The main web interface is common across all of Thecus’ appliances and although it’s not a pretty sight it is simple enough to use. Client support extends to Windows, Linux and Macintosh users and it’ll also function as an FTP server. Share security options start with the local user and group database but the appliance can use NT domain and AD authentication whilst ACLs (access control lists) using local username and password combinations and group memberships can be applied to each folder. However, user quotas are not supported so you can’t limit the space they can consume.
We found performance to be quite good as copying a 690MB video file over Gigabit Ethernet returned average read and write speeds of 21.4MB/sec and 15.3MB/sec. FTP speeds are nothing to sniff at either with the FileZilla utility reporting decent read and write rates of 32.6MB/sec and 17MB/sec. Backup options won’t make the N3200 a favourite for business use as the bundled Thecus Backup utility is very basic. You can create scheduled full and incremental jobs to secure your workstation data to the appliance but its crude interface doesn’t offer anything in the way of reporting. The buttons at the front can also be used to initiate a copy of the contents of a USB storage device inserted in the front port. The data is sent to a default folder on the appliance and automatically shared.
The Download Manager enables you to schedule copies of data from remote locations to the appliance via HTTP, FTP or BitTorrent. We found it easy enough to use although note you can only specify a single file and not a folder. There are plenty of multimedia functions up for grabs as the N3200 can run as an iTunes server whilst the Mediabolic media server offers content to any UPnP compliant player. There’s much more as when a user logs into the appliance they are presented with a simple interface that allows them to access music, videos, photos and files and also the contents of USB and eSATA storage devices. The N3200 can also be wireless enabled simply by plugging in a USB adapter whereupon a new WLAN option will be presented in the administrative interface. The number of supported wireless USB adapters is also now quite lengthy with Thecus’ list extending to over 60 models.
The N3200 delivers a big helping of network storage at a reasonable price although whether home users really need RAID-5 is debatable. Backup options are very limited and you can ignore the extra PCI expansion slot but performance is good and there are plenty of multimedia toys to play with as well.