Participate, review and keep the Synology Network Attached Storage device

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pluey

Right off the assembly line
When can we expect some reviews? I am thinking about buying a NAS, and hope to read some real-world reviews before making a decision.
 

Akashtaker001

Right off the assembly line
Summary
The Synology DiskStation DS112j offers an ideal entry product for those looking to start moving their files to a network storage location. The DSM software is class leading and will allow users massive potential to improve their network functionality.



Review Synology DS112j

A special thanks to Synology Inc and Thinkdigit for providing this device for review.
The Synology DS112J is a new NAS server intended for small business and personal home uses. For those who are unfamiliar with NAS concept. According to Wikipedia, A NAS unit is a computer connected to a network that provides only file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. Although it may technically be possible to run other software on a NAS unit, it is not designed to be a general purpose server. For example, NAS units usually do not have a keyboard or display, and are controlled and configured over the network, often using a browser. NAS not only operates as a file server, but is specialized for this task either by its hardware, software, or configuration of those elements. NAS is often manufactured as a computer appliance – a specialized computer built from the ground up for storing and serving files – rather than simply a general purpose computer being used for the role.





Synology’s DS112J is a budget-friendly NAS from Synology, small, yet powerful NAS best suited for those who are looking for a ready to use NAS device without configuring with the internals to set up the system. This NAS offers excellent performance and many advanced capabilities, the DS112J offers excellent Read/Write speeds for its class, its award winning DSM OS from Synology.



Synology DS12j Specifications
ProcessorARM, single core, 1 GHz
Operating SystemDSM 4.0 (4.1 released as of today)
Memory128 MB DDR2
Storage3.5" or 2.5" SATA(II) X1 (With optional 2.5" Disk Holder)
Capacityup to 4 TB
Networking1x Gigabit LAN
Additional Connectors2x USB 2.0
Dimensions166 X 71 X 224 mm
Weight0.72 kg
Power ConsumptionSleep: 4.4 W
In operation: 12.1 W
Power SupplyExternal, 100-240 V
Fan1x 60 mm
Warranty2 years
Price excluding VAT
(at the time of the review on Amazon)
$149.99



A single core ARM CPU powers DS112j and despite its low computing power it is more than enough, since this NAS doesn't support power demanding advanced RAID levels. Also the low frequency CPU consumes less power resulting in higher power saving, something important in NAS servers which usually work 24/7. The available RAM is only 128MB but the highly optimised and resource friendly DSM OS runs pretty smoothly on the available resources.

Regarding networking, a single Gigabit Ethernet port is available and the remaining I/O ports include only a pair of USB 2.0. An eSATA port is highly missed.
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The minimal small white packaging is sturdy enough to protect its contents, and is made from recycled paper. The most interesting features and device specifications are printed on outer packaging.



Software and Installation



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The software CD provides the software required to start your device. The Synology Assistant installer is a pretty straight process of few clicks.

After we have the Synology Assistant up and running, it should find the DiskStation location on our network. At this point the DiskStation will be showing as not installed, so we need to install the DSM software.

After Synology Assistant is up and running it should find the DiskStation location on our network. At this point the DiskStation will be showing as not installed, so we need to install the DSM software. Which can be found on the installation CD or you can download the latest version from internet.


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Now it should show device as ready. You can now right-click on the device and click ‘Connect’.

DSM 4.0, Initial setup and UI

DiskStation Manager 4.0 is the current incarnation of the OS for Synology NAS devices. DSM 4.0 allows us to manage all aspects of the DiskStation via a single web browser tab utilising multitasking and personalisation. DSM 4.0 uses HTML5 and CSS3 to allow us to drag-n-drop windows around the browser tab giving us complete control over what we are viewing, you need to enable Java version in your browser if you want to browse your drives on your computer.

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To use DSM we first login using the password and username we selected during the initial setup on our client PC. This presents us with the NAS desktop and quick links to some key features which include updates of the DSM from within the OS.

After login is successful, the DSM Quick Start wizard will greet you and help you configure your NAS quickly.


