NAS for the home
- RAID capability, UPnP/FTP/iTunes server, 4TB capacity
- Some design flaws, no USB drive backup
The DNS-343 is a simple to use NAS device that is also easy to set up. It doesn’t offer anything unique, but it's largely well-designed and is a decent option for the tech-savvy and novices alike.
Price$ 800.00 (AUD)
D-Link's flagship network attached storage (NAS) device is the DNS-343, a four-bay SATA enclosure with versatile configuration options to suit the storage needs of homes and small offices. There are some design flaws, but well-integrated maintenance features make this a good unit to simply set up and leave.
The DNS-343 supports up to four SATA drives with a maximum capacity of 4TB in a variety of configurations, including linear, JBOD, and RAID 0, 1 and 5. A Gigabit Ethernet port facilitates data transfer; a single USB port allows printer sharing and UPS monitoring, but unfortunately the device doesn't support backing up USB drives like the Synology DS207+ does.
The DNS-343's case has some troubling design flaws. Rather than using a hinged door as found in most NAS devices, the DNS-343's face plate must be completely removed. The NAS doesn't use drive-carry trays either — each drive is placed directly into the SATA slots, with minimal physical support for the drive. Ejecting a drive requires the user to flick a hinge on the back of the device. This makes for easy hot swapping, but it is an odd design choice.
Although the DNS-343 has an OLED screen, this only serves to provide a status report on drive and server health. Most configuration is conducted through the embedded Web server. The configuration page is well laid out and easy to use, even the non-tech savvy, thanks to an easy setup wizard and step-by-step RAID configuration. Users can also configure the DNS-343's server capabilities, including remote FTP, UPnP AV, an iTunes server, and basic administrative settings such as individual drive quotas and network access settings.
Drive setup is quick and painless. The DNS-343 was quick at formatting several 1TB drives in both JBOD and a RAID 1 configuration. It isn't easy to configure differently sized drives even in a simple linear configuration, so users should use identical disks in the device. Drive mapping is easily accomplished using D-Link's provided software; users are only required to select a drive letter.
An increasingly common aspect of NAS devices aimed at home users are remote download and scheduling features. Most devices opt for BitTorrent or similar P2P integration, but the DNS-343 is restricted to basic FTP and HTTP download scheduling. Still, users who do want to use this can easily configure their desired settings through the device's Web server, determining download times and locations.
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