D-LINK DIR-878 AC1900 Wireless Router – Does it worth for your bucks? | Review

D-LINK DIR 878 revision A1 is a router is an affordable dual band router that offers the most recent 802.11ac along with beam-forming feature that includes MU-MIMO data streaming from D-LINK. Currently, this router priced at a retailed of RM 475.00 at shopee.

I always recommend most of my readers to buy from OOKAS for their good services.

D-LINK DIR-878: Shopee

D-LINK DIR-878: 11street

So the question is, does this router deliver what it promises?

Disclaimer:

This is a used router and, I bought it from its previous owner to explore the features offered in this router.

Firmware(s):

D-LINK Firmware: Hardware A1 (Malaysia)

DDWRT Firmware: Factory image initial flash & Webflash image (not included in the test)

#1 PACKAGING

Before un-boxing:

The box comes with a decent design explaining to the user on the features that comes with the router. Frankly speaking, I kinda like the design of the rear part of the box. Good job D-LINK.

After un-boxing:

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Figure 4: The item comes with the router.

The router is pretty standard, as it comes with four non-detachable antenna’s, a power adapter, a Cat5e ethernet cable, a warranty card and a manual booklet.

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Figure 5: The rear view of the router.

At the rear of the router, a single gigabit WAN port, four gigabit LAN port, power port, an on/off button, a wps button and a wi-fi on/off button were present. This router doesn’t come with any USB port which lead to big disappointment as, for such a pricey router, not even a single USB 2.0 port were given.

#2 SPECIFICATIONS

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Figure 6: The specifications of the router. You can refer the full spec here.

The router is powered by 880MHz dual core CPU from MediaTek. For such router, I would say, it is quite powerful CPU used to control the router.

#3 SETTING UP FOR FIRST USE

Once you finish setting up the router, the router will apply the credentials settings and direct you to the main interface. Once you have directed to it, go to Settings > Internet > VLAN.

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Figure 7: The VLAN settings of the router.

Assign the respective VLAN ID’s for each LAN port. By default, LAN 4 should be reserved / addressed as an IPTV port.

I am pretty sure that, most of you will have a minor heart attack as, when you’re setting up your wireless SSID and password, you most probably didn’t encounter the settings for 5GHz wireless band. Do not worry. Once you set up the VLAN, hit to Settings > Wireless page and disable the “Smart Connect” feature.

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Figure 8: The wireless interface control panel of the router.

I disabled the WPS to enhance the security of the router. It is highly recommended you to, disable the WPS feature of your home router despite which router brand you’re using currently.

#4 INTERFACE WALK-THROUGH

Smart Connect feature enabled:

“Smart Connect can intelligently identify the device, decide what band would provide it with the best possible connection, and connect it to that band.”D-LINK

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Figure 17: The Smart Connect feature enabled.

When the Smart Connect feature were enabled, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz settings stay inactive and only one stream of a chosen band (2.4GHz or 5GHz) can be used by your device. By enabling this feature, you’re restricted to change your wireless mode, wireless channel or change your wireless channel width because this feature will adjust the best solution for you.

Smart Connect feature disabled:

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Figure 18: The Smart Connect feature disabled.

Once the Smart Connect feature were disabled, the wireless settings for both bands can be customized according to your needs by clicking the “advance settings” button.

#5 WIRELESS PERFORMANCE

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Figure 19: The floor planning of my house (upstairs only).

The wireless settings for both bands are as below.

Standard wireless speedtest for both bands:

I summarized the performance in the form of a graph.

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Figure 22: The download speed test result.

The download speed for both bands fluctuates as the distance increases.

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Figure 23: The upload speed test result.

The upload speed for both bands fluctuates as the distance increases. However, I have to redo the test for the veranda at the downstairs as the wireless test shows an error in the upload test.

Iperf3 Testing

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Figure 24: The iperf3 test result of D-LINK DIR-878 rev A.

