* Prices may differ from that shown
The Iomega 2TB NAS drive is a neat little Gigabit network drive with built-in print server and many other capabilities such as remote configuration, FTP, and even Torrent client built-in, automatic media upload, etc. The device is easy to configure with the included software. Once installed, it picks up what folders are on the drive and turns them into mapped drives (network drives that show up under 'My Computer' in Microsoft Windows, that to folders on your network). It starts off with folders/map drives such as Music, Movies, Backups, ActiveFolders (for FTP and Torrents, etc), etc. When the drive is offline, the mapped drives disappear, as the Iomega software monitors the drive. These separate folders/drives can all be changed, password protected, etc, as required.
USING THE NAS
The point of getting a Gigabit NAS is usually to take advantages of faster network transfer speeds and thanks to the Gigabit port on the device, speeds are good but obviously, this also depends on your network setup. To take advantage of Gigabit speeds, you would need a PC with a Gigabit port (most modern machines have this anyway), a Gigabit switch (a modern day hub), and CAT5e or CAT6 network cabling (a half a metre CAT5e cable is included). I get about 106Mbit/s write speed (used a LAN Network Test for the speed test) from my PC to the drive, which is pretty good. (Gigabit networks typically give around that speed taking everything into account. Industrial grade cabling and faster hard drives may be faster, but I'm also using cheap CAT6 network cable bought off eBay). Files transfer quickly and streaming 1080 High Definition movies stored on the drive works smoothly (using a wired connection). It also supports something called iTunes Media Server (there's a button to activate it for each folder), so the drive contents shows up in iTunes so lets you stream the music to iTunes.
I've bought one for myself (for my media and backups) and two for work (primarily for server backups). The first one I bought was a 1TB version but it had very noisy fan. I had also discovered that the 2TB one was only £22 more so got a refund and got a 2TB one instead. Work still has two of the 1TB ones as they are enough for the intended purpose. The fan (unless you have a dodgy unit with a bad bearing), is by no means silent. However, it is not too loud and quite acceptable. If you have it in your bedroom, and you need absolute silence to fall asleep, then it may be best to store the unit elsewhere unless you don't mind turning it off when not needed (the greener option). The LED light can be dimmed in the drive's configuration if that can stop you sleeping as well.
Out of the two drives I have at work, I've found one to be less reliable than the other. One seems to crash every now and again and requires a restart. Not had problems with the other. My one at home has also shown some odd symptoms and required restarting at the button. Sometimes, they can crash (at least not accessible) but the web interface remains working so the device can be restarted remotely. Luckily, it's not that often. It is possible to perform firmware updates though so this may rectify issues at later dates as Iomega release updates on the website.
It comes with a free year's subscription to a Dynamic DNS service so that you can remotely access the drive without having to remember an IP address. If you have a dynamic (IP address that can change), then this service is useful so that you can simply remember a sub domain of your choosing (depending on availability). e.g. yourname.iomegalink.com. I don't fancy paying for that after the year is up so I would stick to using a free one like No-IP to get my IP address even though I can't add the settings into the Iomega drive's settings. This means, the IP would need to update from my PC rather than the Iomega drive, which suits me fine. I did sign up for the Iomega one to try it and it works fine. To access the drive's content remotely, you would need to configure your router to forward the ports. i.e. for FTP, you'd need port 21 opened. For remote access to configure the NAS, you would need 443. The PDF user guide included on the CD gave clear instructions on how to do this in routers from different manufacturers.
The built-in Torrent client means that you do not need a Torrent client installed on your PC to download files hosted on Torrents. Simply download and save the Torrent (.torrent) file into the "Active\Torrents" folder on the Iomega drive and it will download the file (movie or whatever) automatically. This requires a quick port forward setting in your router and it can also control the Torrent download and download speed limits. The Torrent downloads / uploads can be monitored in the drive's web interface. I think this feature is rather clever and it means that I can find Torrents whilst not at home, remotely place the Torrent file into the folder so that the Iomega drive can start downloading the file right away. Clever! It also means you don't need to keep your PC on to download Torrents thus saving energy.
The drive has a built-in FTP server so you can access your files this way as well as via the web interface. This is more convenient as you can access your files using a FTP client program so you can drag and drop files in bulk. Upload speed may be a bit limiting on home broadband connections though so can take a while to download files from the drive to wherever you are unless you have a super duper broadband connection at home or wherever the drive is situated. Again, no need to leave your PC on to act as an FTP server.
As for the print server USB port, I've not managed to get this function to work (tried with a Dymo Label printer). IP address used to print to the printer is correct but still no luck. I currently have this printer networked, working with an Apple Airport Express Base Station so the Dymo works with print servers in general. The Iomega has actually detected it according to the logs so not sure why it won't print.
The drive came with EMC Retrospect Express HD backup software. This can back up your system and/or documents automatically once you create a schedule. Not sure I trust this software as clicking 'Restore' seems to crash it under Windows 7. Backups aren't useful if you can't restore! Either use something else to automate backups or just do a manual copy / paste of important documents into the Iomega NAS. Make sure you have multiple copies of important files. Offsite backups as well i.e. saved on a server elsewhere on the Internet.
Oh and the Home Page of the drive's web interface has a slide show that you can customise with your own images. Nice feature, even if not particularly useful. On top of that, you can create further folders to automatically upload photos to email distribution lists (you add emails), upload photos to Facebook , upload videos to YouTube, etc. Very clever and potentially very time saving if you do these things a lot.
- Gigabit Network speeds
- Lots of neat features
- Low price for what you're getting
- Some features could help you save electricity
- Can need restarts now and again
- Some features are a bit tricky to configure
- Included back up software isn't great (or doesn't work in Windows 7)
To conclude, the Iomega NAS is a cheap and cheerful NAS drive capable of decent speeds, has a number of neat features but may have a few little niggles (which may be rectified by future firmware updates). For the purpose of backing up and accessing media from a fast network drive, this is ideal but of course the 2TB (around £125) version, which is identical only costs a bit more so I would go for that rather than the 1TB version. Price is cheap and the remote access such as FTP and configuration is a bonus as it means you can host your files on an FTP without leaving your PC on (for those whom don't have web hosting). Can't vouch for how long it'll last as hard drives can fail but for now, recommended.
Thanks for reading
Also posted on Ciao / Amazon
Good features, but was not impressed that you had to pay a subsciption to Iomega to use the remote access function. The box does not describe this properly (it does at the base of the box, but in smaller print than a typical full stop symbol), and buried in text around where you would not expect it. So I returned it back to the supplier for a full refund.