Synology DiskStation DS216play 2-Bay Multimedia-Optimized NAS Review

Introduction


Synology’s 2-bay play series has been very popular among users due to its great features and functionality coupled with a low asking price. Today I’m taking a closer look at the newest model in this series, the DS216play, a NAS featuring a powerful dual-core CPU with hardware H.264 and H.265 transcoding support and floating point unit.

Let us dive right into the hardware on this little NAS. The CPU is an STM STiH412 32-bit dual-core processor with 1.5GHz and floating point unit. The hardware transcoding engine is capable of the H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2, and VC-1 codecs and it can work with a maximum resolution of up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at up to 30 frames per second. It allows you to transcode 4K videos to 1080p, making them suitable for all screens and bandwidths whether they are local media players or remote mobile devices. In addition, you can also stream original 4K resolution videos to your multimedia player or 4K TV within a local network environment. The CPU is backed by 1GB DDR3 memory which should be sufficient for its area of operation.

With those hardware specifications, the DS216play is able to deliver an average speed of 107 MB/s when reading and 91 MB/s when writing on a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall capability of the main CPU and it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creations when uploading a lot of photos or videos.

One of the main features of a NAS like this is to stream media files to a whole lot of devices. The DS216play can act as a DLNA certified DMS (Digital Media Server), allowing you to stream multimedia contents, such as music, photos, and videos, to DLNA compliant devices. It can also stream to pretty much any other device such as mobile phones and tablets, TVs, and stereos. Synology also offers support for Samsung TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku players.

Three of the official and very popular apps on the DS216play are the Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station. They provide a streamlined and sleek interface that turn your NAS into an entertainment hub. The Video Station allows you to browse and manage all your movies, TV shows, and home videos and build up a smart video library with those. The Photo Station is the same, just for still pictures, and it also allows you to create web albums or blogs to record and share the exciting moments of your lives with others. The Audio Station can create your own audio streaming service where you can build a personal music center and stream music directly from your Synology NAS to other devices. You can rate your songs and sort music into smart playlists according to the rating. Plus, sharing a playlist with others is as simple as creating a sharing link and sending it to your friends.

Thanks to Synology’s QuickConnect, you can easily access all the NAS functions no matter where in the world you are, as long as the NAS and you both have an internet connection. It is a very simple DDNS service that takes care of all the settings for you. All you need to do is log in. This allows you to create your own personal cloud service where you don’t need to rely on costly monthly plans or storage limits. You can still connect your NAS to public cloud offerings such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud as well as Amazon S3, Glacier cloud service, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and hicloud.

The Synology DS216play supports plenty of backup methods for both Windows and Mac users with the use of Cloud Station. Whenever you modify a file, the changes are backed up to the DS216play automatically. Mac OS users can also use Apple Time Machine. Backups to and from another Synology NAS is also supported, just as rsync servers, external drives, and cloud services can be used as backup targets.

Speaking of external devices, the DS216play has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port for external storage devices, printers, or wireless adapters. There is one Gigabit Ethernet port for the network connectivty and the entire unit is cooled by a 92mm fan.

So far I have talked a lot about the media capabilities on the DS216play NAS, but we shouldn’t forget that NAS stands for network attached storage. The DS216play naturally supports everything it needs to here from Samba (SMB2) for Windows and Mac OS users as well as AFP and NFS. Should you use WebDAV for your credentials, then that is supported too. AFP, CIFS, File Station and WebDAV also support network recycle bins for extra safety. An FTP service is also included by default, one of the oldest and most universal file transfer protocls around.

The File Station is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216play. Just drag and drop to upload data from Mac or PC. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, or videos and it also has a built-in FTP and email client. IT lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application and you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file. Both HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption are featured for secure transfers and you can even set link expiry dates.

Synology built the DS216play in the well-known two-piece chassis, this time in black. It is simple yet effective with the only downside of not having front-accessible drive bays. On the other hand, home users are the intended market for a NAS like this and it is not like they’re switching and swapping drives all the time.

Feature Highlights

  • 4K Ultra HD video transcoding on the fly
  • Powerful dual-core CPU with H.265 codec support
  • 107.7 MB/s Reading, 91.47 MB/s Writing
  • DLNA certified for media streaming
  • Powered by Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DiskStation DS216play comes in a simple brown box with a sticker highlighting the NAS model and its features.

The physical characteristics are detailed a little bit more on the rear where it also lists the hardware specifications.

Inside the box, next to the NAS itself, we find a power cable and AC/DC converter, a LAN cable, screws for the drives and the chassis itself as well as a Quick Installation Guide to get you going.

Netgear Introduces Quad-Mode Business-Class Wireless-AC Access Points

Netgear is launching two new quad-mode business-class 802.11ac wireless Access Points (AP) that support four different modes of management. The new ProSAFE WAC730 Business 3×3 Dual Band Wireless-AC Access Point and ProSAFE WAC720 Business 2×2 Dual Band Wireless-AC Access Point for small to mid-sized organizations can deliver excellent performance with up to 1.7Gbps for the WAC730 and 1.2Gbps for the WAC720.

The new ProSAFE Access Points can operate in standalone mode or use the new Netgear Ensemble Mode Management that enables centralized configuration and managements in groups of up to 10 APs without extra hardware, licenses, or fees. They are also ready to support controller management as well as cloud management through Netgear’s Business Central.

The NETGEAR ProSAFE WAC730 is a 3×3 business class dual-band 802.11ac wireless Access Point that can support an aggregated throughput of up to 1.7Gbps (450Mbps for 2.4GHz band and 1.3Gbps 802.11ac for 5GHz band) where the WAC720 is a 2×2 business class dual-band 802.11ac wireless Access Point with up to 1.2Gbps (300Mbps for 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps 802.11ac for 5GHz band). Other than that, the two units are basically the same.

Besides the new management abilities and faster wireless protocols, the new Access Points feature what you know from Netgear ACs. You get a Gigabit Ethernet port with IEEE 802.3af or 802.3at PoE support and another RJ45 port for management. You get five LEDs to see what’s going on and the APs naturally support all given WiFi protections, SSL, and VPN.

The shape and design is one that is familiar to anyone who has had a previous model, but it is now 40 percent smaller and now also includes support for Bonjour Gateway and Apple devices across multiple subnets. External antennas are not included in the package and neither is the power supply, so you’ll have to get them extra if you need them. The power supply won’t be needed in most setup scenarios as the Access Points support Power over Ethernet (802.3af).