The router able to achieve 95 Mbit/s of throughput to my laptop through wireless connectivity.

#6 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES 

Advantages:

  • Supports DDWRT.
  • Decent wireless coverage.
  • Decent design.
  • Router able to handle more than 10 connected devices.
  • Presence of physical Wi-Fi on/off button.
  • Presence of ventilation holes to keep the router to stay cool.
  • More 5GHz channels provided.

Disadvantages:

  • No USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.
  • The antenna’s are non-removable.
  • Consume a large space.
  • Option for 40MHz channel width for 5GHz null.

#FINAL VERDICT#

The router has above average performance. Not the best router I tested so far, but, it does perform well to the test thrown at it. It has a decent wireless coverage, you can set up the reboot schedule, and this router able to handle up to 10 or more devices connected to it. This router most suitable for home use and for organizations, well, I for normal, non-professional use, then this router can be on your list.

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Figure 25: The router currently in use.

As to conclude this post, this router delivers what it promises. You can opt for flash to third party firmware such as DDWRT if wish for more features.

My recommendation: 6.5/10.


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D-LINK DIR-850L Walkthrough (TM Version)

After taking a long break, I haven’t updated my blog due to no fund. Okay, today, we are going to look at the TM’s famous router, D-LINK DIR-850L (Cylindrical Router). Based on the forums, this router gets tons of negative feedback. So I recently purchased the router wrapped in plastic from a person which has to be the TM’s version. The router does come with pre-loaded 2.09TM firmware. Hence, I don’t have to upgrade the firmware. There is some report that, recently D-LINK releases firmware version 2.10 globally. But in order to do that, the router has to be flashed with 2.08SG firmware then only you able to upgrade to 2.10GL (Global version). However, in today’s agenda, I am only going to focus on 2.09TM firmware and wanted to know why this router got such a bad review from the users.

#1 BASIC INFORMATION OF THE ROUTER AND REQUIREMENTS

Router Brand: D-LINK

Router Model: D-LINK DIR 850L (TM ver.)

Hardware Version: B1

Firmware Version: 2.09TM (Pre-loaded)

Number of Days (w/out reboot): 8 Days

Subscribed Package: UniFi Pro 100 (Thank You Surprise free upgrade)

This router extremely light like a leaf. You won’t feel that you’re holding anything. This router perfectly design with the cylindrical shape.

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Figure 1: Front of the router. I like the simplicity of the LED indicator there.
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Figure 2: Back of the router (UniFi version).
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Figure 3: The side view of the router.
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Figure 4: The top view of the router.

Remarks: If you purchased a retail version, the back of the router will be pure black as the cover of the router.

#2 LOGIN

The router has decent login interface along with the details of the hardware & firmware version along with language selection option.

When you first time login to the router, the router will prompt you to change or pick a new admin (if you decide to use your own username) and password. After the process completed, you will require to enter your new password in order to proceed to the next setup process.

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Figure 5: Login page of the router.

Remarks: Decent login interface with locked admin name field. 

#3 INFORMATIVE PAGE

Once you finish setting up the admin password, you will be directed to the landing page of the router. The displayed information quite decent compared with the TP-LINK Archer C1200. I am currently using GoogleDNS.

Although the page not informative unlike Archer C1200, I feel it is decent to browse through the icons given. It is rather better than making the informative page complex and compressed. The placement of the icons, nice and novice users obviously will have an instinct to click on the router. A hyperlink given on each feature to be customized by the users.

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Figure 6: The landing page of the router.

Remarks: I am using the third party DNS server. I don’t prefer to use TM’s DNS server due to some limitations accessing to some websites and blogs. Some users do lodge a report in a forum on how to change the DNS server in the router. In order to do that, disable the ipv6 in your router and change your DNS server either to OPENDNS or GoogleDNS. Restart your router and let the new settings to take effect. However, when you’re accessing to some websites, you will be prompted with a false alarm, just ignore the alarm and move forward.

