. You can also spend $2000 on a business grade setup that will run a company with 25 employees or even more! The point is,for 3 or 4 people at home, they are affordable and very easy to use.
The other point is, they are wireless, so they can literally plug in to power, connect to your home’s wireless router and appear on your network for you to use for storing files like digital photos, home movies, and business related files (at least backups.)
Devices like this have truly become plug in, set up and forget – plug ‘n play – until such a time as you need to grab them in a hurry to save some precious data. You can pick them up at Office Works, JB Hi Fi or any computer stores.
Many of the devices, like my Seagate Goflex drive, come with software and also a browser console which can be used to manage the device. What this means is, there is a program you can install on one of your computers, or an address you can type into Internet Explorer, which will allow you to set up folders on the drive and configure several other settings – most importantly, the software will let you ensure the device has joined your home network, by entering your router’s password / pass phrase so that all devices joined to your home network can see this drive. This software will also let you share the folders you create, in different ways if you want to get really technical.
Once the device has joined your network it can be seen by devices on your network. Naturally, computers and laptops can browse to it, like any drive which the computer can see, but also, media streaming devices can find stored movies and TV / DVDs stored on it, iTunes can see the device meaningyou can place all your music and Apple Store purchases there too (in your iTunes library), kids can store homework there, and photos and home videos can also be stored there.
Another advantage to all this, is that when any of the above devices are changed, there is no need for a massive project to copy off all the important information to your new device. A new computer? Install iTunes again and point it to the iTunes library on the NAS. A new, Wi Fi enabled TV, or XBox, point it to your shared photos and you’re away.
Complemented by a responsible backup strategy – see previous posts on Disaster Recovery – for the really bad stuff, such a device can make life really easy for you around the home, and save some serious data loss next time a hard drive dies, the kids download trash the laptop or some other mishap occurs.