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Along with a reasonably priced 1TB of raw storage, Iomega's latest StorCenter delivers both wired and wireless networking making it quite unusual as no other NAS appliance offers these facilities as standard. Some, such as Thecus' YES Box, allow you to add a wireless USB dongle but as we found with this particular box there is a very limited support for these types of devices.
However, before you rush out and buy the StorCenter bear in mind that since its launch Iomega has released a firmware upgrade that actually takes away some of its wireless functionality. On delivery our StorCenter was loaded with firmware v1.54 but we were advised by Iomega' support to upgrade it to v22.22. Not only is this a bizarre jump in firmware revisions but this removes the wireless access point mode leaving the appliance only capable of acting as a client. Iomega was unable to advise on why it made this decision. We started testing with the original firmware and found that although performance was very poor, the access point mode worked without any problems. If you do go for firmware upgrade we recommend caution as it will reset the unit back to factory defaults, reformat the drives and removes all users and shares.
Considering its low price, the appliance offers a reasonable hardware package as you get a quartet of 250GB Western Digital IDE hard disks and these can be configured as a JBOD, a stripe, a RAID-10 striped mirror or a RAID-5 array. Processing power isn't anything to write home about as it uses a 266MHz MPC8241 processor teamed up with a modest 64MB of memory. Gigabit Ethernet is on the menu and the two USB ports at the rear support both storage device and printers. Replacing a failed drive is a lengthy process as you need to take off the lid, remove the entire drive carrier after unplugging the drives and then figure out which one needs swapping out.
With Iomega's Discovery Tool on the case, installation won't take long as this searches the network for StorCenter's, displays them ready for configuration and provides direct access for mapping shares, installing network printers and running the management interface. The latter is easy enough to use and opens with a basic rundown on the appliance's status with buttons alongside for restarting it and applying factory defaults. The firmware upgrade also enforces the User Account security mode so you can't have shares available to all any more with a guest account as the minimum security option. Access controls are good as the appliance maintains a local user and group database and also integrates with NT Domain and Active Directory authentication.
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