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From the desktop you can manage most of the functions of your NAS. The Control Panel is one of the first place to go when you first first start your NAS device.

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Here we find a plethora of options that allow us to control File Sharing, Network Services, System Settings and Application Settings.
First, thing you need to do is create a shared folder.
Here you can assign privileges to to different users. E.g Here we have created a folder named ‘Data’ which can be accessed by ‘admin’ but will remain inaccessible to ‘guest’.


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All the folders in your Diskstation are also accessible from My Network Places.



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The DSM is Linux based OS as a result it has a full fledged Package Manager to install applications to enhance functionality of your device. Just like Linux you can get install application from official sources and add third party repositories.



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Some the softwares available in Package Manager are


Wordpress - it can be used to host a Wordpress site on your Diskstation.

Photo Station - features Facebook integration and support for a wide range of photo and video formats to share and manage our files.

Surveillance Station - can be used to record feeds from different IP cameras to safeguard your home or office.

Download Station - allows us to set up the DiskStation to download files autonomously. The DiskStation can be used as a 24/7 download centre for BitTorrent™, FTP, HTTP, eMule and NZB news server. Downloads activities can be restriction to certain hours of the day by setting up a download schedule.
Web Station - allows us to host our own web sites on the DiskStation. Using a virtual host we can have multiple web sites on our DiskStation, up to 30 web sites. Web Station has built in support for PHP and MySQL. (The unit can also be set up as a mail server with support for POP3, SMTP and IMAP).

Print Server - is a complete print server solution for both inside and out-and-about. By connecting a printer via USB to the DiskStation we have instantly created a network printer. DiskStation Print Server supports Apple Airprint and Google Cloud Print.

iTunes Server - the DiskStation can work as an iTunes Server to share Music within a local network. After enabling iTunes service in DSM, iTunes will recognise the DiskStation as an iTunes server under the SHARED list.

Audio Station - utilises AJAX technology to bring us an innovative and enjoyable listening experience. Once enabled we can listen to music stored on our DiskStation from anywhere via our iPod, Internet Radio or other UPnP/DLNA media servers. All of the key formats are supported by the unit, including FLAC, MP3, AAC, WMA.
Antivirus Essential - is a full fledged free antivirus to protect your NAS device from harmful viruses.

Data Replicator 3 - allows us to back up our desktop date, Outlook® or Outlook Express® emails to the DiskStation. Data Replicator 3 is provided free on the installation CD that comes with the DiskStation.

Mobile Support - Synology offer a number of mobile apps to access the DiskStation. These apps are available on Apple and Android platforms, including smartphones and tablets. Apps such as DS Audio allow us to play our music on our mobile device from our DiskStation.

Cloud Station - it provides a Dropbox or Skydrive like alternative to to backup and synchronise your files over the internet across various devices. The service is connected through Synology's dynamic DNS service, while UPnP should mean you don't have to worry about opening any ports. This feature is still in beta for DSM 4.1, and currently only Windows and Mac OS X clients are available with the full release of the update, which is typically a couple of months after the Beta, while Linux version is still not available. For this feature you need to sign up for a Synology account which is free. For this feature to work both your device and your NAS should be connected to internet.


Miscellaneous Features

Media Playback - With this device you can stream your videos and audio directly from to your device, like a mobile or PC. If you are on same network you can stream FullHD movies from this device flawlessly.



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Download Manager - as mentioned before, this device supports various downloading options like ftp, http, https, sftp, magnet, torrent etc.. This can be used as a low powered download manager.



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Time Machine (MAC OS X) - this device can also integrate with Time Machine feature of MAC OS to take regular snapshots of the files on your system. This feature is right now unavailable on Windows. In future, same concept can be used to backup snapshots from Linux distros when ‘btrfs’ format becomes stable.


Manage your PC and USB drives - The File Explorer in this device can be used to manage files on your PC and USB drives. I regularly use it to open Pen Drives instead of PC, since DSM is Linux based OS most virus which are targeted on Windows PC become useless in this device. Therefore it can also add a an extra layer of security from some unknown wild virus.

