Share USB storage everywhere

It's easy and cheap to access and share your files across your network and over the 'Net, with devices that use USB drives

If you thought USB drives were only for attaching to desktop or laptop computers, think again. Various manufacturers provide ways to connect such drives to your network, so you can retrieve files stored on them from across your network, or even via the Internet.

We looked at USB storage sharing devices from Cirago, Cloud Engines, Ctera Networks, Iomega, and Seagate to see how they compare at turning an ordinary hard drive into a connected network hard drive.

Dedicated NAS boxes often have complex features and can be difficult to set up. The devices we looked at work with the USB (and in one case, eSATA) drives, flash drives, and hard drives you already own, making those drives available via the network.

Four of the five devices--all except the Cirago Network USB Storage Link--let you share files across the Internet, too. The Cirago box transforms up to four USB 2.0 drives into a local NAS system capable of serving iTunes and other media.

Iomega's iConnect Wireless Data Station can share four drives either wirelessly across your home network or across the Internet via FTP or the company's dedicated Web portal. Cloud Engines' easy-to-set-up Pogoplug offers four USB ports as well; Seagate's GoFlex Net incorporates the Pogoplug software and lets you use bare SATA drives and the company's own GoFlex drives as well as USB. Ctera Networks produces a similar, but more professional-oriented device called CloudPlug. Like Iomega's iConnect, these products use a Web portal for setup, registration, and file access. Fire up any Web browser on any PC (Windows, Linux, or Mac) from anywhere in the world, and you can access the files on the USB drives attached to these devices.

Our Top 5 chart

Whether you're looking for dead-simple setup or advanced NAS capabilities, you can find a suitable product. Here is PCWorld's list of the Top 5 USB Storage Sharing Devices:

1. Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station: Iomega's device isn't as simple as Pogoplug but offers local administration.

2. Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Net: Seagate's USB storage sharing device adds a SATA dock to the Pogoplug/USB mix.

3. Cloud Engines Pogoplug: Uncomplicated setup and a nice portal make this device an easy way to share files.

4. Ctera Networks CloudPlug: CloudPlug deploys the parent technology for Pogoplug in a less friendly form but with more features.

5. Cirago NUS1000 Network USB Storage Link: The Storage Link turns your USB drives into a local NAS box.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags storageiomegaSeagate TechnologyPersonal storage peripheralsCiragoCloud EnginesCtera Networks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Melissa J. Perenson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?