Every time we have at home more multimedia content (audio, video, and images), that are progressively increasing in size with new high – definition formats occupying huge amounts of storage memory. If we have them available in all players and home screens, one option is to go by copying them to drives and external hard drives or even a cloud server.
However, the easiest, most efficient and the best results and response times usually offer formula is to install a NAS (Network Attached Storage) at home, a space designed to create and manage device comfortably our own personal cloud of high capacity.
This time, we had the opportunity to thoroughly test the DiskStation DS216 + Synology a high – end NAS for the domestic sector with the latest hardware under its casing, promising great power and versatility while easing of use for all public.
Specifications and features
The DS216 + NAS is a medium – sized with dimensions of 165 mm x 108 mm x 233.2 mm and 1.25 kilos of weight (without hard drives installed) presented in setting two bays to accommodate two separate hard drives 2.5 or 3.5 inches and up to 8 TB each (i.e. the supported internal maximum capacity is 16 TB).
The core of the system conforms its 64 – bit processor Intel Celeron N3050 dual core and up to 2.16GHz which is accompanied by a generous amount of RAM no less than 1GB DDR3 , above what they usually incorporate this type device and likely to be required in the process of recording videos, as we shall see later.
The NAS is theoretically capable of reaching a maximum read speed of 113 MB / s and write of 109 MB / s through the Gigabit Ethernet port, although as we will see later, these transfer rates depend on the disks we install and all the router and the local network we have at home.
It also has two USB 2.0 ports (one front), one USB 3.0 and one eSATA, allowing us to add external drives up to 108 TB, more than enough for almost any digital Diogenes amount.
As for the disc formats internally it supports Btrfs and EXT4, although external can be formatted in Btrfs, EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS or HFS +, besides supporting encryption of data by means of a motor hardware AES-NI.
The “+” symbol model name (DS216 +) refers to its multimedia capabilities, especially recode the possibility of real – time video streaming for playback on different devices and screens. That is, it lets move videos 4K at lower resolutions such as 1080p or 720p in H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 format so that we can see them without problems on our mobile terminals and not compatible TVs than Full-HD resolutions.
One of the most important points of these devices is usually related to consumption and the noise level. The Synology DS216 + ventilation system promises a quiet 18.2 dB (A) and a maximum consumption of 17.57 watts in full operation and 7.52 watts at idle, figures well below those of any conventional computer us to use as a multimedia server.
Installation and commissioning
We unpack the NAS and met with the team, the power supply, and a network cable that we connect to the main router of the house. It also comes in a small box instruction sheet to start the system even completely on – manual; I got off the web to get some more information when set.
The first thing to do is install internal hard drives, something that is done quickly and easily, either 2.5 or 3.5 inches (in the latter case must not use screws, as it has a system fast) installation.
In my case, to test the Synology DiskStation we facilitated two 3.5 – inch disks from Western Digital brand, one Black 1TB, and 2TB another network specially designed for use with NAS. I also tried a Western Digital 2.5 – inch disk that was home to see how the installation was simple.
What if I do not have hard drives and want to use the NAS with USB drives and external memories? Because in principle we cannot do, because the internal disks are essential to continue the installation of the product.
In addition, the next step is to install the operating system on the disk, in this case, version 5.2 of Disk Station Manager at the time of the analysis was the last final available on the website of the brand, but as we shall see later is already about 6.0 Beta 2. For this, you open the web browser on a computer connected to the same local network and type “find.synology.com”.
At this point, we enter a setup wizard that will guide you through the installation and startup of the operating system and main applications that wish to use with the NAS.
During the process, which takes about 10 minutes, the wizard will connect to the Internet to download the operating system. That is, we need to have a connection to the network of networks running, or we can start using the NAS unless we have previously downloaded the operating system file and have it stored on the hard disk of the computer, and the wizard It gives us the option to search the file in local locations.
Is this bad? It depends on. If we know what to do and want to install the NAS in a place without an Internet connection, as we got off the operating system previously elsewhere and ready. Otherwise, we can see ourselves frustrated when trying to start the device for the first time.
After formatting the internal disks, the operating system is installed automatically and asks us for a username and password to enter the NAS as an administrator. It is important to remember these credentials, as subsequently need to change settings and to access shared folders from Windows and Mac network.
Finally, a number of packages of recommended applications will be installed to improve the management of audio content, video, access to files, download manager, and media content, etc. and we have the DS216 + ready to start working with him.
Software and functionalities
NAS operating system, the Disk Station Manager (DSM), who governs all its functioning and will be our interface with multiple options allowing the machine to perform many tasks and manage disks and their contents. To get to it we can do it from the same tab of the web browser we were coming after installing the whole system, meeting with a showy very clean, tidy and functional interface that resembles the typical Windows desktop in which we can move windows different options and shortcuts.
