Home/Office network kit

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stirling11, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. stirling11 macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2013
    Hope someone can advise me here, getting a bit lost with the options I have.

    I work from home with an imac and a MBP plus my other half runs a small business using her MBP. Files at the moment are just kept on our respective computers so I'd like to put them all in one place on the network. I also need to be able to access them easily from Bootcamp, plus I'd really like to use it as a media server to link to our LG tv.

    My first thought is the new Airport Time Capsule (which also solves the fact that I could really do with upgrading my router), but it hasn't got great reviews for the home media side of things. Then there's the option of NAS.... or just attaching a thunderbolt drive to my imac.

    Any ideas what my best bet would be as an all round solution?
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    TimeCapsule is fine for what it was originally intended for - serving as a target for TIme Machine backups. Personally, I prefer to keep my router and storage separate as it is easier to recover from an equipment failure.

    Not sure how your LG TV Works, but if it is able to stream media directly from the network, it is most likely doing it through DLNA. TimeCapsule won't support that directly, you would still need to have a computer running.

    Other NAS boxes - such as Synology - offer direct support for DLNA, so they can act as always on media servers without involving your computers. That won't help with any iTunes purchased video though; you still need iTunes for that, in addition to a device (like Apple TV) that supports it.

    You may need to do a combination of things in your case. Since you are both working from home, you may not want your business files getting to mingled. I don't know the nature of your work, but that would be a problem for my employer. May be best to do your backups to independent local devices and just use a network device for personal files like media.
  3. stirling11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks for that.
    The TV uses DLNA yes, so that would be a bonus but I suppose it's not the highest priority.

    Also not fussed about iTunes purchased video so that wouldn't be an issue and it wouldn't matter having both of our business files on one drive. It'll all be managed into folders so shouldn't be a problem.

    So my choice is either to go for the Timecapsule which includes router, or go for something like the Synology plus upgrade the router?

    I'm keen to hear other opinions on the Time Capsule too, it does annoy me that they advertise it as being able to attach another external HD but it's USB2 not 3.
  4. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain
    Mac Mini

    Personally I would get a Mac Mini, plug this into the TV, and use as a media hub, you could also do all backups etc to this or pay for OSX server (V cheap)

    That is my opinion anyways, the lowest spec mini would do you easily, with possible external HDD (USB 3 is cheaper than Thunderbolt), western digital are good

    Hope this helps

  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Dec 14, 2010
    I used a Synology NAS for a year or two.
    File sharing was super easy, and worked wonders.
    Media sharing with DLNA worked flawlessly - could watch my movies back straight through my Samsung TV, as well as via any iDevice I have.

    I have tons of videos and tutorials on Synology in my YouTube channel (link in sig) if you want to see it all working - checkout the NAS playlist ;)

    In the end, I just found the NAS a little restrictive at times though, for what I wanted to do.
    Hence I ended up selling it and doing what the above poster suggested. I purchased the Mac Mini server (spec in sig) last year and connected it directly to my HDTV. I run Plex fo my video library, which I prefer due to the interface and movie covers/details - and it also runs perfectly on iDevices etc. I connected a Drobo 5D to it for extra storage, and to store backups etc, so now I have more storage then I know what to do with, and am set (server-wise) for several years to come.
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    There are lots of solutions but I can just offer up what I went with after a few tries with other options -

    I use NAS (two of them actually). I put my media files on the NAS ranging from movies, to anything iTunes, downloaded software and more.

    The NAS is accessible from my smart TV, blu ray player, receiver (AVR) and of course my Mac computers. I have had no issues once I figured how to set things up and logically use the NAS units.

    While I have QNAP, Synology offerings are very good and perhaps a good choice to start with if you decide on NAS.

    Things to note -
    1) Skip wireless to NAS for now. Draft AC is here and it will be the only reasonable way to do it.
    2) NAS is NOT a good backup solution in itself. Most NAS units are used in some sort of RAID and those can always fall to software/mechanical issues.
    3) NAS makers offer up a list of drives that work well with their models. Always make sure you get the right brand/model of drives.

    Networking - While many people are quite happy with Airport Extremes, I find that in most cases, it is wise to cable smart TVs, receivers (if they have networking ability) and my TiVo on one router. Given that I have other stuff that needs to be on the network, I decided to go for another maker's router that offered 7 ports plus wifi "N." So far, over the last few months, no hiccups and wifi speeds are the same if not slightly better than the AE.

    In my last place of living, I used two AE's bridged together and it was far better than a single AE with with WiFi. I also made use of AV500 powerline and it was added to the network quite well. Where I am now, the single 7 port router with wifi works perfectly for my needs.

    If you have any questions on my soap box comments above, feel free to pm me.
  7. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    USB2 is fast enough for your listed uses. It's pretty close in speed to the real throughput on a Gigabit network. USB2 is more than fast enough to handle video playback which is the most demanding use you've listed.

    A NAS, such as a Synology or QNAP device, is actually a light server. It can provide services beyond simple file services. A Time Capsule or USB Drive connected to a router (doesn't have to be Apple - other vendors have similar products) is providing nothing but file sharing.
  8. stirling11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2013
    Thanks for all the advice, some excellent food for thought there.

    Leaning towards a Synology NAS (ideally with 2TB) and a new router, possibly a Billion. Reckon I could get that for less than £250 ($385)?

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