Mobile Apps - If you have a smartphone you can easily manage your device without even touching a PC using mobile apps provided by Synology on Google Play on Android and Apple App Store. You can also login into this device using a mobile browser. It will automatically redirect to a mobile version of the site.



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The mobile site has limited functionality but you can also redirect to a full fledged desktop version if you have a capable browser that can handle HTML5, and CSS. We tested the desktop version on default Android browser on Android ICS and the site was usable.


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Synology apps are also available to to manage your device more efficiently.

Update DSM4.1
Synology has announced an update to DSM. The DSM 4.1 is available from today, which unfortunately could not be covered in this article.

Value and Conclusion


Pros
Price/performance ratio
Very capable OS
Great transfer speeds
Mobile apps
Lots of features
Intuitive and windowed operating system
Optional application packages boost functionality
Low energy consumption
Very low Noise
Decent build quality
Ease of use
Small footprint

Cons
No support for hot-swap disks
An x86 Atom CPU to increase Application Packages available
USB 3.0 is not supported
Νο eSATA
Cannot format an external disk to NTFS
High CPU utilization during USB transfers

The Synology DS112j is a NAS server which addresses budget oriented users or small offices, that don't need four-bays or even larger NAS boxes, and can live without RAID arrays. It may not have hot-swap disks, USB 3.0 support or an eSATA port but it has most of the functionality and features of more expensive Synology NAS servers thanks to the DSM operating system it runs. Thanks to its small footprint it doesn't draw a lot of attention and its power consumption is very low, so is output noise. The build quality is top notch and the setup and management is quite easy for this device.

For value, Synology also score well. Pricing the DS112j at a competitive $149.99 and bundling all of the cables and connectors to get us up and running. Few NAS systems offer as much functionality for this price, at such a good price I can't ask for many things, that's for sure, and the fact that the DS112j achieved by better performance/power than my previous NAS, which was a Pentium IV PC with FreeNAS installed. All in all the DS112j is a very good choice for all who want to enter the NAS world and explore the numerous capabilities that these marvelous devices have to offer.

Full article here.

 
Last edited:

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
Network Storage is picking up the pace not just for SOHO, but also for personal storage as well. Digit India sent a DS112J for evaluation and the first NAS storage review in Hardware BBQ.


Synology DS112J is a single bay NAS Storage device and just like how NAS are usually meant for, this one is made to provide a simple solution for backup and sharing/streaming data.




The NAS drive comes in a basic carton carry package but with the basic information about the feature and the primary usage of the device.


The contents of the packaging comes with all the basic necessities you’ll need for the setup of the NAS with a 3.5" drive:

With the unit you get the reading material, Setup disk, Power brick, A/C Adapter, an RJ 45 cable, 3x screws for the NAS casing and 4x screws for the hard drives. I am not sure what Synology meant by “assembling kit” on the packaging.

Hardware
  • CPU Frequency : 1.0GHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Memory : DDR2 128MB
  • Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5" or 2.5" SATA(II) X1 (With optional 2.5" Disk Holder) (Hard drive not included)
  • Max Internal Capacity : 4TB (1X 4TB HDD) (See All Supported HDD)
  • External HDD Interface : USB 2.0 Port X 2
  • Size (HxWxD) : 166 X 71 X 224 mm
  • Weight : 0.72 Kg
  • LAN : Gigabit X1
  • System Fan : 60x60mm x1
  • Wireless Support
  • Noise Level : 17.1 dB(A)
  • Power Recovery
  • AC Input Power Voltage : 100V to 240V AC
  • Power Frequency : 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
  • Power Consumption : 12.1W (Access); 4.4W (HDD Hibernation)
  • Operating Temperature : 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
  • Storage Temperature : -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
  • Relative Humidity : 5% to 95% RH
  • Maximum Operating Altitude : 10,000 feet
  • Certification : FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
  • Warranty : 2 Years

Notes :
  • Noise Level Testing Environment: Fully loaded with Seagate 1TB ST31000520AS hard drive(s) in idle; Two G.R.A.S. Type 40AE microphones, each set up at 1 meter away from the DiskStation front and rear; Background noise: 17.2 dB(A); Temperature: 23.6˚C; Humidity: 58.2%; More details about dB(A) value, check http://www.memtechacoustical.com/facts.asp
  • Power consumption is measured when fully loaded with Western Digital 3TB WD30EZRS hard drive(s).

