D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure ReviewNemo - January 1, 2009
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Many users may stop after the initial setup process when they find they can use the DNS-323 as it is, but at this point the entire volume is available to anyone that has access to the network. The DNS-323 offers various options to increase the security of your data by creating users and groups, establishing usage quotas and assigning permissions to those entities. In addition, you can enable other features to share fires over the Internet, stream media across the network to a multimedia player and set up an iTunes server.
Users / Groups, Quotas and Network Access
Setting up users and groups is the key to securing files on the DNS-323. The Users / Groups page allows you to create users and groups. Groups are collections of users that allow you to set file and folder permissions without having to grant access to each user. For example, you could create user accounts for all the testers and assign them to the testers group then give the group access to the appropriate folders.
Once you have users and groups defined you can click on the Quotas option to allocate how much space each user is allowed to use. Initially all users/groups have unlimited space allocated and you can change that for either individual users, groups or both. Quotas are defined in MB, so 1000MB would be a gigabyte of space on the drive. You can also enable or disable the quota system as needed.
The final piece to the puzzle is defining the files and folders available to each group or user. Initially all users have read/write access to the entire volume. This could be dangerous so you can assign Network Access by user or group.
If all you want to do is use the DNS-323 for file storage this would be the end of the configuration process and you could skip over the rest of this page. However, you would be cheating yourself as the DNS-323 offers additional features to extend the functionality of your NAS server.
The DNS-323 can be configured to act as a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server so you can make files and folders on the box available via the Internet. This gives you the capability to access your data when you are away from home as well being able to share files with others. Unless you want to give everyone access to you data via anonymous login (probably not a good idea) you will need to have configured users as shown above. Setting up the DNS-323 for FTP access involves selecting which users can log in and which folders and the type of access (read/write) they have via FTP. In order to make this all work, you will also need to know how to forward ports on your router. All of this is covered in the manual included on the setup CD.
UPnP AV, iTunes and DHCP Servers
The DNS-323 features several additional server functions the first of which is a Univeral Plug and Play (UpnP) AV server which provides the ability to stream multimedia files to any UPnP media player on the network. Once enabled, the DNS-323 will be automatically detected by compatible players. The next server functionality is the ability to act as an iTunes server that allows the DNS-323 to share music and videos with other computers running iTunes. Once you've specified the folder containing your files, you can launch iTunes and it will detect the DNS-323 and show the files available. The DNS-323 can also act as a (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server to automatically assign IP address to network devices. This capability should only be used if there is no other DHCP server, such as a router, on your network. The final feature, new to the latest version of the firmware, is the capability to enable Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) that allows the DNS-323 to be discovered by Windows Vista and show up on Vista's network map.
If you were the comedian Tim Allen, right now you would be asking "Do you know what time it is?" and we'd all shout back "It's Tool Time!". So let's move on to the Tools tab where you take care of some of the housekeeping and maintenance chores.