Tenda AC15 Dual-Band AC1900 Gigabit WiFi Router Review

Introduction


Tenda might be a company that is mostly known for the entry-level products at lower speeds, but they also got some top of the line devices that easily can compete with anything else on the market. Today I’m taking a look at the new Tenda AC15 which is an AC1900 Smart Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi router.

Tenda designed the AC15 with the smart home in mind and as such the router brings a lot of features that can make your everyday digital life a lot easier. Starting with the dual-band AC1900 technology we know that we have a strong router in our hands that will deliver some of the best possible wireless network speeds. The AC15 also features beamforming technology that helps to boost the range of the high-powered amplifiers and external antennas.

The AC1900 standard defines a total speed capability of the router up to 1900Mbps where it is capable of delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently. The Beamforming+ technology helps to achieve the best connection with each device as it locks onto a device’s location and strengthens the signal in that direction rather than blasting it equally in every direction.

The router is equipped with 3 external dual band antennas with a 3dBi strength. Sadly the antennas aren’t replaceable, at least not without taking the unit apart, but they should offer plenty of performance for small to mid-sized homes.

Tenda built the AC15 router around a Broadcom dual-core processor and equipped it with DDR3 memory, but the specifications page does not reveal which exact processor nor how much memory it has. That might, however, be something we can find out through the user interface or by opening it up.

Next to the obligatory WAN port, Tenda equipped the AC15 router with three more Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired network devices. It also features a USB 3.0 port for easy storage and printer connections which then can be shared to any device that you want via your network. This also allows you to create a personal cloud system and that’s even an easy task to do thanks to Tenda’s personal cloud system. We’ll have a close look at that when we got to the user interface.

There is an ever-increasing concern what effect WiFi signals can have on us humans and it’s better to be on the safe side than sorry. Whether this is a concern to you or not, the Healthy e-life functions in the router allow you to dim the LEDs as well as turn the WiFi signal on and off by a user defined schedule. Why should you be bothered by blinking lights and wireless signals when you aren’t home or asleep. Might as well turn it off, which also saves on the electricity bill.

The initial setup and further configuration of Tenda’s AC15 is a breeze as you can do it from any device, whether it’s wired or wireless. You can either use the easy web setup wizard or use the available Tenda apps. Once setup, you have a powerful wireless router that supports IPTV, VPN, FTP, DDNS and DLNA among others.

Feature Highlights

  • Ultimate 11ac speed of up to 1900Mbps, delivering both 1300Mbps 802.11ac at 5GHz and 600Mbps 802.11n at 2.4 GHz concurrently.
  • Broadcom dual-core processor with DDR3 memory for multi-client with responsive performance and fast speed.
  • Beamforming+ technology boosts range for the 802.11ac WiFi devices.
  • High powered amplifiers and three external antennas for whole-home coverage.
  • USB3.0 for personal secure cloud and printer sharing.
  • Smart managements of WiFi schedule, LED indicator and power saving all are for your healthy E-life.

Package and Accessories

The retail package for the Tenda AC15 router is a beautiful full-coloured one. The front teases the features and the units design with its eye-catching and bright design.

The rear of the box has some more information on the routers usage scenarios as well as more information about the features.

The full network specifications can be found on the side of the box, so you know what you get before you make the purchase.

The router itself is wrapped with a plastic cover to protect it from scratches. There’s also an extra SSID and password sticker on the plastic which you can remove and place somewhere else for safe keeping.

There’s an install guide, GNU license notice, and a wireless standard certification included, but the last two are more for legal reasons.

Besides the router and the manuals, we also find a power adapter, an RJ45 LAN cable and the foot for the router inside the box.

 

Synology Releases Affordable yet Powerful DS416j 4-Bay NAS

Synology has released quite a few new NAS lately and we’ve also reviewed multiple of them, but they got more waiting for customers that want to enter the world of NAS or upgrade their current solution. The newest member of the Synology family is the DS416j, a powerful yet affordable 4-bay NAS.