Hardware in this class doesn’t come cheap, although that’s somewhat relative here. The MSRP for the ProSAFE WAC730 Business 3×3 Dual Band Wireless-AC Access Point is set to $689 and the ProSAFE WAC720 Business 2×2 Dual Band Wireless-AC Access Point will set you back $449. Both Access Points will become available this month sometime.

Exploit Found In Netgear Routers

So we’ve all had those periods where we come home and think our stuff has been moved around, you know when you think you’ve put your keys down beside the door and you find them on the sitting room table. Now imagine that you came home and found that some of your technology has had its settings changed, and most worryingly the technology in question is your router, the central point for all your devices to enter the world wide web. Turns out this happened to Joe Giron when he found out that his router had its settings changed on the 28th September.

Joe Giron told the BBC that he had discovered that some settings, not any settings, but the admin settings on his personal router had been changed. After the device was changed it began to send web browsing data to an internet address, clearly for a malicious reason.

The router in question is one of Netgear’s, a known brand all around the world. Netgear has accepted that the vulnerability that Giron was affected by is “serious” but will affect less than 5,000 devices.

The problem is the data that was changed was the domain name server setting, normally set to your web providers or in this case Google’s. The DNS transforms web addresses into formats which computers can understand, most commonly a form of IP address. With control over these settings it’s not only possible to track visited sites but also redirect the user to whichever site you want.

Updated:

It has been confirmed by Netgear that  an update to deal with this issue will be released on the 14th October. Affected users will be prompted to update their firmware if they log into their admin settings or have the Netgear genie app installed on any connected device.

Thank you BBC for the information.

Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction


Gigabyte’s motherboard series based on the Intel C612 chipset is quite an impressive one and I’ve already had the pleasure to test the MU70-SU0 server motherboard. Today I’m taking a look at its bigger brother, the dual socket Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard.

The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard is based around Intel’s C612 chipset and offers you two LGA 2011-3 sockets with support for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 V3 processors as well as 16 DDR4 modules for a total of up to 768GB RAM. The MW70-3S0 is a workstation board and as such it offers some other features than server boards, such as Multi-GPU configuration. With support for up to three graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI via the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and coupled with the CPU and memory support will make sure that we don’t run out of performance anytime soon.

One of the really great things about this board’s memory support is that it supports the full speed of 2133MHz, even when all 12 memory banks are populated. In the past, you had to make the choice, whether you wanted capacity or speed. Gigabyte made sure that you’ll have a maximum speed on all memory banks at all times.

We also get plenty of storage abilities on Gigabyte’s MW70-3S0. Not only does it provide 10 SATA3 ports via the Intel C612 chipset where two of them support SATA DOMs, we also get an LSI SAS 3008 onboard controller with two Mini-SAS ports for eight SAS 12GB/s drives. The SATA ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 while the SAS ports support RAID 0/1/1E/10. The connectivity is secured by two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow for easy trunking and link aggregation.

Overall, this board is built with quality components that should make sure that everything runs stable and for a long time. It is equipped with IR Digital PWM and IR PowIRstage IC controllers to guarantee a stable operating environment and OS-CON capacitors with a minimum service life of 50.000 hours. The installed chokes are high-end ferrite core chokes that again should help deliver a stable power to both CPU and memory.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 16 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX
  • 2 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 2 x Mini-SAS (for 8 x SAS 12Gb/s ports)
  • 10 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 7.1+2 HD Audio
  • 2 x USB 3.0 + 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 header + 1 x USB 2.0 header

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Inside the box, we find anything we need to get started, but nothing unnecessary that would drive up the overall price on the product. We get two SATA3 cables where one of them has an angled connector at one end, two CrossFireX bridges, as well as two NVIDIA SLI bridges for 2-way and 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support. There’s also the obligatory IO shield and a driver disk

The GIGABYTE Charity Raffle at I55 Raised £2417 for Zoё’s Place

Gigabyte’s charity raffle for Zoë’s Place, held during Insomnia 55, was a big success and made it possible to hand over a check worth £2417. This isn’t the first time Gigabyte is holding a raffle at the Insomnia event and last time they made £1700, so €2417 is a good step up and a great sign that gamers want to give something back. All the proceeds of the raffle go to Zoë’s Place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

That is all great news and there were also some great prizes up for grab as part of the raffle. The ones entering the raffle had the chance to win AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE themselves sponsored a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets for the raffle. All in all, prizes worth over £5000.

Gigabyte will be back with another Raffle in the future and I hope that even more people will support the cause then. We can do better, we can do more.

NETGEAR Announces Nighthawk X4S Router

NETGEAR has announced its latest flagship VDSL Router which features a dual-core 1.40 GHz processor and integrated DSL modem. Impressively, the device utilizes the first to market Wave 2 WiFi technology with Quad-Stream on both bands as well as Multi-User MIMO-capability. The Nighthawk X4S AC2600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router (D7800) offers impeccable wireless, wired and USB performance whilst being backwards compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n devices. In terms of its maximum quoted speed, the router can produce up to 2.53Gbps (AC2600 WiFi = 800Mbps+1733Mbps) wireless and Gigabit Ethernet speeds. David Henry, vice president of product marketing and engineering, NETGEAR Home Networking outlined the router’s appeal:

“If multiple people in your household are streaming HD Internet content at the same time, it’s very likely that the DSL modem router you get in your subscriber service package is not capable of supporting your bandwidth needs,”

“With the Nighthawk X4S AC2600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router, you’ll take advantage of the fastest processor in a DSL modem router combined with the latest innovations in wireless technology for the best experience you can get today for streaming, gaming and file sharing.”

The router also employs Dynamic QoS prioritization which helps to optimize network traffic. Another neat inclusion is the NETGEAR ReadySHARE Vault software which makes automatic backups to any hard drive connected to the router. In terms of security, the router is protected by leading wireless protocols, has VPN support and allows you to setup a free URL to create your own private FTP server.

When it comes to pricing, the Nighthawk X4S will retail at an MSRP of $529 (AUD), £269 (GBP) and €299 (EUR). Currently, the device is available throughout Australia and coming to Europe in mid-September.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

GIGABYTE and Partners Hold Biggest Ever Charity Raffle at I55

UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, is just around the corner and it will open its doors tomorrow for Multiplay Insomnia 55, UK’s biggest gaming festival at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Following up on the last successful charity raffle, GIGABYTE again partnered with others to create the biggest ever charity raffle at Insomnia. There will be around £5000 worth of hardware prizes to win spread out over the two days.