Applications
  • File Station
  • Virtual Drive
  • Remote Folder
  • Backup Solutions
  • Network Backup
  • Local Backup
  • Desktop Backup (Window: Synology Data Replicator 3, Mac: Apple Time Machine backup application)
  • Shared Folder Sync - Max task number : 2
  • Configuration Backup
  • Mail Server
  • Supported Protocols : POP3, SMTP, IMAP
  • FTP Server
  • Bandwidth Control, Custom FTP Passive Port Range, Anonymous FTP, Transfer Log
  • Web Station
  • Virtual Host (up to 30 websites)
  • PHP/MySQL
  • 3rd-Party Applications Support
  • Print Server
  • Max Printer # : 2
  • Printing Protocols : LPR, CIFS, IPP, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Multi Functional Print Server (for Windows PC only)
  • iOS/Android Applications
  • DS photo+
  • DS audio
  • DS cam
  • DS file
  • DS finder
  • Windows Phone Applications
  • DS finder

Add-on Packages
  • Surveillance Station
  • MAX IP cam # (Licenses required) : 5 (1 Free License) (See All Supported IP Cameras)
  • Total frame rate (FPS) : 50 FPS @ D1 (NTSC:720x480, PAL:720x576), 10 FPS @ WXGA (1280x800).
  • Directory Server
  • LDAP Directory Server
  • Backup and Restore LDAP Database
  • VPN Server
  • Maximum Connections : 5
  • VPN Method: PPTP, OpenVPN
  • DHCP Server
  • Independent DHCP Server on Different Network Interfaces
  • Multiple Subnets Support
  • Address Reservation
  • Syslog Server
  • SSL Connection
  • Log Rotation: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years
  • Email Notificaiton
  • Mail Station
  • Webmail Interface for Mail Server
  • Receiving Mails from Multiple POP3 Mailboxes
  • Customizable SMTP Server
  • Antivirus Essential
  • Full System Scan
  • Scheduled Scan
  • White List Customization
  • Virus Definition Auto Update
  • Time Backup
  • Maximum Task Number : 1
  • Multiple File Versions Retained
  • Instant File Restoration
  • Cloud Station
  • Maximum User Accounts : 4
  • Retain Historical and Deleted File Versions
  • HiDrive Backup
  • Backup DiskStation data to STRATO HiDrive online storage
  • Photo Station
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, RAW (arw, srf, sr2, dcr, k25, kdc, cr2, crw, nef, mrw, ptx, pef, raf, 3fr, erf, mef, mos, orf, rw2, dng, x3f)
  • Supported Video Format : 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, FLV, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, QT, WMV, XviD, RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3
    User can click and download the following video formats: RM, RMVB, VOB, RV30, RV40, AC3, AMR, WMA3, but not able to play it in Photo Station as compressed Flash video.
  • Audio Station
  • Supported Audio Format (USB Mode) : AAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, WMA VBR
  • Supported Audio Format (Streaming Mode) : MP3, M4A, M4B
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Internet Radio : SHOUTcast, Radioio
  • iTunes Server
  • Supported Audio Format : MP3, M4A, M4P, WAV, AIF, The music in WAV and AIF format can be streamed, but the metadata (ex: title, album) may not be indexed on the iTunes
  • Supported Video Format : M4V, MOV, MP4
  • Supported Playlist Format : M3U, WPL
  • Supported Client : iTunes for Windows and Mac
  • DLNA/UPnP Media Server
  • PS3/Xbox 360 Support
  • Supported Audio Format : AAC, AIFF, APE, FLAC, M4A, Apple Lossless, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, PCM, WAV, WMA, WMA VBR, WMA PRO, WMA Lossless
  • Supported Video Format : 3GP, 3G2, ASF, AVI, DAT, DivX, DVR-MS, ISO, M2T, M2TS, M4V, MKV, MP4, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, MTS, MOV, QT, SWF, TP, TRP, TS, VOB, WMV, XviD, RMVB (The actual playback capabilities may vary depending on the DLNA/UPnP client)
  • Supported Image Format : BMP, JPG (jpe, jpeg), GIF, ICO, PNG, PSD, TIF (tiff), UFO
  • Download Station
  • Supported Download Protocols : BT/HTTP/FTP/NZB/eMule
  • Maximum Concurrent Download Tasks : 20

