Thecus N4100PRO NAS Server ReviewNemo - July 19, 2010
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Under the System Network section there are several options for making network configuration setting as well as enabling various network services such as different file sharing protocols, FTP server, iTunes support and more.
The N4100PRO is equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports designated as WAN and LAN. Both are used to connect the server to an Ethernet network through a router or switch with the difference being the WAN port is used to connect to main network that has access to the Internet. The WAN port is the topmost of the two ports on the rear panel of the N4100PRO. During the initial setup we configured the basic settings including a static IP address and the Gateway and DNS addresses. You can switch to a dynamic IP address by clicking on the Dynamic tab on under the 'Set IP address by:' section and clicking the Apply button. The server must restart itself for the change to take place.
You can also assign a different host name to the N4100PRO if desired as well as identify the Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) servers on your network. The MAC address of the server is also displayed on this page.
The N4100PRO supports a wide range of jumbo frame sizes, which is a vast improvement over what we saw when reviewed the Thecus N3200PRO. With sizes ranging from 2000 bytes to 14000 bytes in 1KB increments, you're bound to find a MTU size to fit your needs.
The IP sharing mode, when enabled, allows PCs connected to the LAN port to access the WAN. The Link Aggregation feature allows you to use both the WAN and LAN ports together. If you choose Load Balance mode, the network traffic to the server will be balanced across both ports. In Failover mode, the second port automatically takes over if the first port fails. 802.3ad mode allows you to combine the two ports for higher throughput as long as the networking equipment to which the N4100PRO is connected also supports this protocol.
As mentioned above, the second Gigabit Ethernet port on the N4100PRO is a LAN connection and can be configured in a similar fashion to the WAN port in that you can assign a fixed IP address. You can also configure the N4100PRO to act as a DCHP server on the network the server is on if needed.
Samba / CIFS
The Samba / CIFS service enables files to be shared across the network with PCs running the Windows operating system. This service is enabled on the N4100PRO by default as is the File Access Cache option. You also have the option of enabling a recycle bin on the server that will contain all deleted folders and files.
The server offers support for the Apple Filing Protocol which allows it to offer file services for computers running under Mac OS and Mac OS X. You can also set the character set as well as an AppleTalk network zone. By default the AFP server is disabled.
The N4100PRO supports the Network File System (NFS) protocol which you can enable in order to allow communication with Linux/Unix-based systems. The service is disabled by default and can be enabled by simply clicking the radio button.
Another network service available on the NAS is an FTP server. The setup is fairly simple as you can use the default port (21) or specify another of your choosing. You can enable anonymous access where no user account is required and have the server automatically rename duplicate files by checking the Auto Rename checkbox. You can also set upload and download bandwidth restrictions either unlimited or in 1MB increments up to 32 MB/s using the slider bar on the page.
The N4100PRO comes with a Media Server you can use to stream multimedia files to any stand alone media players on the network that support either the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol or adhere to the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard. The service is disabled by default so you will need to click the Enable radio button to start the service. You can then place a check next to the folders containing the media you wish to share. The system will scan the folder for media files and make them available for streaming.
HTTP / Web Disk
The server can be set up to allow multiple users to manage their files over the network or Internet using the WebDisk service. As with a lot of the other network services, WebDisk is disabled by default. You will need to enable either WebDisk or Secure WebDisk service if you want users to be able to access and manage files using their browser.
The Universal Plug and Play service supports the Media Server and also helps users locate the N4100PRO on the network. If you enable the DHCP service on the LAN connection the UPnP service will be automatically enabled.
Nysync is Thecus' version of rSync, which is a utility used for synchronizing files and directories between two computers. This is enabled by default which means you could use the N4100PRO to store files from another N4100PRO om the network.
Bonjour is Apple's implementation of Zeroconf which is used by Mac OS X to discover devices and services on the network. It is also used by iTunes to locate shared music on a network. This service is disabled by default, but you can enable it if you want iTunes on another computer on the network to automatically detect any shared music on the N4100PRO.
That exhausts the list of network services available on the N4100PRO and now it's time to move on to the Storage section where we create volumes and manage the shares on the NAS.