The prizes that you can win include AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE is sponsoring a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets themselves. All this can be won and best of all, everything goes to charity.

There will be two raffles, one held on Friday, the 28th of August and the second the day after, on Saturday, the 29th of August.

Like last time, all the proceeds will be donated to the local charity Zoë’s place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. This is truly a worthy cause and I hope a lot of the gamers attending the Insomnia event will be very generous. The added bonus of  having a chance to win amazing hardware and this really is a no-brainer. Participate!

Netis WF2150 N600 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter Review

Introduction


Most of the existing stationary PCs don’t have wireless network capabilities out of the box and there can be more than one reason to add it at a later time. There are quite a few ways you can do that, but the easiest is probably with a USB-type WiFi dongle. Today I’m taking a closer look at just such a device as I’m having the Netis WF2150 600N Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter on the test bench.

The Netis WF2150 is a Dual Band wireless solutions that provides you with access to the better and less crowded 5GHz band as well as giving you a legacy 2.4GHz connection, both at 300Mbps. The 5GHz is clearly the best band to use whenever possible as you don’t need to worry about the interferences from the mass of existing 2.4GHz wireless devices and household appliances that may disturb with their wireless signal.

Whether you’ll be using the wireless connection for online gaming, video streaming, or VoIP phone calling, the Netis WF2150 should ensure a high-quality connection at all times. Connecting the PC itself to a wireless network is however not the only way you can use the newly gained WiFi abilities. Pretty much every WiFi add-on available right now can be set to work as an access point too, allowing you to connect your other WiFi devices to your network through this adapter. Always have the best possible wireless connectivity for your smartphone and tablets right next to your system.

The adapter only features a USB 2.0 connector, but that should be plenty for the performance that the wireless network can perform. You’ll also find a small LED near the USB plug that will indicate the connection state.

The Netis WF2150 comes with a WPS button that allows for a simple and secure setup and connection to other devices. With just a press on the button as well as the button on your router or any other WPS-enabled device and the connection is established. No need to remember and manually enter complicated passwords when you don’t need to.

The bundled drivers and utility enable easy management of your networks and come with an absolute hassle free installation. A few clicks and you’re up and running. There are plenty of setting possible from band and channel choice to the operation mode and security.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The package is designed in the same way that most Netis devices are and it is easy to recognize. On the front, you’ll find the basic relevant information such as compatibility with Windows 8, Mac OS, and Linux.

The rear of the package holds a little more information in several languages. Inside is a user manual, driver disk, and the USB WiFi adapter itself.

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R (Intel C612) mATX Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard that I am taking a look at today is a little bit special as it is considered to be the first mATX motherboard featuring Intel Xeon E5 V3 series with LGA 2011-3 single socket. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R isn’t just a rarely seen form factor in this category, it also packs a huge punch and plenty of features such as quad-channel DDR4 memory support, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, dedicated IPMI, and native support for up to 16 storage drives.

Just because you decide to create a motherboard in the mATX form factor as ASRock Rack did here, doesn’t mean that you can’t add plenty of features to it. It’s all about using the available space properly. You get a total of eight SATA3 ports that are powered by the Intel C612 chipset and on top of that you get another eight SAS3 12Gbps ports thanks to the added LSI 3008 RAID controller. If that isn’t enough for you already, then you have plenty of possibilities to expand that with two PCIe Gen3 x16 and one PCIe Gen3 x8 slot.

The networking is a little bit special on this board as it comes with dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet thanks to the Intel X540 network controller. These ports are still RJ45 and backward compatible with normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet components. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R also features a dedicated IPMI 2.0 connection based on a Realtek RTL8211E controller that allows you to manage all your servers from a single connection, locally or remotely.

Four DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support allows you to use this motherboard for memory-hungry applications and while the QVR list only has up to 16GB modules so far, you should also be able to use 32GB modules in this motherboard and get up to 128GB memory to support Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processors.

Overall, with the high performance processor, storage, and network all together in a mATX motherboard, the EPC612D4U-2T8R is perfect for the compact storage solution such as mid-range servers, web 2.0 storage servers, and other warm data servers. It also fits snugly into ASRock Rack’s previous released storage solution 1U12L-C612D4U, and currently has EPC612D4U, EPC612D4U-2T, EPC612D4U-8R and EPC612D4U-2T8R for customers’ selection.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the Network and storage capabilities as well as the form factor.

  • UATX 9.6”x9.6”
  • Single Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866 RDIMM/LR DIMM/NV DIMM, 4 slots
  • Support 8 SATA3 by C612 and by 8 SAS3 LSI 3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • ASPEED 2400. Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel Dual 10GLAN by Intel X540

Packaging and Accessories

A server motherboard doesn’t need to come in a fancy box with flashy images and slogans, and that is why we don’t get that here. The EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a simple black box with a little graphic and basic keywords.

The rear of the box doesn’t provide much more information either, but it will tell you a little bit about ASRock Rack as a company.

I really like that ASRock Rack also packed the motherboard properly like seen below. It provides that extra bit of protection during the transport from factory to end-customer over a motherboard that’s just loosely packed into a cardboard box.

Besides the motherboard itself, you’ll find an IO Shield, driver disk, and manual along with six SATA3 cables inside the box. It is nice to see a printed manual come along as it will help a lot with the basic task of finding the headers and pins you need to set it up.

Netgear Announces R6400 AC1750 Smart WiFi Router

Netgear has launched their latest consumer router and it is a really nice one. The R6400 is an AC1750 Smart WiFi Router designed to offer great value and features the latest technology for bandwidth and range.

The R6400 AC1750 Smart WiFi Router comes with three powerful external antennas, high power amplifiers, and Airtime Fairness that prevents throttling by slower devices, combined with implicit and explicit Beamforming to boost the router’s WiFi performance at long range. It can perform up to 80 percent better than the previous generation which is quite a nice accomplishment.

The router comes with two USB ports for easy drive and printer sharing. One is a USB 3.0 port that is located on the front while the other is a legacy USB 2.0 port that is located on the rear. It is a full Gigabit-Ethernet router with both Gigabit WAN and four Gigabit LAN ports.

The dual-band AC1700 router is backwards compatible will all previous wireless standards and also supports 802.11 a/b/g/n devices. The combined bandwidth goes up to 1750Mbps thanks to the 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and the 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band.

