Network storage for home NAS: main features, ranking of the best, tips and reviews from owners

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Network storage for home NAS: main features, ranking of the best, tips and reviews from owners
Network storage for home NAS: main features, ranking of the best, tips and reviews from owners

In an age of high-resolution photos and near-constant video capture, storage space on PCs and mobile devices is filling up faster than ever. Although you can use an external hard drive to upload and backup files from your computer (and, accordingly, from your phone). If you turn off your hard drive and leave it at the office, you won't be able to access these files from home. There are ways to allow other users to share and access files on a hard drive, but they can be difficult to implement or pose a security risk. NAS storage for the home is a great solution. This is a multi-carrier module.

As the name suggests, a NAS is a high-capacity storage that connects to a home or office network so that users and their designated guests can access files from mobile devices and PCs without being connected to the drive. Here's what you need to know to choose the right device.

What is used for

NAS storage forat home for a variety of purposes. It is mainly used in business and software development. However, storage is often used at home. Once the user decides that they need to store files on a network drive, they will need to decide what to do with them in order to understand what type of NAS is suitable.

quality equipment
quality equipment

For example, sharing Office files such as spreadsheets and Word documents with colleagues is a simple task for a NAS. If a customer is using the NAS to back up laptops overnight, that's pretty easy too. But if a user is simultaneously streaming HD video over their home network to two tablets, a laptop, and a Smart TV, a NAS with higher specifications for memory, processor, and networking capabilities will be needed. You will also need a more powerful NAS if you need to store large media libraries, such as a collection of 100,000 photos for a graphics studio.

Like any computer peripheral, the features offered by different NAS boxes vary greatly to meet these requirements. Therefore, you need to understand the terms and functions of the device before you go shopping.

Buying basics

Because a home storage NAS device is at its simplest level a small container for a hard drive or drives (with some extra intelligence), the number one specificity for any NAS device is its potential storage capacity, determined by the number of drive bays that it includes. AtMost consumer and home office devices have one or two bays, while office models have four or more. But this is not an absolute guideline.

Internal structure
Internal structure

Usually experts in home NAS reviews do not recommend using single bay drives unless they are strictly used for backing up data that will also reside on computers on the network. Some single bay drives will allow you to connect a second device or external hard drive for this purpose.

Most home users who don't have video storage can be fine with a dual-bay device, provided they purchase large enough drives from the start.

Full or diskless system

Some home storage NAS drives are sold with pre-populated drives, often pre-formatted for use in a particular RAID configuration, while others come "diskless". Each equipment supplier has its own trends in this regard.

But there's a caveat - drive manufacturers who are also hard drive manufacturers (Seagate, Western Digital) prefer pre-filled drives for obvious reasons - they market their own hard drives when they sell such equipment. When assembling a NAS storage for your home with your own hands, you should keep this in mind.

Modern design
Modern design

Other manufacturers who are notDrive manufacturers such as Synology and QNAP are more likely to sell their devices without drives, although they (or more specifically their resellers) may also offer devices pre-filled and equipped with drives for customer convenience.

If this NAS is offered in both pre-populated and diskless form, experts recommend checking the cost difference and making sure the drives featured in the pre-filled model are available at a reasonable price. With fill-only drives from Seagate and WD, the cost of internal drives is typically much lower than the cost of the storage devices themselves.

Which discs to use internally

When assembling a NAS-storage for the home with your own hands, you need to decide on the type of disks. Manufacturers that sell diskless drives recommend specific drive models or families that have been tested for use with their drives. These models either match the hard drives they actually manufacture or they don't. You should take a look at these drive compatibility lists before purchasing. If there is already a bank of hard drives that the user intends to install, this compatibility check needs to be done. If the hard drives are not listed, it does not mean that they will not work, but if you are buying new drives, it is best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Quick change
Quick change

Home NAS has a separate storage specification. Some drives from HGST, Seagate,Toshiba and WD are marked specifically for use with remote access. Most of these NAS-certified hard drives have been tested to run 24/7/365, well above the standard consumer-grade drives.

Seagate IronWolf 12TB hard drive

If you look at Seagate drives, NAS-class drives are called the IronWolf and IronWolf Pro lines. IronWolf straight drives are just what you need to equip your NAS drives at home. At the moment they have a capacity of 1 to 14 TB. IronWolf Pro drives are designed to be serviced in corporate or commercial environments. HGST drives are the Deskstar NAS line and Toshiba is in the N series. For Western Digital, NAS drives are characterized by WD Red from 1TB to 10TB, while WD Red Pro series is for enterprise use.

Safe (storage) space

Blocks with more than one drive are designed to be redundant, so in two or four drive configurations, the extras can simply mirror the contents of another drive. When assembling a NAS storage with your own hands, this point is considered especially important.

For example, a device with two bays and two 4TB drives can only offer 4TB of available storage if left in mirror mode. The other drive is somewhat invisible as it is used to create a second copy of all files from the other drive in the background.

Compact dimensions
Compact dimensions

Usually the user has the optionreconfigure the drives to get the capacity of the second drive, if needed. One way to do this is "striping", where the data will span both drives. In some cases, this increases read and write speed as the user accesses two drives at the same time. But if one of the disks fails, all data can be lost, so this approach is not recommended. This substantially doubles the risk of system failure.

