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ZyXEL NSA310 1-bay Network Attached Storage and Media Server


ZyXEL NSA310 1-bay Network Attached Storage and Media Server


The NSA310 is more than a hard drive enclosure it’s an entertainment hub for the modern age. Just insert any SATA hard drive up to 3TB (sold separately) and you’ll be ready to store, share, and stream your digital media in crystal clear HD to any game consoles, PCs, phones, digital media players, PDAs, or any other DNLA-capable device using your home network. Automated backup makes protecting your files a hassle-free experience, and programmable PC-independent downloads guarantee you’ll never have to waste any time making sure the newest podcasts, videos, and software updates are right at your fingertips no matter what device you’re using.

  • Automatically upload files to Flickr, YouTube, or file hosting websites
  • Works as iTunes & Squeezebox server to share streaming music
  • zPilot organizes files with simple drag-and-drop.
  • Built-in hard drive bay turns your spare hard drive into a full-featured media server
  • DLNA 1.5 certification ensures compatibility with a wide range of media devices

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What customers say about ZyXEL NSA310 1-bay Network Attached Storage and Media Server?

  1. 118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A nice media server that does many things right!, June 6, 2012
    By 

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    Reviewed: Zyxel NSA325. It supports 2 x 3.5″ SATA drives, has 2 USB2 ports (back) and a single USB3 (front) & has Gigabit Ethernet. 1.6GHz Marvell processor is faster than older NAS devices (faster than the 800MHz CPU in the D-LINK DNS-320 or the 1.2GHz CPU in the DNS-325) and 512MB memory allows multiple functions at same time.
    DRIVE INSTALLATION:
    Drive guide rails must be attached to each drive via screws. Note that the pointy end of the rails must face INWARD (i.e. on the same side as the SATA connector). The quick install sheet doesn’t mention this and it’s easy to overlook from the diagram. The reason for the specific orientation is that you use a tool (located behind the drive cover) to remove an installed drive from its bay and this tool clips onto the exposed end of the drive rails. Also when installing be sure to insert the drive so that the SATA connector will mate with the drive (it will not if you insert the drive the wrong way and you could cause damage). ZyXEL needs to have better instructions. The front door is a little flimsy though, be careful when removing/installing to avoid breaking the tabs that keep it in place.
    Note that drives are NOT hot-swappable, do not remove/insert with the power on. Drives up to 3TB are supported with newest firmware (note if you have old firmware you will need to temporarily install a smaller drive, create a volume, then use the firmware check function in the web interface to update firmware before installing 3TB drives).
    RAID:
    RAID 0/1 are supported. RAID 0 uses the combined storage space of both drives but has no redundancy. RAID 1 mirrors contents on both drives so if one fails your data is still safe.
    POWER MANAGEMENT/UPS:
    + You can connect a (APC brand) UPS to the NAS via one of the USB ports and it will auto-shutdown when UPS battery is low (you can adjust when the shutdown occurs based on the UPS reported capacity remaining). A nice touch and one that will help prevent data loss. I tried it with a Tripp-Lite UPS and it wasn’t recognized so it looks like only an APC will work.
    + You can set the UPS to always power on after a power failure, useful if acting as networked storage.
    + You can spin down drives if no data transmission occurs in a specified time (adjustable in minutes)
    + Supports “wake-on-lan” so device can turn on and service incoming requests even if powered off.
    + NAS uses external 12V 5amp power adapter. This is better than an internal power supply as it is easily replaceable if it fails.
    + Interestingly the NAS has an internal clock (powered by a CR2032 battery) and can be set to power on/off via time schedule.
    THE BAD:
    – There is no “network activity” LED at the front panel (the LED is on the Ethernet jack). I would have liked to see a front panel LED. This is important as use of one of the back USB ports will block the network LED on the jack.
    – I do not think there is a way to migrate to larger capacity drives without backing up/replacing drives/recreate RAID/restoring the array.
    – Download Manager feature (more on this below) cannot download files that require authentication from websites (i.e. files that require login). This is a shame as this would been much more useful.
    – This NAS takes LONG to boot. This may cause a problem if used as network storage as PCs may boot quicker than the NAS!
    – For some strange reason the CPU temp is reported incorrectly (12 deg Celsius) on the NSA status page after some time in operation. It still seems to work correctly so this may be a minor bug.
    OTHER:
    + Front panel USB connector is USB3 for fast copy from/to external USB3 devices. This is just for copying data from/to an external drive, I don’t think connection to a PC is supported.
    + NAS has CPU temp sensor.
    + The fan is a 3-wire fan (has RPM sensor so the NAS can determine fan speed). The fan label mentions that has a hypro bearing, which supposed to be a long-lasting bearing. The fan is very quiet, practically silent.
    + Web-based interface is nice and clean, with attractive icons. The admin setup webpage is logically organized. You can check the CPU temp/CPU load/free memory from the admin page.
    + ZPilot feature allows you to drop files/folders to an “always-on-top” icon to copy to the NAS. Optionally you can have the NAS sort files into specific folders based on the file type.
    + Add-on packages really expand functionality of the NAS. For example installing the SMART package allows you to see the status (temperature, SMART status, model & serial #) of the installed drives.
    + Firmware update is totally painless, one click will check for new firmware, another click downloads & installs it. You don’t need to download it from a PC then upload it to the NAS. However note that you must have drive(s) installed and a volume created to use the auto-update feature as it needs to download firmware to the volume. If no drive(s)…