VPN networks aren’t any problem either with this router and it also supports Netgear’s genie app that allows you to remotely connect and manage your router. The MyMedia feature enables you to find and play your stored media files from anywhere on your network to your Chromecast connected TVs, DLNA-ready TVs, and music system. You can also make any printer AirPrint compatible for printing from an iPad or iPhone. The ReadySHARE Vault is another free software that takes automatic backups of incremental changes on all PCs in your home network and saves them to a USB drive connected to the router. The AC1750 Smart WiFi Router is also compatible with Apple Time Machine for automatic Mac backup.

The NETGEAR AC1750 Smart WiFi Router is available now worldwide from major retailers in stores and online, at an MSRP of $149.99 USD.

Netgear Launched the Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

Netgear expanded its family of Modem Routers with the new Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router (D7000) with dual band WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet.

The D7000 has an embedded DSL modem supporting ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+ and VDSL/VDSL2 speeds supporting even the fastest lines with its gigabit WAN port. Inside it is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and sports the best WiFi speeds and great coverage range. It is also the first AC1900 VDSL Modem Router to offer two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports for faster connections and twice the USB storage access.

The Nighthawk delivers incredibly fast wireless speeds of up to 1.9Gbps (AC1900 WiFi = 600+1300Mbps) and wired Gigabit Ethernet speeds. High-powered amplifiers, three external antennas and Beamforming+ improve range and reliability to extend coverage and reduce dead spots even in very large homes.

The two USB ports support Netgear’s ReadySHARE, allowing you to easily share both printers and storage over your entire network. It also comes with the Netgear Genie app that helps you to setup and manage your router as well as Netgear MyMedia for DLNA streaming and AirPrint for your iPad and iPhone.

All the basic routing functionality is also covered from scheduling to security, port forwarding and virtual servers, and everything else you’d want from a router.

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem router is available now throughout Europe, Asia and Australia for an MSRP of €229.99 and will be available early fall in the U.S for an MSRP of $249.99.

WD My Cloud EX4100 4-Bay Expert Series 16TB NAS Review

Introduction


We ain’t all equally skilled when it comes to the configuration of network and storage devices nor is it everyone that has the same interest in that. Sometimes you just want to purchase something, enter your preferred name and password, and then be ready to rock.

WD’s My Cloud series is designed for just these scenarios and it comes equipped with drives and is pre-configured. All you need to do yourself is connect it, turn the power on, and set your password. Today I’m taking a closer look at the WD My Cloud EX4100 from the Expert series and will give it a good spin in the test area.

The MyCloud EX4100 it is a 4-bay NAS unit and in this case it comes pre-loaded with four 4TB WD RED drives. Other disk configurations are available if 16TB shouldn’t be the right match. You can get it from driveless all the way up to 24TB raw capacity.

You will need some power on the insides to handle what the EX4100 promises and it comes with a dual-core Marvell ARMADA 388 processor that clocks at 1.6GHz and 2GB DDR3 memory. This should be plenty, but if it shouldn’t be then the EX4100 also comes with three USB 3.0 ports allowing you to connect extra external storage.

Two gigabit Ethernet ports take care of the network traffic and they fully support both port trunking and link aggregation for failover redundancy and improved traffic capabilities.

A nice bonus for every device is the built-in display at the top of the unit. It allows you to quickly see what’s going on with your unit, its name, network details, and storage setup. It will also keep you updated on the progress when you changing major configurations such as the drive setup.

Just because the unit comes pre-equipped with four drives doesn’t mean that you can’t replace them with smaller, bigger, or just other ones if you want to – or in case you bought a driveless unit. The EX4100 supports hot-swapping and comes with easy-release front bays for quick access. Pop the slider and the drive will eject.

It comes as no surprise that WD used their own RED series of NAS drives in these units. They are built especially for NAS usage, so what better to pick. In this case, the unit is equipped with four of these 4TB drives. The WD RED series uses an IntelliPower RPM systems up to 5400 RPM and come with 64MB Cache.

The EX4100 doesn’t have any dedicated drive trays and is as such tool-less to upgrade. The drives are still firmly secured inside thanks to the large dividers. Not using drive caddies allows for a smaller and more narrow footprint, something anyone can appreciate.

The EX4100 supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 as well as JBOD and Spanning. While the RAID 0 to 60 modes are self-explanatory, how the terms JBOD and Spanning are used variates a bit, including Single disk. Essentially, JBOD and Spanning is the same thing but with a small difference. JBOD stands for Just a Bunch Of Disks, these can either be presented as single volumes or one large where they are used as extension for each other. Spanning, on the other hand, will create one large volume with all the drive space available and the drives don’t even need to be the same capacity.

JBOD stands for Just a Bunch Of Disks, these can either be presented as single volumes or one large where they are used as extension for each other. Spanning, on the other hand, will create one large volume with all the drive space available and the drives don’t even need to be the same capacity.

In the EX4100’s case, JBOD will result in four individual volumes and spanning will create one large volume without redundancy or performance improvements. As always, which mode i

As always, which mode you chose is down to your own needs. Whether you need a maximum amount of capacity, redundancy, performance improvements or a little of each.

Storage is just one side of the story, you also need to connect that storage somehow. The EX4100 comes with two Gigabit Ethernet ports that support both failover and port trunking.

The addition of a dual power supply system with a backup for emergency situations is awesome and something more NAS should feature. Any product can break for one reason or another and it should have a backup solution in case that happens.

The single and relative large 120mm fan helps to keep everything cool without creating too much noise. It only needs to rotate at low speeds to keep everything cool and operate optimally.

So far I’ve talked a lot about the hardware, but that’s just one side to the story. The software has to match with the right features, otherwise what would be the point.

It doesn’t matter if you want to connect to the WD MyCloud EX4100 from Windows, Linux, or your Mac OS based system, everything should be covered with Samba, Bonjour, and NFS3 support. The EX4100 also support VLAN, UPnP, iSCSI, SSH, and WebDAV and comes with an FTP server.

It is well suited to stream all your stored content to anything from smart devices to TVs and media players. Twonky’s UPnP media server, DLNA, and iTunes server are all present and it supports connection to devices such as WD TV Live, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows 8, connected TVs, Blu-ray players and digital picture frames.

Security is important everywhere and WD has that part covered too with features such as Active Directory support and 256-bit AES full volume encryption.

