Blogger
Share this content
0
25
3170

simple home network

i am working from home with my wife, both part time and on separate laptops as i am away a lot during the.

We end up working for the same client on separate items - eg she does the VAT and i do the paye. This leads to us having a copy of the client's folder on each laptop but with data out of synch and having to manually back up on a portable HD then synch with the other laptop etc

tried setting up a 'pogo plug' a while back but that failed as the internet connection was not available or requires login all the time, so a bit unfriendly for day to day stuff. Great if you want to share multimedia...

I am looking for a simple plug and play network drive which does not require proprietary interfaces to use it, i just want to see it as another drive in 'my computer'. I would also like to access it via the internet when away.

Does anyone have experience of any like that?

many thanks

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

You need a NAS or maybe not!

One option is a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device.

Such a device will provide you with local storage, shared on your network i.e. can be accessed by anyone on the LAN. Also, such devices often have the features that allow you to access them remotely though the setup of that can be a little tricky because often you have to setup rules within your router's firewall.

There are many makes of NAS and you could walk into PC World and buy one. Personally I find Synology's NAS to be excellent devices with a particularly good user interface (some makes have very poor user interfaces). See http://www.synology.com.

You can choose from various models and if you wish choose a RAID version (with two disks for greater resilience to hard disk failure). This model is a 2 bay (2 disk) model http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=DS212j&lang=us

This link http://www.synology.com/support/wheretobuy.php?lang=enu&country=GBR shows where you can buy them. NB You choose the disk capacity you want, so you have to choose the disk drives you want, as well as the device. A very flexible solution.

Alternatively to all this and perhaps simpler, you could just buy some cloud based storage eg from www.livedrive.com which would be accessible from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.

Sorry for long answer to a short question, hope it helps.

Remember, you need to backup your data offsite one way or another!

Captain

 

Thanks (1)
24th Mar 2012 09:44

We use a combination

We have a NAS Drive in the office, which is backed up to cloud based storage, and the cloud based storage keeps a USB drive that is attached to my home PC synchronised. This is useful for the odd occasions I work from home, and I also have the 'up to date' USB drive that I can take into the office in the event of the office NAS drive being totally incapacitated.

It works pretty well, and takes away worries about data loss.

Thanks (0)

Excellent combination!

ShirleyM's solution is the best of both worlds because:

1) the local NAS device will offer a fast response as it's on your LAN (better than accessing large files over the internet)

2) the cloud storage / backup gives you the vital offsite backup.

Captain.

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
24th Mar 2012 12:32

Dropbox.com is perfect. You install it on both laptops - it will automatically synch so both laptops always have the latest version and it keeps a cloud copy which you can access from any other computer.

Free version is perfectly adequate for storage of most documents.

Oh, and it keeps an online history of changes to a document so if you accidentally overwrite something you can just download an older version.

I have all my clients using it too (if they join via a referral link it increases your free storage capacity every time).  Then they & I can share files easily (eg those that maintain their own sage records save a backup & I can then retrieve it from the shared folder and restore my end).

I love  it - has bailed me out too many times to mention.

Tracy

Thanks (0)
24th Mar 2012 13:28

I left Dropbox

Dropbox wouldn't back up a NAS drive unless you used third party software, and that was getting a bit too complex for me.

We initially had our data on our PC's and allowed Dropbox to keep them syncronised, but Dropbox just stopped working one day and we kept reloading it but it never worked properly again ... even though we had paid all our bills :). We use SpiderOak now, and this works fine with a NAS drive.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By JipD
08th Dec 2013 16:57

SpiderOak
Hi ShirleyM
We are using SpiderOak also for backup and synchro several laptops but have not been able to connect Synology-Nas to SpiderOak. Are you able to refer to info on how to setup the Nas for SpiderOak?

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Mar 2012 06:49

we need this for day to day stuff. drop box would be fine but what if the internet connection drops

is there anything that does not require a user interface and just gives you access straight from my computer without any other steps in between?

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Mar 2012 08:56

See answer 1

I think Captainblack summed it up well.  If you buy an NAS drive (We use Synology too) you just plug into it with your network cable, or access it via your WI-Fi, and it will be just another hard drive to your (and your wife's) computer. You both then use that drive to save the file / data. 

 It can also be set up to be accessed via the internet (remotely).  You will probably need some assistance in configuring this for your own particular circumstances - do you know a local IT guru?  Using it as a network drive (without the internet) is pretty straightforward, though.

Thanks (1)
avatar
27th Mar 2012 09:01

thanks everybody, will have a look

Thanks (0)

Network Drive

Alanhone points out that the NAS (network drive) can be accessed via being plugged into a spare Ethernet (network) socket on your router or, via WiFi.

The plugged in approach is to be preferred for a NAS device, both for better performance and stability (no dropped WiFi connections).