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  2. 74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Not perfect, but still pretty good in this price class, November 2, 2012
    By 
    Patrick Deno “Lord_Jereth” (Ladysmith, Wisconsin) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    After a few days of tinkering with it, finding, researching and resolving a few minor issues (mostly of my own making), I can say it’s not a bad little piece of kit. There just needs to be better documentation on some of the more common problems that can show up. Remember, G**gle is your friend.

    Unboxing: When the package with this little unit and my two drives came in the mail I was very excited. The Amazon package was relatively large and bulky, but when I opened it up and began pulling everything out – first the packing pillows, then the two hard drives, and finally the appliance, itself – and began unwrapping it, I was amazed at how small this little unit is. For what all it can do, I was actually expecting something twice its actual size. This thing’s tiny! It’s positively adorable! But, although it’s clad in plastic, it doesn’t feel insubstantial or fragile like a toy. It has some weight to it, especially once you install the drives. You could actually club someone with it and do a fair amount of damage, though you’d probably break the housing in the attempt. With the little rubber feet it sits sturdily on just about any surface.

    Setup: I ordered two Seagate Barracuda 7200 3 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drives (ST3000DM001) to go with the unit and they work great. Jump on these while they’re still relatively cheap and you’ll be a happy camper. I mounted the rails on with no problems, slid the drives into place in the housing and turned on the unit. I gave it time to boot – yes, the one reviewer is correct, it does take a bit of time for it to do so, about 2 minutes or so – and then installed the included NSU software. Once installed it promptly found the unit on my network and took me through the steps of formatting and arranging the drives into RAID1. This tells me that the newer models don’t have the issue with not being able to use 3TB drives before updating the firmware of the unit, first. Once everything was formatted and mounted, the NSU software gave me the IP address of the unit and I promptly pointed my browser to it. After updating to the newest firmware from the administration page, I began wandering my way around the menus and tweaking settings to my liking, installing packages and generally getting ready for the big data migration.

    I then hooked up my two 1TB MyBook USB external hard drives to the back of the unit and began copying over all of my data. This is where I started to run into problems. After maybe an hour or two of copying my files over, for no apparent reason the NAS would simply lock up and disappear from the network, making it unreachable until the unit was powered off and back on again and starting the copy procedure from scratch, again. This happened several times over the course of about 24 hours. Another reviewer panned this unit for the same behavior. As you will see, it’s not really a hardware issue, so much as a user-error problem: trying to do too much all at once at the beginning.

    I turned to the net for some sorely needed research and found, after hours of searching on different forums and knowledge bases, that the ZyXEL devs have replaced the old Media Server package with a new(er), stripped down version of Twonky Media Server in the newest firmware update (4.50). Sadly, this version of Twonky has a bad habit of maxing out the CPU while trying to parse all the media files on the share. This fact, coupled with my trying to copy over files while this was going on, and that the RAIDed drives were trying to resync between themselves at the same time, meant that the CPU was not only maxed to its limits, but also that it was running very hot. Once I disabled the media server package, the CPU load went down to oscillating lazily between 14 and 30%, the temps went down to normal and I had no more problems with the NAS disappearing off the network again.