You can set up backup plans to local and remote locations as well as the same system, use Apple’s Time Machine, or use the cloud-based services Amazon and ElephantDrive. You can also sync drives with the attached USB 3.0 ports.

Security also involves power management and the EX4100 doesn’t just come with redundant PSU support, it can also control both network and USB connected UPS power backup devices.

Within the package you’ll find the NAS device with the drives inserted, a network cable, a power supply and, in this case two connector cables: one UK and one EU. There’s also a startup guide that will get you set up, even if you don’t know the darndest thing about NAS systems.

Remote access can not only be achieved through the web interface, you can also get both a desktop application and several mobile apps for your Android and iOS devices.

Other features such as a download server for both HTTP and P2P services, being IPv6 ready, supporting jumbo frames up to 9000 bytes, and SNMP for easy administrator management in larger environments are also all present.

If you’re concerned about the environment and having a device running all the time, then WD has you covered too. It features disk spin down when not need, which also will increase the drives lifespan, wake-on-LAN, automatic power recovery, and scheduled power on-off times.

The PCB has a simple build where only one side is utilized. The memory is soldered onto the board, so you can’t upgrade that, but that would also be kind of missing the target audience for a pre-setup unit.

We see that the memory used comes from SKhynix and the LAN ports are controlled by two Marvell 88E1512 chips. The USB 3.0 ports are controlled by a Renesas µPD720210 4-port hub controller.

NETGEAR Partners With AT&T on Prepaid 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot

NETGEAR is mostly known for the local area network (LAN) devices, but they also got a range of mobile routers for people who also want great connection options on the go. They have now partnered with AT&T that will sell the NETGEAR AirCard 779S Mobile Hotspot under the AT&T Unite Express for GoPhone brand name.

The mobile hotspot will provide you with AT&T’s 4G LTE internet connection through prepaid data plans, allowing you to customize your costs to your needs. You can enjoy secure and affordable WiFi when you need it, on your terms, with three flexible rate plans and no annual contract or credit check.

The mobile hotspot is about as big as a deck of cards and easily slides into your pockets, purse, or backpack so you have it where ever you go. You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneous for up to 10 hours mobile internet. The hotspot also features Guest access for one-time users that you don’t want to share your normal password with.

“Our newest mobile hotspot is an easy-to-use device that our customers can simply turn on and connect, without adjusting settings,” said Judy Cavalieri, vice president, AT&T voice and prepaid products. “NETGEAR has designed our AT&T Unite Express with the intuitive setup and the outstanding experience that meets our high standards for quality. We’re also happy to offer our Spanish-speaking customers an optional Spanish language interface to make using the hotspot even easier.”

Key Features

  • 4G LTE / 3G support
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Color LCD screen to monitor battery life and network connections
  • Guest WiFi for one-time users
  • Securely connects up to 10 WiFi devices
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Optional Spanish language interface
  • NETGEAR AirCard App compatible

Netgear Releases Two New Powerline 1200 Network Kits

Powerline network adapters are growing a lot in popularity as the amount of connected devices in our homes also are growing. Wireless signals aren’t the optimal choice everywhere and there are also those of us that are worried about too many signals everywhere. You might not want to drill lots of holes through your walls either in order to run a network cable from here to there and everywhere and that is where the powerline adapters come into play.

You plug one in near your network connection and another where you need to connect a device. And that is all, the connection will be made using the existing power lines running through your home. Netgear’s two newest kits, the PL1200 and the PLP1200, can deliver up to 1.2Gbps transfer speed under optimal conditions. The only thing that is different on the two new kits is that one of them has pass-through so you won’t have to give up the power outlet for other devices and the other one doesn’t.

“Powerline has become an increasingly popular networking solution because of the explosive growth in connected AV devices, and the high speeds and reliability required to support demanding applications such as HD video streaming and online gaming,” said Oleg Fishel, the product line manager for NETGEAR Powerline. “With powerline technology, you can take advantage of your existing electrical outlets in every room and don’t need to run new wires to get fast, uninterrupted access to the Internet and the home network.”

The two new kits are fully compliant with the HomePlug AV2 standard so you won’t run into compatibility issues with other powerline adapters. Multiple simultaneous data streams (MIMO) with beamforming technology allows the NETGEAR Powerline 1200 adapters to deliver gigabit speed at even longer distances, ideal for 4K video streaming, lag-free online gaming, or whole-home video monitoring. You can add up to 16 adapters to expand your home network and they automatically enter power saving modes when not used.

 

The “Pick-a-Plug” function allows you to find the optimal power outlet where a LED indicator light will guide you to the perfect outlet to use, where you’ll get the best performance. The Powerline 1200 Adapter (PL1200) Kit is available now in the U.S. from major retailers in stores and online at an MSRP starting at $79.99, and will become available in Europe later this month. The Powerline 1200 + Extra Outlet Adapter (PLP1200) Kit will become available in the U.S. and Europe in May at an MSRP starting at $89.99 in the U.S. Both kits contain two adapters and two Ethernet cables.

NETGEAR Launches New AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router

NETGEAR has introduced their newest router, the NETGEAR D6400 AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router with dual-band Gigabit. The new D6400 is designed for larger homes and home environments supporting 10 or more devices such as smartphones, notebooks, tablets, laptops, computers, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and Blu-ray players.

The new AC1600 Modem Router provides a built-in fast VDSL modem for broadband that is also compatible with ADSL2+ connections. It comes with both Gigabit Ethernet WAN and LAN ports and also offers future upgrade abilities to fiber or cable. The AC module can deliver up to 1.6Gbps (AC1600 WiFi = 300+1300Mbps), perfect for both the newest and somewhat older devices.

“We developed the AC1600 Modem Router, the first in a series of new VDSL products, in response to consumers who now have extremely fast DSL broadband service but demand better in-home WiFi performance,” said Doug Cheung, senior product line manager for NETGEAR DSL Products. “You expect your in-home WiFi to deliver that faster broadband speed to the farthest reaches of your home, but are disappointed and frustrated that the modem router supplied by your Internet provider isn’t the latest WiFi technology. You want something faster, with better range, and which supports more devices. Our AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router does exactly that.”