Synology’s DS416j is equipped with an Armada 388 Dual Core processor with 1.3GHz and it comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. The Armada 388 should deliver plenty of power for this NAS and it also comes with built-in hardware encryption engine. Thanks to the choice of hardware, the DS416j is capable of serving you files with 112.82 MB/s when reading and 101.2 MB/s when writing. Encryption naturally takes some resources, but the DS416j is still capable of a performance around 50MB/s when reading and 37MB/s when writing. That is an increase of 58% in encrypted file transfers compared to its predecessor model.

The DS416j NAS comes with adjustable LED indicators for status, network, and all four hard disk drives. You can switch between four levels of brightness and also put them on a schedule where you turn them off when they aren’t needed. You get a single Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connection as well as a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port on the rear of the unit. It sadly doesn’t have a front USB port, but we also have to remember that this is a budget device and it most likely won’t be the deal breaker for anyone.

Naturally Synology added their well known and great operating system DSM that will provide you will all the features you want and a lot more on top of that. You get easy cross-platform file sharing and synchronizing, download features, apps for playback and streaming of all sorts of media to DLNA and smart devices, as well as comprehensive backup solutions.

Synology targets home and personal users who seeks to get a massive storage capacity where they can build their own personal cloud or serve as a multimedia server. At the same time it targets those who either don’t have a big budget or just don’t want to spend a lot on their next NAS. Four-bay NAS units tend to be quite expensive, but the DS416j comes with a recommended retail price of just £220, and that already includes the VAT.

QNAP Qmedia App Now Available on the Roku Platform

One of the best things in owning a NAS is the ability to stream the content to all your available devices from a centralized storage, but everyone who has a smart TV that is just a few years old also knows the issues with having the proper codecs to view and stream all these files. This is one of the places where extra set-top boxes such as the ones from Roku come into play and they just became even better thanks to the official QNAP support.

QNAP announced the new availability of the free Qmedia app for Roku players and Roku TV models, allowing users to easily stream photos, music, and videos from their QNAP NAS devices to their TV through QNAP’s DLNA server function. When you couple that with the support for video transcoding and hardware acceleration, users can enjoy a better and smoother viewing experience of their rich multimedia collections.

The QNAP Qmedia app is now available as one of the streaming channels in the Roku Channel Store, integrating the Media Library from QTS with the same user interface that Roku users are familiar with for a consistent browsing experience.

The new Qmedia app for Roku requires your NAS to run the newest QTS 4.2 firmware and that you have turned DLNA on in your settings, but other than that it’s as easy as installing the app on the Roku and connect it to your QNAP NAS. If still in doubt, QNAP also released a small online tutorial to help you get it up and running.

What is your preferred way to stream the content from your NAS? Do you use your TV’s or consoles DLNA function, use Plex Media Server, or something completely different? Let us know in the comments.

Crystal Acoustics Widaptor Creates Wireless Multi-Room From Any Set of Audio Products

Crystal Acoustics has unveiled a new simple and affordable way to connect your non-smart devices to your home network and enjoy the benefits of modern technology everywhere in your home. The Widaptor allows you to connect any group of disparate audio devices into a fully-functioning wireless multi-room music system.

The Widaptor receives its signal via your WiFi network and then transmits it to any active speaker or hi-fi setup, effectively turning your old dumb devices into smart ones where you can control it all via your smartphone and tablet. Divide your home into zones where it plays the same music in every room is possible on the same level as playing individual music from different sources in different rooms.

You can set up as many of these devices that your network can handle and they even work as Wi-Fi extenders at the same time. It supports both AirPlay and DLNA and comes with a 3.5mm input and a 3.5mm output jack, USB connection for digital storage, and an RJ45 connector for a direct LAN connection.

 

Costing just £49.99, the Widaptor is an affordable option to merge their existing audio products into a single wireless system without having to replace their existing hardware.

Everybody Can NAS, a Beginners Guide to OpenMediaVault

Introduction


What is a NAS?

NAS is the acronym for ‘Network Attached Storage’ and that is just what it is. Storage that is directly attached to your network, thereby allowing you to access its content from all your smart devices. In this article I’ll take you along the road of setting up and configuring your own NAS, even for a small wallet. It sounds so simple and it is. But it is also something that can make your every-day digital-life a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Having a NAS in your household allows you to have a centralized storage for all your backups, media files and documents. This again gives you the ability to easy access them from all your devices, may it be your smart TV, your phone or tablet, your computers or game consoles and what else comes to mind.