The exterior is a glossy (fingerprint magnet) plastic shell.


The front panel has a Status/Lan/Disk Activity LED Indicator with a Power Button and LED light. Towards the rear, there’s a 60mm fan followed by a Kensington lock hole, Hard Reset button, 2x USB 2.0 hub, an Ethernet port followed by the usual A/C adapter plug. Do note that the NAS storage has a MAC ID/Serial Number label on the rear.


Both side panels are plain white with the company’s name written on it with vents on the side.


On the underbelly, there are 4 rubber case feet and vents.


To open the NAS, all you need to is slide out a part of the shell.


As stated before, this is a single bay drive and looking at the mount support for the drive, its more for 3.5" SATA drives. Now I know that Synology have mentioned that you can dock 2.5" drives as well but it doesn’t seem to have a 2.5 dock converter or anything like that.

Moving on…


DS112J comes with a Y.S. Tech FD126015LL 60mm 3 pin header fan for the rear exhaust. Initially I thought its a ball bearing fan, but after googling out the model number, it uses Sintetico bearing which (according to YS Tech) gives better reliability and low noise compared to sleeve bearing that I wouldn’t be surprised if many NAS manufacturers use it in their single bay drives by default. The advertised max airflow is 15.9 CFM with advertised lifespan of 50,000 hours under operating temperatures of 40 degrees celcius.

Now taking the look of the PCB


The second part of the casing is screws against the metal plate which holds together the main board, the power/LED PCB viz. connected via the Ribbon cable and the 3 pin fan.


The processor that this NAS uses is Marvell 88F6-LG02 88F6702-A1 1 GHz processor which basically uses an ARM core (can’t find the actual Specification) with Hynix H5PS1G63EFR 128MB DDR2 ram module. For 2x USB 2.0, its powered by Genesys Logic GL850G controller, PIC16F627A 8-bit Flash based CMOS and Marvell 88E1318S Gigabyte LAN controller on the other side of the PCB.


The second PCB has those 4 LED lights and the power Button.

There’s no issue when it comes to mounting a 3.5" drive like the Western Digital 3TB RED NAS Storage Hard drive but a 2.5" is a different story.



The 2.5" drive does fit in the SATA slot, but there’s no way to slide it in properly. It could be different with a thicker 2.5" drive, even maybe a 12.5mm thick 2.5" drive, but isn't the case with something as thick as an SSD. There’s no mounting hole either. I wonder if the “assembly kit” that Synology mentioned in the specification is a 2.5" bracket. Another downer is that it uses SATA II rather than the current standard SATA III. I would have preferred to see a SATA III and/or USB 3.0 controller, with SATA III having the higher priority in this case.

Since its not here and since I’ll be testing this with WD30EZRX Red NAS drive, the same drive that’s tested by Synology as mentioned in specs, I am testing it in its full glory. I understand that this drive can support 1x 4TB drive, but I don’t have it- nor I am sure if you get one.

There are some things you need to know: I never used a NAS before- nor I am good at checking out software.

During installation, I used DiskStation Manager 4.1 from Synology’s website as well, so I am using the newer DiskStation Firmware.

Installation is easy with the disk once you connect it to your Router. Do note that formatting and installing DSM 4.1 takes a lot more time on a 3TB EZRX.


DSM looks plain for an OS, but that’s doesn’t matter.