NETGEAR’s router app called Genie is already enjoyed by more than 5 million customers and the dashboard like interface makes it easy to install, monitor, control, and repair your home network. You can easily access your home network, view the network map, check bandwidth usage, block WiFi devices, set up guest WiFi, and manage parental controls for safer web surfing, anytime, anywhere, all through the app. Another useful side on the D6400 is the NETGEAR MyMedia feature that enables you to find and play your stored media files from anywhere on your network to your DLNA-ready TVs and music systems. You can also make any printer AirPrint compatible for printing from an iPad or iPhone.

With two built-in USB ports, you can easily attach both USB drives and printers as previously mentioned and share them over your network. The NETGEAR AC1600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router launched initially in Australia at the end of March, and will launch in Italy and the UK this April for an MSRP of €159.00/£149.99.

Thanks to NETGEAR for providing us with this information

ASUSTeK Found Guilty Fined by FCC

You may remember a story about ASUS being sued by Netgear, after Netgear accused ASUSTeK of submitting fraudulent test results to the FCC? Well, after a long-running investigation, the FCC have found ASUSTeK guilty and subsequently issued them with a fine.

As you can see in the document below, taken from the FCC website, ASUSTeK is to pay $240K to “resolve equipment marketing Investigations.” What’s interesting about this, is that the payment is effectively peanuts, but the payment will essentially make the problem go away for ASUSTeK.

ASUSTeK admits that its marketing of these intentional radiators violated the Commission’s rules. To resolve the investigations, ASUSTeK will pay a civil fine of $240,000 and implement a compliance plan that will extend for more than three years to ensure future compliance with the Commission’s equipment marketing rules.”

ASUS allegedly released routers to public that were not FCC-compliant, of which they were later found guilty. Asus and Netgear have now reached this payment agreement following the FCC ruling.

Netgear Reveals 450Mbps LTE Mobile Hotspot

Netgear will demonstrate their first 450Mbps LTE mobile hotspot this week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. The new hotspot is the first of Netgear’s to support the category 9 LTE Advanced technology and will be released under the AirCard series.

The AirCard mobile hotspot supports 4G LTE Advanced Category 9 and 3-Carrier Aggregation. It aggregates up to three bands to provide up to 60 MHz of bandwidth for a potential download speed up to 450 Mbps. The hotspot is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem and a QCA6174 2-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi chipset. Availability is set for later in 2015 from multiple unspecified service providers.

While LTE doesn’t have the best coverage yet, this mobile hotspot would be a great thing to have when located in a coverage sweet-spot. It would truly eliminate the need for those long outdated copper lines that still are being used in most areas.

Thanks to Netgear for providing us with this information.

Netgear Announced ReadyNAS 3130 1U 4-Bay NAS

Netgear announced the new ReadyNAS 3130 Series Network Attached Storage with a 1U form factor for easy rack deployment in businesses of any size. With four bays, this NAS has a capacity up to 24 TB and the processor supports up to 200 simultaneous users making it especially suitable for virtualized environments.

The new four-bay ReadyNAS 3130 has dual Gigabit Ethernet for connection and two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and two eSATA for expansion and backup. The CPU is an Intel Atom C2338 Dual Core 1.7GHz with 2GHz turbo mode and the system comes with 2GB ECC UDIMM. With its new CPU, ReadyNAS 3130 is virtualization-ready with iSCSI support, thin provisioning capability, and interoperability with VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.

ReadyNAS 3130 is available as diskless unit (RN3130) or populated with four 2TB drives (RN31342E). The new diskless edition is available worldwide at an MSRP of $1,499. ReadyNAS business-class products are backed by the NETGEAR 5-Year Limited Hardware Warranty, 5-Year Next Business Day Shipping for part replacement, and 24×7 Lifetime Technical Support.

 Thanks to Netgear for providing us with this information

Netgear Release ReadyNAS OS 6.2 with Improved Data Protection

Netgear has released the newest version of their ReadyNAS OS version 6.2 for its ReadyNAS family of desktop and rack-mounted NAS devices. The new ReadyNAS OS offers improvements in data protection, backup, sync, and cloud-based usability. The update is of course free and can be downloaded now either through the administration interface or Netgear’s website and supports any current-generation ReadyNAS device.

“ReadyNAS OS 6.2 delivers amazing new protection and usability features for all our ReadyNAS devices for homes and businesses,” said Matt Pahnke, senior product marketing manager for NETGEAR Storage. “File protection is the Number One reason that people purchase network storage, and we’ve put it first as well. With five layers of file protection, we do a better job of protecting precious digital content than any NAS in the market.”

Netgear created the ReadyNAS OS with the mission to provide the strongest data protection in the industry. It guards against bitrot media degradation as well as viruses and malware and now offers complete file and photo protection. The new ability is added to the already existing RAID protection and point-in-time recovery that otherwise isn’t found on traditional RAID setups. It also offers offsite replication to secondary devices or the cloud.

Keeping a centralized backup for everything ín a customized matter is something else that makes the ReadyNAS standout. It offers fully automated backups from Windows and Macs with individual and free choice of folders and targets for all users. The ReadyCLOUD app for desktop PCs, Android and iOS also got an update and makes it easier than ever to create full backups, sync and safeguard your data no matter what device you’re using.

A list of the current Netgear ReadyNAS models:

  • The 12-bay ReadyNAS 4220 is a 2U rack-mount form factor designed for data center or other high-performance business environments supporting 50 to 500 concurrent users and is available in two options with 10Gb Ethernet ports.
  • The 12-bay ReadyNAS 3220 is a 2U rack-mount form factor ideal for small data center environments supporting 26 to 250 concurrent users.
  • The four-bay ReadyNAS 2120 is a 1U rack-mount form factor for small office environments from five to 25 simultaneous users.
  • The desktop ReadyNAS 700 Series (RN716X) with dual 10Gb Ethernet (10GBase-T) ports is designed for campus and high performance business environments supporting up to 500 concurrent users.
  • The desktop ReadyNAS 500 Series (RN516XX) is designed for small to medium-sized business networks supporting up to 250 concurrent users.
  • The ReadyNAS 300 Series (RN312XX, RN314XX, RN316XX) is optimized for small business networks and remote or branch office needs, and comes in two-bay, four-bay, and six-bay desktop models.
  • The entry level ReadyNAS 100 Series (RN102XX, RN104XX) is designed for home use, and comes in two-bay and four-bay desktop models. The ReadyNAS 100 series offers a 3-Year Limited Hardware Warranty and free 24×7 phone support for 90 days.