Some of the first words that scare most people away from setting up a NAS themselves are ‘linux’ and ‘network’. While it might not be something you have experience with, I guarantee it’s all very easy and quick to do.

What about the hardware?

So how does it work and what exactly is it you ask? Well, a NAS is technically just a PC like any other, some might also refer to it as a server or computer. In the end it is the operating system that is the factor. The whole idea behind it is to have a centralized storage for all your files. To archive this, it has to be running all or most of the time and there are some key features we need to look at:

  • Low power consumption
  • Headless usage (no keyboard, mouse or monitor required)
  • Small form factor and silent operation

In my opinion there is the perfect device on the market for just that. It’s cheap, it’s solid and at many times you even get mail in rebates or cash-back on them. But more on that later.

What Skills and Tools do you need?

To set up a NAS? Actually not many. You will need the following skills: Use the screwdriver that is included, Able to attach a cable to a plug and you will need to be able to read and use a website.

You will also need a couple other small things in order to follow this little guide to setting up a HP micro server, but not much. You need a MOLEX to SATA power adapter, a SATA data cable and either some duct tape or a 3½ inch to 5¼ inch adapter. You will also temporary need a USB stick, a Monitor and keyboard during installation. And that is pretty much it, so you see, everybody can NAS.

The perfect device

For this job, Hewlett-Packard have created the perfect line of micro servers. The N36L, N40L and N54L, also known as G7 microservers. The only difference between the three models is the CPU speed. Slower doesn’t always mean cheaper, so check prices on all three devices before you commit. On my last purchase I found that the N54L was the cheapest of them all, but any of the three will do fine for a home NAS.

It has 4 cold-swap bays for your storage hard-drives and a 5¼ inch for either your boot-drive, extra hard-drive(s) or anything else that fits. In most cases, and in ours here, it will used for the boot drive.

The G7 microserver comes with a 250 GB 7200RPM HDD included and that is just perfect as system disk for our new NAS. If that wasn’t enough, it also has 4GB ECC memory included in 1 module with room for a second.

Inside it has two PCI-Express expansion slots, one x16 and one x1. The single also has additional control ports for HP remote-control cards.

It even comes with tools included, nothing extra is really needed. It can be run straight away with what’s in the box, but you will of course also need some hard drives as storage for all your files. You can start with one and upgrade later or you can fill it up right away, the choice is yours.

At the time of writing, the N54L can be had for €153 in Germany and £131 in the United Kingdom making it a real bargain. I couldn’t find it cheaper than $357 in the US making it less of a deal over there.

The HP N54L comes in a very simple cardboard box only printed with the name and a representation of the server on the front and back.

On the side of the cardboard box we find a small sticker with the model and serial number. The box doesn’t offer much information besides that.

Opening up the box we see all is securely packed in spacey Styrofoam and with the accessories on top.

Unpacking the accessories, we find power cables for UK and for Germany/EU, a small manual and update instructions.

2nd PlayStation 4 Firmware Update Will Bring Mp3 and DLNA Support

The PlayStation 3 is an awesome media centre, it supports DLNA media sharing over wi-fi and LAN, it can play 3D blu-rays, DVDs, CD and more. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the PlayStation 4, or at least not yet.

Sony are putting all their focus on getting games up and running, getting the core of the OS just right and getting the hardware units into the hands of consumers first and foremost. Once that is done we can expect a new title update on release day that will get the hardware working nicely, reports are saying this update will be around 300MB. Shortly after this first update we can expect a second update and while Sony haven’t detailed an exact date, they have told us what it will do.

  • Legacy headset support
  • Mp3 support for not only in-game but non gaming as well.
  • Suspend and resume play feature

There are many features that fans are crying out for on the PlayStation 4, YouTube uploading, external hard drive support are firm favourites at the moment, but Sony remain tight lipped on if and when they will be coming.

Many users may feel that Sony are selling us short by leaving these features out, or for no having them up and running already, but lets stop and think for a moment. Who here remembers just how many features the PlayStation 3 or even the Xbox 360 had at launch? Give it time people, there are features coming over the next few years that even Sony won’t have thought of yet.

Thank you CouchJockeyz for providing us with this information.