#4 WIRELESS

I personally feel that the wireless experience with this router is average. Though it doesn’t have an external antenna, it is slightly better than the Archer C1200 router which tends to freeze sometime.

This is my current 2.4 GHz wireless band settings.

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Figure 7: 2.4 GHz settings.

This is my current 5 GHz wireless band settings.

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Figure 8: 5 GHz settings.

I disabled the WPS feature so that, this router can be more secure. I have a wireless printer, I setup the printer via WPS and once the setup process completed, I immediately turn off the WPS feature.

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Figure 9: WPS feature (Currently turned off).

Hereby, I attach the result of both bands. I can easily archive over 100 Mbps even-though I am 10 feet away from the router. Decent wireless speed.

#5 USB READ & WRITE

One of the most common things that comes with most commercial routers nowadays is, USB ports. Some low end routers does comes with USB 3.0. However, this router comes with a single 2.0 USB port.

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Figure 10: Transcend 1TB HDD connected to the USB port.

The setup process is easy actually.

  1. First, plug in the hard disk / pendrive to the USB port given.
  2. Next, go to run and enter your default IP address of your router
  3. You will be prompted with a windows message and asking you to enter the admin and password. Enter “admin” and your router login password.
  4. Finally, you will be directed to the folder from your hard disk. Just map the folder into My Computer.
  5. Now, you can access to it anytime.
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Figure 11: My external Hard Disk is there along with the file copying process.

The USB writing speed is slow which is “normal” for most low end routers. However, I tried to do some minor testing to test the writing and read process simultaneously. When I am copying the file to the hard disk, I tried to play a video of the completed, copied file in the hard disk. From my analysis, the reading process is too slow and laggy to access the files when the writing process is going on. However, if there is no writing process, then, the reading process is smooth.

#6 QOS SERVICE

The QOS service is useless. One thing I don’t like it, it auto-reboots when I drag a connected devices to the boxes available.

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Figure 12: The router auto-reboots when a device dragged to the boxes available.

#7 HYPPTV

The hypptv experience is good. There is no sudden freeze during the screenings. Unlike the Archer C1200 which tends to freeze during the screenings of hypptv although the router flashed with the latest EU firmware, the DIR-850L works well with the hypptv.

#8 SECURITY (If you wish to change it – Extremely Recommended)

Normally I will customize the IP address of the router. I don’t prefer to use the factory settings. This will further improve your home network security from getting hacked by the hackers.

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Figure 13: IP address of the router.

You can change the admin password here.

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Figure 14: Admin Password.

Firewall settings of the router. Currently, the features were turned off.

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Figure 15: Firewall settings.

#9 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE ROUTER

Shall we have a look at the pros and cons of the router? I’ve come up with my list of critics of this router.

Advantages of D-LINK DIR 850L

  1. Awesome design. I personally don’t like a router that has a huge antenna because it consumes more space and limits the placement of the router. The cylindrical shape really attractive.
  2. The wireless coverage. The wireless coverage in this router quite decent for the price (if you bought the retail unit) you paid. I am staying in 20×70 double storey house and I can get the wireless coverage from the entrance of my parent’s house.
  3. Light weight. This router is not heavy. Its simple design makes the router to be one of the lightest routers I ever hold before. It is even lighter than the legendary D-LINK DIR615.
  4. No overheating issues. Even-though I maximize the transmission power of the router (wireless), the router stays cool and thus saves the cost of buying a laptop cooler.
  5. No auto-reboot issues.
  6. No hang during torrenting. I am a heavy user. When torrenting with decent seeds and peers, I feel that this router can handle heavy torrenting.
  7. Able to achieve full internet speed 100 – 105Mbps / 51 – 54Mbps (d / u).
  8. Fast boot-up.