Thanks to Netgear for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Netgear

Netgear Unleash Tri-Band Nighthawk X6 AC3200 WiFi Router – Up To 3.2Gbps

Routers may not be the most exciting consumer products on the market but the latest WiFi router from Netgear is pretty darn cool if I do say so myself. The Netgear “Nighthawk” X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi router (R8000 for short) is an absolute beast of a WiFi solution. The Netgear R8000 offers six high performance antennas across three network bands: one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz offering 600 + 1400 + 1400 mbps respectively – that’s a staggering 3.2 Gbps of WiFi capability. The dual 5GHz bands means the router can allocate different types of traffic to different antennae, gaming traffic and video streams can have separate 5GHz bands for example, to optimise the overall network experience.  The Netgear R8000 is powered by a dual core 1GHz processor with three additional offload processors to offer a ridiculously powerful solution. Netgear’s R8000 also supports Beamforming+ WiFi signal focusing technology and comes with a USB 3.0 storage port for easy sharing of USB 3.0 storage drives over the network. As if all that wasn’t enough Netgear also offer you VPN support with your own remote access URL gateway, an SPI and NAT double firewall and a separate pre-configured guest network. As you might expect all that power and networking prestige doesn’t come cheap, the R8000 will set you back a whopping $299.99.

Source: Netgear PR, Via: TechPowerUp

Image courtesy ofNetgear

Netgear VueZone VZSX2800 Wireless Surveillance Camera Kit Review

Introduction


If I was to go out onto the street and ask people what they thought surveillance was, I’d imagine a high percentage of those asked would answer with CCTV or constant video recordings for security. Now for the most part, this is what surveillance is however there are other applications for remote cameras, where the surveillance is not necessarily for security. Take lorries and HGV’s for example, most of them today have a surveillance system built into the cab with a camera situated on the rear of the vehicle so that the driver can easily see what is behind him, whilst in other situations, cameras are used for monitoring wildlife and animals to save them from the disruption of a person being present in the area.

Another area of use for remote cameras could be for monitoring a baby or young child in their bedroom once they have gone up to bed. Baby monitors are a highly popular product with today’s generation of parents with new borns and infants, with the piece of mind factor there for users to see that their child is safe and well. Now whilst there are dozens of applications for cameras and monitoring applications, the biggest use for them is we all know in today’s world is security. With dozens of different types of cameras and numerous environments that they are built to work in, choosing a product that is suited for your needs and user level is a somewhat daunting task and consequently home security is a rather empty market in respect to commercial use.

Netgear’s VueZone camera system that I’m looking at today is designed specifically for the consumer market. With such a wide variety of situations where cameras could be of an assistance, the totally wire-free system and the ability to record in low light conditions makes this system ideal for the home user, where the speed of installation and simplicity to operate and maintain is far more important than what it is at the commercial level.

Packed into the box, Netgear have packed in a lot of kit and alongside the key components that the system needs to operate, the VZSX2800 bundle has two cameras, one of which is able to record video at night though the use if an infra-red light. Besides the cameras we get four semi-circular magnetic mounts for the two cameras (to allow quick and simple changes in areas covered), screws and rawlplugs for fitting the camera mounts and infra-red lamp where necessary and a quick setup guide to get you up and running in no time. Netgear quote that this system should take no time at all to get setup and running, so let’s have a look and see if things are just as simple as they say they are.

Hackers Target E-Banking Users By Exploiting Router Vulnerabilities To Hijack the DNS

There have been reports about critical vulnerabilities in a variety of routers, including Cisco, TP-Link, ASUS, TENDA and Netgear among others, all of which can be found in a normal household.

According to Polish Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Polska), they have noticed an increase in cyber attack, leading to a cyber attack campaign aimed at Polish e-banking users. The hackers apparently use known router vulnerability that allow attackers to change the router’s DNS configuration remotely. This allegedly is used to lure users to fake bank websites or can perform Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

“After DNS servers settings are changed on a router, all queries from inside the network are forwarded to rogue servers. Obviously the platform of a client device is not an issue, as there is no need for the attackers to install any malicious software at all.” CERT Polska researchers said.

The DNS can be changed and point to a malicious DNS server from the router’s settings, giving the hacker complete control to facilitate interception, inspection and modification to the traffic between the user and the online banking website.

It is said that most of the Banking and E-commerce sites are using HTTPS with SSL encryption, making it impossible to impersonate them without a valid digital certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA), but to bypass such limitation cyber criminals are also using the SSL strip technique to spoof digital certificates.

The recommended steps to take in case of such attacks are to change the default username and password for the router, update the router’s firmware to the latest version and disable Remote Administration features in the router’s settings. Another way to notice fake websites is to lay attention to the browser’s address bar and HTTPS indicators.

Thank you TheHackerNews for providing us with this information

Netgear A6200 Dual-Band USB Wireless AC Adaptor Review

Introduction


Just over a week ago I took a look at one of Netgear’s latest Smart WiFi routers to roll off the production line and into the real-world. The R6250, like many of Netgear’s latest routers, offers up the latest in WiFi technology with Gigabit wireless connections and also beamforming+ technology to ensure the connected devices get the fastest and best signal as possible. When we look at the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac – at this moment in time, there isn’t actually that many devices on the market that can connect using the AC standard. Whilst a number of devices can ‘see’ the AC networks (which run at 5GHz), in most instances they will actually be connecting through the 802.11n standard as that is the fastest they can go.

For the most part, running at wireless-n speeds is going to be fast enough for the average household and considering the fact that pretty much everything runs to this standard these days, many people don’t feel that there is a need to go that bit further. For those the do want to take things up a notch and push towards the world of Gigabit wireless, the AC standard is where the speed is. As we’ve seen recently, the routers the support AC are readily available in the market place and now we are starting to see the add-in wireless adaptors crop up too. As a result I have taken the opportunity to start testing routers that we have in for review at the new AC standard, and the A6200 wireless adaptor from Netgear is what I will be using.

When we get on to the testing stage of this review, some will note that the performance results look very similar to those found within the R6250 review and you would be right – they are. The simple reason for this is because of the router that I opted to use for the testing of this adaptor, on both the 5GHz band, but also on the 2.4GHz band. In the same way that I used this adaptor to test the R6250 router, I was also recording down the performance for the A6200 at the same time as this was the only router that I had to hand that would be able to deliver the bandwidth required.

Inside the box and alongside the wireless adaptor, Netgear include a few bits of paperwork including a quick setup guide, along with a CD with the drivers and Netgear Genie software and a USB dock come extension lead.

