Here comes the NAS…

All the components for the NAS have arrived so here’s how it all went down…

Firstly, let me present a breakdown of the kit that makes up the NAS and the kit that I’ll be using the NAS to supply content for.

  • Synology DiskStation 112+
  • Western Digital 1TB Red HDD
  • Western Digital 1TB Elements USB 3 HDD
  • Anker USB 3 to Ethernet adapter
  • Sonos Bridge
  • Sonos Play 1

The Sonos gear is for listening to music with. The Bridge plugs into my router via an ethernet cable and the Bridge then creates its own mesh network for Sonos components to use. The Play 1 then connects to this mesh network to receive streaming music. The beauty of the mesh network is that each component in the network acts as a repeater for that network. This contrasts with a traditional wifi network, whereby the router is the only part that sends out a signal. In effect, this means the Sonos network can have a bigger, more stable range than the normal wifi network. It’s this tech that gives the Sonos such flawless streaming.

The Anker adapter is something you may need if your computer doesn’t have an ethernet port. My MacBook Air doesn’t so I bought the adapter. It turns out I haven’t needed to use it yet as transferring files over the wireless network from my MBA has been speedy enough. However, if you’re transferring many GBs of files in one go then connecting via ethernet may be beneficial.

Before all that I needed to setup the NAS, which was very easy and much more straightforward than I thought it might be.

Synology DS112+
Synology DS112+ – ready for installing the HDD

The Synology cover has to be removed to expose the hard drive connection.

nas_SynologyCaseOpen

It’s then a case of inserting your HDD of choice into the connectors on the Synology.

nas_HDDInSynology

Using the screws provided you can make the HDD secure in its new home.

nas_ScrewingHDDIntoNAS

Once done, slide the cover back on and then use a couple more screws to hold the cover firmly in place.

nas_SynologyCaseWithScrews

 

Once that’s done it’s ready to be plugged into the router and switched on. At that point it’s time to install the Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) software and then you can begin configuring the NAS.

nas_SynologyReadyToGo

 

The DSM package was on the CD that came with the DS112+. I installed it on my MBA and started up the software. It auto-scans the local network looking for a connected Synology unit, and once found you can begin the install of DSM onto the HDD. When that’s finished you can access the DSM software via your web browser of choice.

DSM provides a nice GUI to allow you to administer the functions and settings of the NAS. The first thing on my list was to name the NAS – Nazzy – and the second was to create three new shared folders on him; Music, Photos, Videos. I’d be using those folders as the main places for my content.

Impatient as I was, I wanted to test the music streaming to my Play 1 straight away. So, I opened up a Finder window and opened two tabs in that window. One tab had my music folder on my MBA, and the other tab was the newly-created Music folder on Nazzy. I selected the Guns n Roses folder from my MBA and dragged it into the Music folder on Nazzy. Then I waited for a few minutes while the data copied over.

Wait done, I opened the Sonos app on my iPhone and connected to the Music share on Nazzy. The app then has to index the music folder so that it can easily sort and present the music to you in the UI. This is fairly quick although it could take a minute or two if you have a really big collection.

Index done, I then browsed the Guns n Roses folder within the Sonos app and picked Welcome To The Jungle as the first song for the Play 1 to play. And almost instantly Nazzy was streaming GnR and the sound was loud and lovely and glorious!

I’m impressed. Really impressed. It’s like magic to me and being able to listen to my CD collection again, free from a bulky stereo restricting my geographical listening options has been a revelation.

Of course, I wasn’t yet finished with the NAS. I also wanted to setup a backup routine so that Nazzy was safely backed up to a USB drive on a regular basis. Time for the WD Portable HDD to enter the fray.

nas_WDPortableHDD

 

The USB drive plugs into one of the two USB 3 slots on Nazzy. Using the DSM software I setup a scheduled backup which copies the whole of Nazzy to the USB drive. I’m still fine-tuning this part of the system as at some point I will want to point my MBA’s Time Machine backups at the NAS, but I haven’t gone that far yet. However, Nazzy is being backed up on a weekly basis, early one morning when he’s not being using for anything else.

That’s pretty much it apart from the most important part – labelling plugs correctly.

nas_LabelsNAS

 

Gotta love those little plug labels, right?

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