Disadvantages of D-LINK DIR 850L

  1. No logout button in the firmware. This is very dangerous if you are novice in networking field.
  2. No option to turn off the led. The led stays statically without even blinking and this will cause the led to go wrong / unresponsive after some time.
  3. The wire adapter is short.
  4. No memory and CPU usage real time graph.
  5. Fixed “@unifi” behind the SSID. This also implies for those who upgrade to the TM firmware either you’re using the retail version or the router provided by TM unless, you upgrade to the global firmware.

#10 D-LINK DIR-850L vs. TP-LINK ARCHER C1200

To save your time, this is my unbiased review on both routers.

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Figure 16: DIR-850L vs Archer C1200.

Overall verdict:

Currently, TM still supplying both of this router to their customers while TIME shift to only supplying Archer C1200 due to vulnerability issues that recently highlighted by a person publicly after D-LINK refuses to listen to him. Based on the overall comparison of both routers, I personally feel that, DIR-850L outperforms Archer C1200 in many aspects, which I would like to highlight to auto-reboot issues. I tested the DIR-850L for 8 consecutive days with heavy torrenting, surprisingly, the router able to handle multiple torrents, streaming videos and surfing in the internet.

Archer C1200 able to handle streaming to 4K videos without buffer while DIR-850L have some difficulties to stream to 4K videos simultaneously. When torrenting, Archer C1200 tends to freeze and auto-reboots, but, on the other hand, DIR-850L able to get the job done and able to achieve to full subscribed bandwidth.

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Figure 17: Torrenting in qBitTorrent.

You can monitor your current wired and wireless bandwidth usage here, something Archer C1200 lacks off.

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Figure 18: Real-time Graph.

A router’s most important feature is the logout feature. Without this, you wouldn’t know whether you having an active session or vice versa towards the system. DIR-850L lacks this logout feature which is very dangerous for novice users. They can easily customize the settings, however, they might don’t know whether they are currently having an active session going on in the background and thus, enable the hacker to control your home network easily. However, D-LINK DIR-850L has an auto-logout feature where, when you close the tab, it logout by its own. As for safety precaution, I would strongly recommend to clear the caches each time you finish using / accessing / make any changes (if it reboots then it is fine) of your router admin interface. So Archer C1200 wins here by having a physical logout button.

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Figure 19: No logout button available.

So, which router is the best for small home and for normal users? I would strongly say, D-LINK DIR-850L. Whether you like or not, it is by far not the best router supplied by TM, but better when compared with Archer C1200 which as tons of problem in it.


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D-Link DNS-320L Walk-through

D-Link DNS-320L is one of the entry level of Network Attach Storage (NAS). The standard retail price for product was estimated around RM 450.00.

According to D-Link‘s Official website, DNS-320L able to support two hard-drive (3.5″) at a time. The manufacturer claims that, DNS-320L able to support varies capacity according to the capacity of the hard-drive.

Disclaimer of overall walk-through, I test the NAS before the switch back to factory settings to show the users of how it would look alike as a novice user.

#1 Unboxing of D-Link DNS 320L

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Image 1: The D-Link DNS 320L in a box.
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Image 2: The item were well packed. Kudoss D-Link for the simplicity there.

At first glance, the product was expected to be big, but it turns out to be a cute NAS from D-Link.

#2 Specifications

These are the highlighted specifications of the NAS:

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Image 3: D-Link’s DNS 320L. I must say, the product is cute due to its small size.
  • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port
  • 1 x 2.0 USB port
  • Multiple Hard-Drive Settings (Standard, JBOD, Raid 0 and Raid 1), also included RAID migration from Non-RAID to RAID 1
  • Supports Remote File Sharing (Web file server, FTP server, WebDAV, Mobile device access and mydlink portal access)
  • File Sharing (Max. User accounts: 256 users, Max. Group accounts: 32 groups, Max. shared folders: 128 folders, Max. concurrent Samba connections: 64 connections and
    Max. concurrent FTP connections: 10 connections)
  • Smart fan control, auto power recovery, smart fan control, D-Link Green Ethernet and  Supports connection to a UPS (via USB).
  • Download Managements (HTTP/FTP scheduled downloads and Peer to peer (P2P) downloader)

#3 Set-up Process (Hardware)

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Image 4: SATA’s Connector and Power Connector visible to the naked eyes.
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Image 5: An 1 TB Hard-Drive from Toshiba. Only 1 hard-drives used at a time due to budget contraints.
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Image 6: The red clip serves as a rubber to pull out the stacked hard-drive.
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Image 7: The hardware setup finishes and waiting to be powered on.
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Image 8: The NAS were ready to serve me.