I would get a NAS solution but don't forget your offsite backups.

Good luck!

Captain

Thanks (0)

I don't think we answered this question:

"is there anything that does not require a user interface and just gives you access straight from my computer without any other steps in between?"

There are simple "network disk" solutions you could buy from the likes of PC World or off the Internet but they will all tend to have some form of user interface. Bear in mind you need not use the interface every day, it's a setup thing. The point being made earlier (about Synology) is that their user interface is particularly good and easy to use. Some can be a little "crude".

See http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/network-hard-drives/720_7067_70072_xx_xx/x...

The Western Digital "My Book" is a good example of a straightforward "network disk".

Captain

Thanks (0)
avatar
28th Mar 2012 09:07

looks good, as long as I do not have to go through an interface each time i do something

we will be using to straight work off it everyday 

many thanks

Thanks (0)

No you won't

No, the 'interface' is for setup and configuration, turning options on & off, etc, not for day-to-day use. The NAS will just look like another drive on your two other computers.

Captain

Thanks (1)
avatar
28th Mar 2012 14:45

that's great - will give it a go

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
By gitom
29th Mar 2012 12:07

If you're feeling adventurous...

... and have an old PC lying around the house why not set it up as a NAS box yourself for free!  Google FreeNAS for example.  Works well, once you have it installed the shared network drives will pop up in your 'My Computer' on a Windows PC.  There is lots of other functionality built in too and being unix based it is extremely stable.  It might take a while to get configured but if you were at a lose end for a few hours and wanted to have a tinker about this could be fun!

Thanks (0)
avatar
By c.szpak
29th Mar 2012 12:08

Have it all hosted!

We started out as two people in an office and one immediate thought was that I didn't want all the hassle of maintaining our IT (backups, files out of synch,servers) then or in the future as we grew.  We immediately signed up with: www.systemhost.co.uk and don't regret it for one moment.  There are now more than 10 of us (including clients using QuickBooks and one contractor in the US!) accessing the system from, practically, anywhere.  It will be more expensive than the above but well worth it in the long run.

 

Chris

(no relationship to the company I mention, just a happy customer)

Thanks (0)
avatar
29th Mar 2012 12:09

for remote access

Have a look at team viwer - is is free for non-business use.

 

Even if you decide not to use it in the end it will give you some ideas.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By jndavs
29th Mar 2012 12:37

Rsync
rsync is a file syncronisation tool that started life on Unix systems. It now has numerous Windows ports.

The documentation usually talks about making efficient backups with this tool as it only transfers files that have changed.

eg
http://www.rsync.net/resources/howto/windows_rsync.html
or
http://www.aboutmyip.com/AboutMyXApp/DeltaCopy.jsp

You can use this to synch the laptops with each other or with say an external drive/pendrive if you can not connect them for some reason. It even syncs different folders on the same machine if you want to give it a test drive!

Microsoft also do a utility for this but I have never used it
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15155

Thanks (0)
avatar
By ben04a
29th Mar 2012 15:42

Robocopy !!

To Mr Rysnc,

 

Why ? What's wrong with Robocopy ?  

 

Written by Microsoft, has been around for donkeys years.... and I believe it's even now pre-installed on Vista / Windows 7.

 

Command line tool yes, but very powerful and well worth learning !

 

 

 

Thanks (0)
avatar
29th Mar 2012 16:48

NAS and encryption

Limited IT knowledge here – I looked at NAS and seemed like a good idea but could not find much info on encryption. Can you encrypt and if not how do you keep your data safe? 

Thanks (0)
avatar
By jndavs
29th Mar 2012 17:11
Thanks (0)
avatar
29th Mar 2012 17:10

Encryption

Thanks jndavs. I use truecrypt on existing files not stored on a NAS. Does it work in exactly the same way on a NAS?   

Thanks (0)
avatar
By jndavs
29th Mar 2012 16:50

Robocopy
Never used it, I thought that it was a kind of xcopy on steroids!

I mentioned rsync because I habitually use it on my Linux boxes and know it works well.

While we are at it, how about MS Briefcase?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By jndavs
29th Mar 2012 17:20

truecrypt
Yes, in fact the data is encrypted before being transferred to the NAS device, so you get secure data transfers thrown in for free.

NAS does not know or care that truecrypt is being used.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By JipD
13th Dec 2013 20:33

SpiderOak backup/sync to NAS enabled

Thanks for your below message; implemented as advised with success.

I used a Buffalo NAS drive. I didn't have to do anything special, I just ensured the backup PC had access to the NAS drive, and then selected which folder from the NAS drive to backup. My home PC had access to a USB drive and SpiderOak sync'd to that. Can the PC that is doing the backup see the folders on the NAS drive? That is the first stage, then check whether SpiderOak can see the NAS drive. If so, then it should be easy.

Thanks (0)