There are lot of features in this NAS that I am not familiar with, but I was able to play few videos and music. I wasn’t able to play few files- one of them is a 1080p Big Buck Bunny open source movie in AVI format. I did get a pop up that JAVA is required for NAS. Why would I need Java to play 1080p AVI file, when other file types play via DSM just fine?

Tasks such as Compression via DSM and Copying to NAS seem to consume the processor upto 95-98%. I did somewhat expect this on a basic NAS. Also, between Time information and External Drive information, there is supposed to be a Thermal Status indicator but there is no option over here. Strange that its mentioned in NAS’s HELP guide but not in the feature. Also, it uses LED indicator rather than using temperature readout. Since its most likely taking the information from the drive’s S.M.A.R.T. readout, could have just mentioned the temps straightaway.

Test Setup for: Synology DiskStation 112J+ WD30EZRX 3TB Red NAS Drive
Motherboard+ Processor Gigabyte 890GPAUD3H Rev 1.0+ AMD 965BE
Memory Kingston KHX1600C9D3P1K28G HyperX Genesis 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
Primary OS drive WD 3000HLFS Velociraptor 300GB
Power Supply Corsair TX750
Chassis Antec P280
[highlight]Router[/highlight] WD MyNet 900 Central

Do also note that I am testing WD MyNet 900 Central with 1TB viz. a NAS+ A/B/C/G/N Dual Band router too, so Synology DS112J is the first NAS that I am evaluating. Do note that this tested using a hardwired Ethernet Connection.

Do note the following Table:




As one would expect, due to limitation of SATAII is under-utilizing WD 3TB EFRX Red NAS drive’s full potential. Downloading large and uncompressed Video Directory files takes a lot of time than one will desire.


SATAII Single bay diskless NAS Drives with 2x USB 2.0 only and nothing else- the way I see it- would be great if it retailed for $120.

The way I see it, DS112J should atleast come with SATAIII. It doesn’t and that’s a little bit of a let down. I know this is a low cost NAS, but if you keep aside that it uses USB 2.0 and it uses a core which maxes out during transfer, let alone compression via DSM. Even if its a basic drive, its a solid basic drive. You need to understand that this is a diskless drive. So you spend on a NAS and spent on a 3.5" mechanical drive. Most of them will choose atleast 1TB in my opinion upto 3TB. The drives that you get these days are with SATAIII something that it walks amongst us for a very long time, followed by USB 3.0. It needs to keep up with the times Who knows, I might have overlooked the lack of 2.5" bracket.

Also, they need to put the Temperature LED /readout indicator in the DSM. But the bright side, it atleast support 3TB (specs say 4TB, but since I am able to get it working with a 3TB drive, I’ll take Synology’s word for it) with 2 years warranty period.
India (Estimated) U.S. U.K.
Rs. 9,000/- $149.99 £114.70

Negatives:
▼ No SATA III ▼ No USB 3.0 ▼ Playback using 1080p AVI File requires Java ▼ No 2.5" support bracket to secure right when mounted and unit kept upright as shown in video ▼ Considering the cons, could be a bit cheaper ▼ Tasks such as Compression via DSM and Copying to NAS seem to consume the processor awfully close too 100%

Positives:
▲ Pretty Quiet fan ▲ All the basic requirements provided with the NAS ▲Easy to Install ▲ Upto 4TB single drive support (Worked with WD30EFRX Red NAS Storage Drive) ▲ USB 2.0

Rating: 3 out 5/ Requires Improvement
 

felix

Right off the assembly line
Here is my review on the Android apps for the Synology Diskstation.




ALSO check my review of the Synology NAS system in the pdf link below

I'm a newbie to review so suggestions welcome.

http://bit.ly/OZApB0
 
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assassinscreed3

Right off the assembly line
The Synology DS211+ runs on the renowned operating system, Synology DiskStation Manager 3.0 (DSM 3.0), offering applications and features designed specifically for SMBs. Comprehensive network protocol support assures seamless file sharing across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
 
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