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We’ve seen a steady demand for diskless NAS appliances that allow users to pick their own hard disks or maybe put an old timer back into action. The latest DSM-G600 from D-Link does just that as it allows you to add a single IDE drive and share it over wired and wireless networks.
D-Link has never had any significant presence in the NAS market with it making an abortive entry some three years ago with its ill-fated DNS-6040 rack mount appliance which lasted only a few months before being withdrawn. With the DSM-G600 it has set its sights a lot lower as this little plastic box is aimed at the consumer and small office market. You get room for one IDE disk of your choice, a Gigabit Ethernet port and an 802.11b/g wireless access point. A couple of USB ports are also provided at the rear for attaching external storage devices.
Installation starts in a similar manner to Thecus’ YES box N2100 where you undo a couple of screws at the back and slide the lid off. However, it’s a little more fiddly with the DSM-G600 as the hard disk slots into a fixed tray and the IDE cable has to be folded over the top of the drive as it’s positioned to the side rather than behind it. The appliance needs to format the drive as soon as it’s powered up and note that it uses the EXT2/3 file systems and doesn’t support FAT32 or NTFS.
The bundled Easy Search utility hunts down the appliance on the network and provides quick access to the web interface which requests that the drive be formatted before going any further. For testing we installed a 250GB Maxtor ATA/133 hard disk which took around five minutes to prepare. The interface then offers to run a quick start wizard which takes you through securing administrative access, setting up network addresses and workgroup membership and configuring the wireless settings. The appliance can function as a wireless client or access point and offers good security with support for SSID masking plus 64/128-bit WEP, WPA and WPA-PSK encryption.
User access can be controlled only with a local user database where you decide what files and folders they are allowed to access and what their read and write privileges are. The appliance also functions as an FTP server where you can apply user access controls to specific folders. You can also restrict the number of users that can access the FTP server simultaneously and implement bandwidth controls as well.