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Just purchased a NAS200 now what?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Network Storage Devices' started by Jonesy_sa, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. Jonesy_sa

    Jonesy_sa Addicted to LI Member

    Hey all,
    I just purchased a NAS200 as it was 2nd hand and cheap and has a Lan port which i can plug into my my wireless router. I seen reveiws of these things and people complain of slow 5mbps (is it megabytes or megabits).

    I will add a 1tb drive and add all my videos and music and probably a partition for ebooks, pdfs, and projects material im working on. I don't understand this twonky media server stuff, yes i did read their website but im new to it. I want my laptops and desktop and HTPC to read all my media and play it from my NAS200.

    I have itunes installed simply because of the Cover View which i like as it resembles a jukebox. However i have only been able to install it on the pc connected to my current USB storage which is networked via Windows simple file sharing; trying to get other pc's to read the library file etc. I was told Twonky would fix this or make it easier? How do i go about useing it or setting up my other pc's to work with twonky on my NAS200?

    Also i had originally just to update to the lattest firmware, Ver.3.4R75. However i have since seen the Jac2b firmware.

    I dont know allot about linux but a good tutorial and i should be able to have it up and running.
    I noticed Jac2b allows updating to lattest Twonkymedia server which would be important for me i assume, is their a good tutorial on how to do this. i Read the thread but dont understand the tutorial written by Jac ie what does 'create an rc.d directory in the root of your first hard disk' mean?

    Apart from the ability to update Twonky easier what does this firmware offer? I have not herd of Dropbear and all that stuff so not sure how relevant it would be to me.

    My pc's at home are all Windows based atm.
    Thanks in advance for answers to a really noob question.
  2. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a cheap but slow NAS. If the fact that it's really a 486 PC without monitor or keyboard gets you excited and makes your fingers itch to see what else this thing can do, you're in the right place :wink:. By the way it's megabytes but compared to other NAS devices or even a USB drive that's not very fast. The value is in the fact that it's a real networked computer that has tons of storage and uses little power.

    You will have no control over partitioning, but you won't miss it. You can still create separate shares for each of those things.

    The Twonky server is great if you have a standalone media player like the XBox or the PS/3. If you just want to play your media from your other computers, you don't even really need the Twonky media server so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Even your HTPC (assuming it's running Windows XP Media Center Edition or Windows Vista with Media Center) can play the media from the shared drives without using Twonky; just add the network share to your library in Media Center.

    I don't have iTunes, so I can't answer these questions; I'm pretty sure Twonky will not (now or ever) help you with your iTunes database.

    I'm working on getting OpenWRT to run on the NAS200. It may take a while because I still have very little time. Once the NAS200 is fully supported by OpenWRT, it will join dozens (if not hundreds) of other home network devices that can run OpenWRT too. That means that many applications that people have already made to run on other devices will run on the NAS200 as well. And although OpenWRT still requires you to know at least SOME things about Linux (to get things going), it's much more user friendly than Jac2b. So stay tuned :)

    I recommend trying one of the many Linux Live distros, or install Ubuntu on one of your PC's. If you don't want to run the risk of making your existing PC's unbootable, install VMWare Server, or Sun VirtualBox (both free) to install Linux in a virtual PC.

    If you want to learn what makes Linux tick, go through the Linux From Scratch electronic book (www.linuxfromscratch.org). This website basically tells you how to build your Linux system starting with nothing but a boot CD. On the other hand, LFS requires you to already know at least a little bit about the command line, so before you do this, you may want to google for a Linux command line tutorial, or a bash tutorial (bash is the most popular shell, although the NAS200 runs Busybox instead of Bash, so it doesn't have as many fancy features).

    I'm afraid there isn't. My experience is that it's usually better to keep a tutorial short and vague instead of creating a document that has every little step that's too long for anyone to read. My postings are already long enough :)

    Dropbear is a small program that lets you log in and transfer files from a remote location via a secure connection (SSH). As for all the other things you need to know: Google is your friend :)

    You're welcome. Sorry I couldn't help more, but it looks like you have a lot to learn. I sincerely hope you'll be patient enough to find out what you need to know. I also hope you don't get too discouraged when you find out that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know...

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Jonesy_sa

    Jonesy_sa Addicted to LI Member

    jac_goudsmit - You do fantastic work, and i have noticed a bit of pressure from people to get the Openwrt started. Just curious, being as busy as you are is it worth spending the time to creat a Openwrt system for a NAS with only 10/100T. Would the time be better spend on say Dlink D323 and creating a great system for that? I dont have it im just curious why i keep reading people trying to squeez ever bit out of an outdated network adaptor, or would this Openwrt free up the system and allow greater bandwidth?