#4 Set-up Process (Software)

The process of setting up the NAS is easy. Here is the screenshot’s of the setup process.

Disclaimer:

  • The image does not belongs to me.
  • Only CRUCIAL steps were shown here.  
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Step 1: The step begins with naming your NAS.

 

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Step 2: Setting up your LAN for NAS. I would advise to choose DHCP Client option.
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Optional Setup: Your E-mail settings.
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Step 3: Your hard-drive will be detected here.
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Step 4: A message were shown to remind that all the data in the disks will be formatted.
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Step 5: A “Success” message will be shown and the next step can be proceeded to finish the setup.
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Step 6: Completing the setup.

#5 Features (Web Interface)

Disclaimer: 

  • Only some important features of the NAS is highlighted. 
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Image 9: Login Interface
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Image 10: The welcome page.

Pros:

  • Real-time graph CPU load and RAM usage
  • Remaining hard drive space
  • KISS (Keep it Simple, Smart)

Cons:

  • Too many spaces available. There are only 3 menus to be selected, hence, the developer can arrange the 3 menus side ways to be navigated easily.
  • Laggy interface response.
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Image 11: You can access the folders containing movies, images and musics.

Pros:

  • You can download a single file at a time.
  • Easy to access to the folders.

Cons:

  • Laggy sometimes unresponsive.
  • Inappropriate icon used. For novice users, the icons at the top right may confuse them on how to go back to previous folders and so on. The color selection of the icon is not welcomed.
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Image 12: P2P Downloads.
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Image 13: Settings for P2P download

Pros:

  • Able to paste the links of the torrent and download
  • Able to import the torrent file from the computer
  • Third party P2P downloader such as qBittorrent and Utorrent not needed.

Cons:

  • The start up process to download the torrent quite slow, but overall the performance is average.
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Image 14: One of the features most welcome by the users. GDrive linked account
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Image 15: Hard Drive Configuration.
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Image 16: S.M.A.R.T Test.
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Image 17: Hard-drive scan

Pros:

  • Free
  • 90% accurate result when scanning the hard-drive
  • No third party application needed to do the S.M.A.R.T Test.

Cons:

  • Taking some time (slow) to complete the scans.
  • Again, too much of blank space available.
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Image 18: Create a new user(s) / group(s)
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Image 19: Quota Settings
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Image 20: Sharing the network among the user(s) & group(s)

Pros:

  • Simple and understandable.
  • Easy to setup.
  • Quota settings is a major plus point here.

Cons:

  • The buttons were less responsive
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Image 21: LAN Settings of the NAS
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Image 22: Dynamic DNS settings
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Image 23: Port Forwarding
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Image 24: SSH

Pros:

  • Duplex settings
  • Supports port forwarding

Cons:

  • Laggy
  • Un-responsive button when specific task is created or cancelled.
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Image 25: FTP server
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Image 26: AFP Service
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Image 27: NFS Service
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Image 28: Multimedia Service
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Image 29: Power Management
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Image 30: USB Devices
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Image 31: Hard Drive status
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Images 32: Currently running services

#6 Writing Speed

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Images 33: The writing speed (@ 100Mbps/s)
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Images 34: Downloading speed directly to the NAS.

#Final Verdict

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Image 35: The description of the product

Simply the best NAS in the market and for an entry level of NAS like this, it is a great deal to begin with.


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