The N1200 can handle Windows and Linux users over CIFS, while AFP support gets Mac users in the mix. Each protocol can be activated or deactivated but unlike the N5200 which supports Windows domain and AD authentication you can only control access to shares using the local database. However, for each user and group access can be denied or they can be allowed read only or full write access to specific shares. A range of predefined public folders are provided which can be accessed via a browser to view general files, music, videos and personal photo galleries. For the latter you need to create a folder for each user under which you use sub-directories to store images – photos in the user’s root directory won’t be displayed.
The appliance incorporates an iTunes server for sharing music with other iTunes clients. To use it you just activate the service and copy your music files to the predefined folder. We changed our client preferences to point to the N1200 and could then import CDs directly to this location. There are more streaming services on the menu as you also get Mediabolic’s media server allowing the N1200 to dish up multimedia content to any DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliant player device. You just need to activate this service and then choose which folders you want published.
Thecus has also taken a leaf out of Asus’ book as it now offers the same Download Manager feature as the WL-700gE. This supports scheduled HTTP, FTP and BitTorrent downloads to the appliance and can be left running without a PC switched on. Unfortunately, this also proved to be just as flaky as although HTTP download tasks worked fine try and we might we couldn’t get an FTP download task to be accepted as the interface just kept displaying page errors. Note also that you can only create a single daily or weekly schedule, which will apply to all download jobs
Performance will depend on which ports you choose to use. With the appliance connected over its Gigabit WAN port we used a 690MB video file to test read and write speeds and saw the N1200 return 14.4MB/sec and 13MB/sec respectively. FTP performance was also reasonable with read and write speeds of 10.2MB/sec and 5.5MB/sec being reported. However, when we ran the same video file copy across the Fast Ethernet LAN ports speed dropped to 5.5MB/sec for both reads and write operations.
A well built single drive NAS appliance with a fine range of multimedia related features although the Download Manager is of limited value. It would have been nice to have had Gigabit ports all round but at this low price you can’t really argue.