Network-based data storage

General discussions and other topics.
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by ronks » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:05 am
I have a desktop Windows 10 PC at home connected by cable to my Sonic fiber router, and a Windows 7 laptop connected via wi-fi.
Most of my data is local to the desktop system; but when that is asleep or powered off, it's unavailable to the laptop.
I'd like to make some of that data available over the local network by attaching a drive to the router.
The Sonic router (Smart/RG model SR515ac 802.11ac) has a USB socket; also two unused LAN RJ-45 jacks.
I could just plug a drive into the USB socket, but I thought I'd ask here before blundering around.
Would that work; or if not, what's a good way to accomplish this goal?
by ngufra » Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:19 am
-1-You could use WOL to wake the desktop computer so the shared folder would be available. Free but when you send the Wake on lan command it can take sometime before the drive is available.
-2-You could use a NAS, either a standalone NAS or if the router has a NAS feature and can use a usb hard drive to behave like a NAS. I know that some Asus routers have that (or it's a feature of Merlin, that I was using on an Asus router), there is also freenas that you can use on an old pc that you would keep always on. Performances of nas feature of a router are typically on the low end. Also keep in mind that if you store valuable files there, you need to have a plan in case the hard drive goes bad.
-3-You could store the files outside your house like One Drive or google drive and access it from both computers.Access from local device should be faster but with sonic fiber, you may not see the difference unless you store gigabyte size files.
-4-You could use something like syncthings to synchronize a folder on both computers.the data is replicated on both devices.

My personal solution is to have a computer always on with a bunch of hard drives pooled using stablebit drive pool so if one drive goes bad, the data is still available.Additionally, i have a pool above that comprised of the other pool of drives and a storage at azure (using stablebit cloud drive) so that if the house burns in flame, the data is still safe at azure (it can also work with other cloud providers)

Depending on your needs if the router you use does have a nas feature and can use a usb hard drive it can work.
Otherwise you can get an old pc or a purpose built NAS (like synology, WD "my cloud" or something else) put one or multiple disks in it and plug it to one of the network ports on your router.

Good luck. it's an interesting project to work on while sheltering in place.
by ronks » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:35 pm
Thanks! I decided NAS was my best bet for this particular situation. I found the Sonic fiber router USB port appears to be just for power.
Up to now, I've been leaving the desktop system running and accessing files local to it via the network; they're all on RAID drives and backed up.
I think I'll use Windows Synctoy to make the NAS storage essentially a copy of the media and other folders I want to share across the network. They can be accessed read-only, and any changes made to the desktop system and replicated to NAS.
Can always change my mind later, but I think this will do what I need.
by desiree.thayer » Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:28 pm
I found the Sonic fiber router USB port appears to be just for power.


How were you able to determine this? How can I test your hypothesis?
by ngufra » Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:49 pm
Usb port on a router is typically for a flash drive /hard drive or for a 3g modem as a backup when Wan port is down.
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