    A note to the whiny reviewers on here: Sometimes, ya just gotta do your own homework, folks. RTFM and do some research, for once. For the price that this little unit is being sold at, here on the ‘Zon, it’s amazing what all it can do. But, you do get what you pay for. As any network admin will tell you, nothing ever works exactly how you want it to straight out of the box. Some folks need to learn to quit being so quick to complain and just get their hands dirty. You can’t expect technology to do all of your thinking for you. Sometimes, you have to have a little patience, research a problem, learn the ins-and-outs, tweak some settings and find a work-around. This unit is meant for home use. It’s not bullet-proof or industrial-grade. If that’s what you’re looking for, be prepared to pay four times or more what this cute little box costs for the privilege.

    A note to first time buyers. No, this unit isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the better ones in this price class. Don’t let the self-entitled ignorant dissuade you from…

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  3. 37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great little box, January 21, 2013
    By 
    Adcom Graphics (N. Calif USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: ZyXEL NSA310 1-bay Network Attached Storage and Media Server (Personal Computers)
    The ZyXEL NAS310 is a nice little package, But I think it takes a little reading of the Users’ Guide to come to grips with how it is best used. Especially if this is your first taste of a modern NAS. The Guide, a nearly 600 page PDF included on the CD that comes in the box, sounds intimidating as all get out (“600 pages, Oh My!”) but is easily skimmed and the table of contents and index can usually point you in the right direction quickly..

    I was looking for something that would be faster than my old USB-ethernet device that published a couple USB drives to my LAN, but was pretty slow. This ZyXEL gadget does the trick.

    I keep the data files for a couple applications on the network so I can access them from different computers running the same software. And this works much better with the ZyXEL (except when the internal HDD has to “wake up” then there’s maybe 5-10 seconds lag while it spins up). You can adjust the HDD sleep time from the std 15 minutes of no activity.

    I also wanted to be able to plug in an external drive (USB or eSATA) and have that drive usable on the LAN. Specifically, I have two clients for whom I do some work and want to be able to give each it’s own HDD and to be able to add them or delete them from the LAN when appropriate. The NAS310 has an eSATA and a pair of USB 2.0 ports that can be used for just that. But it was not clear to me how this worked.

    So I called their tech support before buying and asked, But I was told it couldn’t work like that…the disc contents would become part of the larger data container. To me that sounded like the contents of the external drive would be shared out with the internal drive. And that almost unsold me. But some snooping on ZyXEL’s user forum revealed how this worked…the tech support guy and I misunderstood each other.

    When you boot the thing up with its internal disc for the first time it reformats the drive and reserves a piece of the drive for it’s own operating system’s use. Then it establishes a standard set of directories: admin, music, video, etc. All of which are visible to Windows Explorer (I presume Finder as well, but cannot address any macintosh connectivity). Adding directories and managing permissions on the standard ones should be done thru the ZyXEL software…which resides on the device and is reached by browser. I had problems accessing the “admin” folder until I changed the permissions, using the ZyXEL software, not Windows.

    Now, if you have an external drive, formatted NTFS, or FAT32 (dunno about Apple formats) for instance, you can plug it in to either USB port or the eSATA port. It will show up not as a drive in Exploder, but as a directory in the NAS310 tree.

    This directory will be named the same as the model # of the drive. You can change this. The drive will not be reformatted. The ZyXEL won’t mess with the external drives format or data (unless you tell the software to merge the external with the internal in some raid configuration, which I did not want to do). All files saved to the external directory will be on that drive when it is disconnected. You can have more than 1 drive so connected at the same time and all will be recognized. When you power down that external drive it will shortly vanish from the directory tree with no fuss no muss.

    The external can also be used to back up the internal (software is provided for this).

    On the whole I am tickled with my NAS310. As I understand it the larger 320 and 325 work is pretty much the same way.

    Edit:

    After a year I can say I really like this thing. Hasn’t skipped a beat. I have a couple other drives plugged into it thryu estat and usb and they are accessible.

    Mostly though I have a directory on the NAS internal drive mapped as drive X on my two desktops. I keep data files for applications I use on both desktops on the X:drive so they are available to both. When booting or awakening from sleep I usually need to use my file manager (Directory Opus) to access the drive to “wake up” the connection so other applications easily see it. Not a big deal.

    My android tablets and phones easily see it.

    I do not try to run media servers from it as I’m a book reader not a TV or Movie “media” person.

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