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Synology - DS-106 NAS Server Review

Former staff writer    -   December 28, 2006


Test Setup

For testing the DS-106 was plugged into a gigabit switch which acts as the office backbone here. All computers, as well as the central internet connection are switched via a gigabit switch. The DS-106 was simply plugged into a free port and integrated into the system and assigned an IP from the router. Every device on this network is gigabit enabled.

This is the first time we at OCC have ever had the chance to benchmark and test a NAS (Network Attached Storage). After plugging in the unit and installing the software, I took a quick jaunt through the various option screens and setup the DS-106 to what sounded best for my application. After making sure it was setup to my liking I began a series of tests that I thought would give this unit a fair test. The first test was to copy about 500Mb’s of MP3’s to the unit and after the first 5 or so had transferred I began to stream them back across the network and listen to them. The unit handled this test flawlessly, never skipping a beat, but this was to be expected. Next I chose to measure a transfer speed, as well as time and how well it handled a transfer of a large file. The file I transferred was Sin City in high definition... which is a 16GB File. At first I simply dragged and dropped it into the folder on the DS-106, and then I transferred it again using CuteFTP across the network. I recorded how long it took for each transfer and those times can be found in the following graph.

I was a little surprised to see such a difference in speeds between the two transfer methods that I used. As long as you are not using the drive you are copying from, it looks like drag and drop is the way to go.


Next on the list was to play with some of the onboard features that this unit is packing. Firstly being the built in web hosting options. When you turn on the “Enable Web Station” feature you will see a “web” folder... simply drag and drop your website into that folder and BAM, its hosted. You can then access this page by entering your IP address into your browsers URL bar (http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) and you will be brought to your index page. This feature takes ALL the hastle out of setting up a web server on another computer. With the native mysql and php support, setting up a business or personal website is a snap.

The next big thing that jumped out at me was the FTP service that this unit has. Setting up a FTP daemon on a home computer is a pain to say the least, your left jiggering with ports, and frankly all the FTP daemons out there suck. With a click of a button your new DS-106 is a FTP server. You can setup user accounts with limits, as well as quotas.. (Again all accessible via typing in your IP) In the menu to turn on the web service, there is also an option to start a photo station. When you enable this option it adds a photo folder to the root directory of the unit and when you add image(s) to that folder they are accessible via the web in a tidy little interface.

Last but not least I wanted to test the acclaimed php/mysql support that this unit has. There appeared to be no instructions on how to install/use mysql & php, like there were for other functions on the unit. I attempted making a simple test php website with links to a phpBB2 forum, Wordpress blogging software, and if I could get it to work, oscommerce. Installation of all of these test scripts was almost seamless... simply copy the install folders over as if you were doing a web install. You have to enable the web service, and then access via (http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/phpbb2) where phpbb2 is the name of your script. Follow the installation instructions for your desired script and that’s it for installation!

The unit does have mysql support, though you need to use phpmyadmin or another type of database editor to set them up properly. The only problem that I encountered while testing out these scripts was with the installation of oscommerce. Although that could also be me, as we have a long history of not liking each other. I have never been able to completely get an installation of oscommerce to work correctly, although I should note that I did get farther than I usually do with its installation on the DS-106.

Last on the list to test is the “Download Redirector” which allows you to cue up downloads on your PC, transfer that cue to the DS-106 and then shut down your PC. I tested this by cueing up about 520MB to download, then shutting off my PC for 10 minutes and turning it back on. When it rebooted I fired up the download manager and the file was still ticking away. For some this is a great feature as it will allow you to download files while using less power, as you don't need to leave your computer on in order to download a large file. By this point you are probably saying “What DOESN'T the DS-106 do?” To be honest it, does pretty much everything anyone could want in a NAS and then some.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look Continued
  3. Installation and Specifications
  4. Testing
  5. Conclusion
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