We can access an extensive control panel in which we are shown the functions and main NAS configuration change allowing multiple parameters and options. So that overwhelms at first and will need intensive training to get to know all of what this device is capable.
We can monitor the CPU load, use of system RAM, disk space available, the configuration of the local network, etc. By the way, there is an option to manage a WiFi connection through a USB adapter, which is a point in favor of the DS216 +.
We also find shortcuts to different applications you have installed, whether they are copied during the wizard just run or you want to install after between a long, long list.
There is an app for almost everything you can think of to do with the NAS from home and multimedia applications to more professionals and network management.
We just have to choose them from among the available, read its description to know he does and if we want to give install. It is, so to speak, as a store own applications to the NAS that automates the process of downloading and installing making it very simple.
These apps out for example File Station, a sort of file browser from which you can see the contents stored in the internal and external hard drives, create folders, move, copy, delete, rename or share files through a link. If the file in question is of multimedia type, we can also start viewing from the web browser itself, although in this case asks us before we have VideoLan player installed on your computer.
It also highlights Cloud Station, application backup the NAS to centralize and automate this task in Windows and Mac computers (has native support for Time Machine) improving the safety of our computers and supported keeping always updated files.
The multimedia options are also very complete, allowing create us a content server photographic, music and videos in a few steps and accessible from any home player compatible with DLNA or be able to access network folders. In my case, I tried the Western Digital TV and worked perfectly.
Finally, among the huge crowd of applications and utilities that are available to install, one of the most interesting is “Download Station”. As the name suggests we have a download management center that allows us to download files to the NAS hard drives without having to rely on a computer running in the background.
Lovers are in luck BitTorrent networks as it supports this protocol and HTTP, FTP, NZB or eMule. The interface is simpler than we can find in the corresponding desktop applications, but does the job and gives us the DS216 + working all night things down with a minimum consumption.
DSM 6.0 Beta 2
As we noted in the previous section, the latest version of DSM for automatic installation from web Synology was 5.2, although the brand gave us a link to download and use the DSM 6.0 Beta 2, which incorporates some new features interesting.
You only have to go to Control Panel> Update & Restore and select the image of version 6.0 we have downloaded to our computers. The list of new features is very wide, although not all are available for all models of NAS because they require specific hardware. However, here are some of the most notable changes.
For example, they have been completely renovated functionality MailPlus and MailPlus Server, allowing us to create our own professional server email with many advanced options aimed at expert users.
It has also introduced the function Snapshot & Replication focused on providing continuous protection and recovery of data and application Download Station has been improved and redesigned to be compatible with most download sites, automatic updates ins and support for recognition CAPTCHAs.
Finally, its improved Video Station making it more intuitive with a visual interface of multimedia content and enabling offline recoding videos to mobile terminals.
The DiskStation DS216 + Synology NAS is a powerful multimedia hardware that has a height to be able to move smoothly requests from users, whether these domestic or semi – professional. The speed of file transfer depends largely on the disks we connect you, but especially how to be our local network connection. Here, you should note that if we make heavy use of the equipment have to use a Gigabit Ethernet network.
Otherwise, transfers of large files (especially movies and videos) will be endless. For example, in my case with a local network at 100 Mbps and the basic router from my operator, transmission speeds were reduced to about 7.5-8.5 MBps, which to spend several tens of gigabytes threw me a few hours.
Internal disk transfers to internal disk or external USB memory to internal disk will offer the maximum speed devices. For example, USB 2.0 disks I got a maximum rate of 35 Mbps and a USB 3.0 memory of 8 GB data copied about 45 Mbps, which is the highest figure obtained in Windows.
A large number of applications available is a big plus for the NAS. As I mentioned before, there is an app for almost everything you want to do, whether simple or advanced tasks, which gives us many possibilities, but also increases the complexity for less experienced users who may be overwhelmed by so many options.
Are we facing a perfect team? Nope. Several are the main disadvantages of this device. For starters, it has not liked anything that has to install the operating system on our own. When you spend in a unit focused on the home users first thing you expect is that after plugging, begin to be ready when you ask or at most a couple of data, username, etc.
The installation process is simple and is highly automated, but in my opinion, if it came already set standard would be a benefit that would give extra points since no dependent of an Internet connection to start using the NAS.
Then I note a couple of problems that I have encountered. For example, if after making the entire facility gives us to remove the hard drive, the system gives an error and has to restart the process, something that I found quite annoying. In addition, it also happened to me something curious. After being using it a few hours so I turned off and unplugged electricity. Immediately my router operator (one Comtrend CT-5365) went berserk preventing me from accessing the local network and even its internal setup menu. Until I removed the Ethernet cable and restart NAS router did not return it to normal.