The A6200 is one of Netgear’s premium wireless adaptors offering up both the fastest possible speed and features.

Netgear R6250 Dual Band Gigabit Smart WiFi Router Review

Introduction


Over the last couple of years the internet has been going through a radical increase in speed and with some connections passing well over the 100Mbps mark, many people are now looking for the next generation of routers that can keep up with the high-speed connections that are on offer. As part of the connection process, every ISP (Internet Service Provider) tends to provide us with their own branded routers such as BT’s ‘Home Hub’ and Virgin’s ‘Super Hub’ (in the case of the two leading Internet providers in the UK); but let’s be honest, whilst they all claim that their wireless router is the better than everyone else’s – they’re not necessarily the best.

When I took a look at Netgear’s R6300 Wireless AC router back towards the start of the year, the performance that I experienced both on the local network and through the internet was far superior to my BT Home Hub that I was provided with – especially when I saw my connection speed to the internet go up by around 5Mbps. This is generally the same story across the board for many people. We are on the whole demanding more from our wireless routers and the ISP provided equipment is not matching our needs, so it is soon being replaced by after-market alternatives that have so much more to offer. Netgear are one such brand that is considered by many. Having been one the of the industries leading infrastructure manufacturers for many years and the consumer level products have been a major part of their business model, with high customer ratings and renowned reliability proving they are one of the best out there.

As the internet has grown to be faster and faster, Netgear have been pushing to come up with a router that not only meets the demands of today’s heavy users, but with features that are ready for the next generation of wireless devices. After many months of R&D (Research and Development), towards the start of this year, a line of dual-band Gigabit wireless was brought to market and the R6300 was one of these.  Delivering super fast, dual band wireless with speeds of up to 1300Mbps across an AC connection it has soon become one of the best routers on the market. The user interface also saw a massive overhaul with all the connectivity and configuration options that the end-user may need – laid out in an intuitive design. Once you top off the package with USB port(s) for connecting printers and storage devices to, enabling them to be accessed across the network or remotely through Netgear’s ReadyShare functions, it becomes apparent that Netgear are offering a little more than your run-of-the-mill router.

Like many routers, Netgear’s package is simple and to the point. With little more than a DC power adaptor and a CAT5e Ethernet cable to connect the router to a modem needed, a simple pack of paperwork rounds off all the bits that you’ll need to get things up and running.

Netgear XWNB5201 500Mbps Powerline WiFi Access Point Review

Until a few months ago, I had quite a large reservation against the principle of powerline technology and up until this point I was hard fought when it came to recommending it. Thankfully though Netgear was able to change all this with the XAVB5201 kit and since then I’ve been totally converted and I can at last put my trust in the technology.

To move on from the simple principle of wired networking, where else is there to go? well the obvious answer is to eliminate the wires and this then in a way questions why one would want to use a powerline kit. Well in many instances wireless has its downfalls mainly due to signal coverage and speed and this is hence why signal boosters and wireless repeaters are available on the market. Truth be told though, wireless extenders still have their pro’s and con’s, the main one being loss of speed and increased ping. When I looked at Netgear’s WN1000RP, it did great in improving the range of my wireless network, but there was a notable drop in speed at the same time which is something that most repeaters do suffer from in varying degrees.

So this is where Netgear’s powerline WiFi Access point comes into play. Simply put it gives the best of both worlds with a point-to-point wired powerline, but also on the remote end, the plug also houses a wireless module that allows users to connect, well – wirelessly. By having the remote access point connected to the powerline directly, there is – in theory – no major loss in wireless performance.

Accompanying the two plugs that make up the powerline kit, Netgear also bundle in a pair of CAT5e patch leads, an installation guide, resource CD and conformity paperwork.

Netgear R6300 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router Review

Virtually everyone that has access to the Internet at home will have a wired connection and this therefore means that at the heart of their connectivity in the house we will find a router of some shape or from. Typically most of these are ISP supplied items such as BT’s Home Hub or a generic branded router. Whilst these on the whole do as they say on the tin and for the most part of their lives and use run without any problems, there is always a better option.

Most home users would like to get a little bit extra from their router, whether it be a better wireless signal or even media and printer sharing capabilities, there is only one option and that is to replace the supplied equipment. Thankfully, for those that will need the facility, a large number of routers come with a built in ADSL modem to get them connected, but other users like myself may not need this option if they have the likes of fibre broadband where a separate specialist modem is required.

Whilst Netgear produce a lot of enterprise level gear like access points and managed switches that we have recently seen, they have also for many years been producing consumer grade solutions that offer up some of the best wireless performance available on the market. Talking about wireless, for a number of years 54Mbps wireless has an was the standard and over the last few years we have seen the implementation of wireless-N taking wireless to the next level with improved range and speed. To improve on this current standing in wireless technology, we are now starting to see an extension and improvement again for the 802.11 standard with 802.11ac.

The R6300 that we’re going to delve into today is one such router that offer up the latest in wireless performance, with reported speeds of up to 1300Mbps to be found. Along side this it also offer up other features including ReadyShare for printers and storage devices along with an intuitive and easy to use management panel.

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Netgear Prosafe GS724TPS 24 Port Gigabit Smart Stackable PoE Switch Review

Following our recent look at one of Netgear’s Prosafe wireless access points, the WNDAP360, which got a huge thumbs up in our testing, we thought that its worth taking a look at what lies at the heart of each and every network in one form or another and that’s the switches. Without these networking multi-sockets, the internet wouldn’t be and neither would be modern communications. Switches are the unsung heroes of networks and they have probably the hardest time, ensuring that data goes in the right direction depending on the users needs and their configurations and all at high speed.

Netgear as we know have been around for a quite a time and they are one of the leading manufacturers of networking equipment, so its therefore no surprise that you’re likely to find their name somewhere within a large scale network at some point or another. Prosafe is Netgear’s top line of systems and typically these are what you’ll find in the larger networks whilst the rest of their product line-up covers the mid and smaller scales such as home deployment.

The TS724TPS is not just any switch that is purely plug-and-play, this particular model is a managed switch with many options to be played with on its web user interface to tweak and adjust it to operate in a particular fashion based on the end users requirements. On top of that, it is also capable of delivering power over each of its 24 RJ45 Ethernet ports to remote devices like the access point we looked at before and also the likes of IP cameras for ease of deployment and management.