Iomega StorCenter Wireless Network Storage
- Built in wireless access point, print server, USB ports for add-on drives.
- Wireless functionality a little sluggish
The StorCenter Wireless Network Storage one of the Iomega's more interesting 1TB propositions. Its wireless functionality worked well in our tests, albeit a little slowly, and its user and server functions didn't give us any problems.
Price$ 1,238.00 (AUD)
The Iomega StorCenter Wireless Network Storage is a fairly elaborate network hard drive that's packed with features for the SOHO environment. Multiple users and user groups can be created, and shared folders can be set up for each group or user. Additionally, quotas can be set for each user, so they don't hog the entire 1TB of space, and full or partial access rights to folders can be implemented.
Unlike many network attached storage devices, this one actually has built-in wireless capabilities that allow it to be used as an access point, or simply as a client on an existing wireless network. It supports 802.11g networking and has a dual-antenna configuration. It has a built-in DHCP server, which can assign an IP address to any wireless clients that connect to it and it can support WEP, WPA or WPA2 data encryption.
As an access point, it connected without any glitches to Intel Centrino-based notebooks running at 54Mbps and using WPA encryption. Transferring data from a distance of 10m averaged a sluggish rate of 2.01MBps.
In addition to wireless networking, the StorCenter can be plugged in to an existing router using a gigabit Ethernet connection, which can yield transfer rates close to 17MBps, as long as the router that it's attached to also has gigabit Ethernet capability. Two USB ports on the back of the unit can be used to connect more hard drives or a printer. Data can be backed up from the StorCenter to other drives plugged into the USB ports, and this is easy to set up and use through the StorCenter's Web interface.
By default, the unit is set up in RAID 5 mode, which stripes data across its four 250GB hard drives, but includes parity information, which can be used to rebuild the array if one of the drives fails. Other raid arrays can be implemented, however, including RAID 0 and 1. Physically, the StorCenter is quite large, but it runs fairly quietly (it has one cooling fan for its four parallel ATA hard drives).
The drive ships with management utilities, which can be used to easily map network drives from each PC on the network. As for setting it up, the easiest way we found is to plug it into the Ethernet port of a PC, making sure the PC's network card is configured with a relevant IP address (such as 192.168.1.20) and with the StorCenter's IP as the gateway address (192.168.1.10). From here, the supplied 'discovery' software can be used to discover the drive and log into it (we weren't able to log into it until we manually configured our network adapter with the aforementioned IP addresses). All of the unit's network and user settings can be changed from the Web interface, and is reasonably well laid out.
Users that don't have experience with networking may find this type of setup procedure to be a bit of a challenge, but in saying that, this device is aimed at power users who require a manageable network storage unit for multiple users.
At the time of writing, Iomega was in the midst of launching a slew of new storage products, but this remains one of the company's more interesting 1TB propositions. Its wireless functionality worked well in our tests, albeit a little slowly, and its user and server functions didn't give us any problems.
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