    I think i might upgrade to lattest firmware and run my own folder structure to suit my Windows based pc's as i dont have UNPNP devices at this stage.
    I did see a video somewhere of someone operating their Twonky Media centre software on a HTPC via a smart phone which i thought was the coolest remote ever and would like to try one day.

    I have just been reading the online manual and it mentions a way of formating and partitioning the drives upto 4 partitions? I couldn't see much on 'creating shares' is this something seperate or is it simply creating a folder for different things?
    I have been told to always partition drives to speed up read/write times, but i rarely bothered. Initially ill start with 1 tb then as funds permit purchase another and run them in RAID 1. Are you saying is not important to partition such a large drive?
  4. jac_goudsmit

    jac_goudsmit Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    I haven't :)

    I'm mostly noticing pressure from people who want to get their favorite app working. OpenWRT should help them because most of those apps are already supported by OpenWRT or can be easily built with the OpenWRT build system.

    The power or performance of the target system (in this case the NAS200) doesn't really matter. On the contrary, it's more of a challenge to make something useful out of it. And with 8MB flash and 32MB RAM I think that's very much possible although the disk speed (the most important factor for NAS performance) is probably never going to be any higher than 4 to 6MB/sec.

    Actually I've been looking at other NAS devices for day-to-day use but I'm noticing that prices for decent-performing NASes are pretty high and the NAS200 is pretty much one of the cheapest NASes you can get. The low price is the only thing that makes up for the low performance and it gives it a chance in the market. That means hopefully Linksys won't pull the plug on it for a while, which makes more people buy it and more people will be interested in the stuff I work on, so I don't do it all for nothing.

    OpenWRT will not be able to work around hardware limitations. But it gives users the freedom to choose how they want to use the hardware. I doubt that the system is fast enough to reach the maximum speed of the 100Mbit NIC even if it's serving web pages from RAM.

    I don't remember ever reading that, and I can't imagine that the firmware would allow you to partition the hard disk any way you want. That would be a nightmare for the web GUI writers because they would have to take into account all the hundreds of ways you can partition and mount the partitions. Furthermore it just doesn't make sense for users to partition the disk because it fragments free space. Much easier to let the users create shared directories and set access rights and quotas.

    That doesn't make sense either...

    The only reason I can think of why you would want to partition a large drive would be that it takes less time to format and if something goes wrong with one of the file systems, the chance that you can fix it is higher and you won't lose your entire hard disk if you cannot fix it. Again: partitioning your hard disk fragments your free space. If you have two partitions with 9 GB free each, your 10GB file won't fit even though you have 18GB free total. But if you have one partition with directory BOB and directory TED, both Bob and Ted will have their own space for their own files (possibly even without access to each other's files) and Bob can still store that 10GB file in his space.

    I explained before that I would recommend against the use of any kind of RAID on the NAS200. First of all, it's not going to give you any speed benefits because the RAID is implemented in software. RAID0 takes care of the free space fragmentation between the two disks, but if one disk goes bad, all your data is gone. RAID1 will protect you against disk failure (of one disk), but you have to give up half your capacity. And it will give you a false sense of security: if something goes wrong with the electronics in the NAS or if it gets stolen, your data is gone too. As far as I know, the most common cause of data loss is human error, so bottom line is you still need a backup to make your data safe. So you might as well use that second disk for the backup instead of for a RAID1 array.

  5. Jonesy_sa

    Jonesy_sa Addicted to LI Member

    That's fantastic. I understand you do this for free and don't expect anything in return as it a challenge and no doubt a learning opportunity as well, however with the amounts of NAS200's being sold and the need for better firmwares you could always consider starting one of those simple websites with a donations link. I think VLC media player uses this. I doubt it would bring in much revenue but for those who feel satisfied with your hard work it may contribute towards a new toy each year.

    Thanks again!
  6. sardaukar

    sardaukar Addicted to LI Member

    I was thinking of getting one of these NAS devices, but D-Link's DNS323 (with fonz's fun_plug) is only like 50 bucks more and packs a whole lot more of punch :biggrin:


  7. Jonesy_sa

    Jonesy_sa Addicted to LI Member

    1st - Email Alerts
    I want my NAS to email me at my gmail account which uses port 465 and has no mention of smpt server details that the nas wants. The Nas also only allows port 25 and then 1025-65335 or something. How has everone got this working?

    Yeah i looked for ages for a budget nas in my state and found most of the cheaper name brands and chinese stuff plagued by poor firmware or slow performance.
    A few days after getting my Nas200 i got offered a 323 at the same price but already have this one now so will stick with it till something really worthwhile and affordable comes out! There is also the copy of the 323 which can be up to 100 cheaper im told. Here is Aus it retails rrp $300 and 323 is $350.

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