Many NAS devices also support JBOD ("Just a set of disks") mode, which allows you to address each disk as a separate drive letter and save data to separate disks inside the NAS box. This is slightly safer than simple striping, but any data that is stored on a given disk is still vulnerable to failure by this particular mechanism. You can often see this mentioned in NAS reviews.

It is also possible to combine striping and mirroring on three or more drives to improve data speed and security. With this arrangement, the NAS will copy data across the disk array in such a way that the failure of one of the disks will allow the NAS to rebuild the array (and therefore retain the data) if the client replaces the disk with another. This is mainly of interest to business users who need to maximize redundancy and data transfer rates.

Streaming media niceties

If the user believes that NAS storage will allow you to transfer any type of media files to any device or TV, it should be borne in mind that somedevices will only play certain types of files and will require joint software and hardware to do so.

Availability of ports
Availability of ports

For example, a DVD copy of an AVI movie will not open on an iPhone without some additional codec. It must be in MP4 format to be recognized. Software can work around this issue, such as the VLC Media Player utility. Additionally, some NAS devices work with Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Android phones/tablets, and other types of equipment. However, it is difficult to guarantee that a certain file or file type will play on a given device, so you should carefully study the NAS specifications to determine its capabilities.

Connectors and controls

Most NAS drives have one or two USB ports that can be used to connect a printer or external drives, allowing them to be added to the network through the NAS itself. Once connected, like everything else on the NAS, they can be accessed by everyone on the network.

Some NAS devices also have a "Copy" button on the front panel for copying the contents of an external drive, such as a flash drive, to the NAS with the push of a button. NAS drives come with an Ethernet port, possibly two for redundancy or link bonding (essentially using two Ethernet connections for speed) with very high end business models.

Remote access

In addition to the abovesharing features, most drives allow you to send web links to users so that they can remotely access specific files or folders located on the drive. So a home NAS storage can work like your own Dropbox or Google Drive, but with much more storage capacity and no monthly costs.

Numeric panel
Numeric panel

With this feature, you can also access the NAS itself from any internet connection, not just your local network. The result is the ability to download the files you need on the go, or stream movies or music files stored on your home network storage to a laptop in a hotel across the country or around the world, depending on the network bandwidth.

Below will be the rating of NAS-NAS for the home according to users and experts.

1. Synology DiskStation DS718 +


  1. Easy to install.
  2. Offers 4K video transcoding.
  3. Supports multiple RAID configurations.
  4. Many ports to connect.
  5. Many applications.


Not supplied with hard drives

Summary: The Synology DiskStation DS718+ is an all-in-one, feature-packed dual-drive NAS that delivers consistent performance.

2. Synology DiskStation DS218j


  1. Very easy to install and manage.
  2. Reliable applications.
  3. Stylish design.
  4. Poreasonable price is on sale.


  1. Average file transfer speed in testing.
  2. Not supplied with hard drives.

Summary: Synology DiskStation DS218j is a great entry-level 2-bay NAS device supported by a variety of management options and third-party apps.

3. Synology DiskStation DS418play


  1. Easy to install.
  2. Drive sledge that allows you to install a hard drive without additional tools.
  3. Dual LAN ports.
  4. Generous app catalog.
  5. Good file transfer performance.


  1. Long parity check procedure.
  2. Storage drives not included.

Summary: Four-bay Synology DiskStation DS418play is a multimedia network attached storage (NAS) that offers a variety of applications, tool-free disk access and relatively high performance.

4. Asustor AS3202T


  1. Fast quad-core Intel processor.
  2. Supports many common applications.
  3. Supports 4K HDMI video output.


  1. Requires download and installation of most services, including media servers and download managers.
  2. Uses multiple mobile apps instead of a single mobile interface.

Summary: Asustor AS3202T is a powerful file server and NAS, but it requires a lot of effort and additional utilities touse all your multimedia features.

5. Asustor AS6302T


  1. 4K video output.
  2. USB Type-C connection.
  3. User-friendly web and mobile apps for management.
  4. Supports many third party applications.


  1. Dear.
  2. Average file transfer speeds.
  3. Picky installation process.

Summary: This equipment got into the rating of NAS storages due to its wide functionality. It's a dual-bay device that offers a great selection of ports and feature sets, but it's tricky to install and file transfer speeds are mediocre.

6. Promise Apollo


  1. Easy to install, access and share.
  2. Automatically downloads videos and photos from your phone's camera.


  1. Weak system.
  2. Cannot map drive for direct access.
  3. Must use apps to access storage.

Summary: The 4TB Promise Apollo is a personal cloud device that connects to your router and automatically downloads and saves photos and videos from your smartphone or tablet to free up more space on your devices.

7. Promise Apollo Cloud 2 Duo


  1. Easy to install and use.
  2. Stylish design.
  3. Mobile and web user interface.
  4. Auto backup camera.


  1. Difficult access todiscs.
  2. Average file transfer performance.

Summary: The Promise Apollo Cloud 2 Duo is a stock, good-looking device that offers plentiful and easy-to-use personal cloud storage, albeit a little slower than the competition. However, its functionality and affordability are at the level of QNAP NAS storage.

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